Nicosia © Nathan Williams
Also referred to as Lefkosia, the bustling city of
Nicosia in the northern interior has been the capital of Cyprus
since the 12th century. It stands today as Europe's only divided
city and is split in two by the Green Line, a United Nations buffer
zone that divides the government-controlled Republic of Cyprus in
the south from the Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.
The modern city centre of Nicosia is surrounded by
elegant tree-lined suburbs. But the favoured tourist sector is the
Old Town, which is being extensively renovated. The Old Town is a
picturesque fusion of 16th-century walls, pedestrian precincts,
pavement cafes, and squares, brimming with charm, character, and
sightseeing opportunities. There are many things to see and do in
Nicosia, with a variety of museums, performance venues, cinemas,
restaurants, bars and nightclubs to choose from.
The city, on the Mesaoria Plain, is the centre of the
Nicosia District that includes the valleys of Solea and Pitsilia
and parts of Marathasa, with its mountain villages, orchards, hill
resorts, and plethora of Byzantine churches and monasteries. These
are within easy reach and make for pleasant day trips from the
While Nicosia doesn't have the stunning Mediterranean
beaches to offer visitors, it is a great base from which to explore
the mountainous regions of Cyprus, which are very beautiful in
their own right and offer numerous hiking trails.
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