Nicosia, sometimes known as Lefkosia, is the bustling rich capital of Cyprus. With over 6,000 years of history, it has so much to offer. Here you will find a mix of old and new. From traditional tavernas to modern gourmet restaurants, you will be able to eat to your heart’s content.
If shopping is on your list, then Ledras and Onasagorou streets in the old city are full of souvenir shops, and there are stores with traditional Cypriot goods, which will make wonderful holiday souvenirs to take home with you. One way of identifying how rich the history of a city is by the number of museums it has and Nicosia has lots of these. There are also art galleries for you to wander through and take in the visual reminders of the years gone by. Around the famous Faneromeni Church are the most historic sites. If you take part in one of the many walking tours, which are offered around the city, you will get to learn about the past and also see how the city is ever changing and developing, a blend of the old and new, of the past and present.
1. Ledra Street Crossing Point
It might seem strange to put a street crossing point at the number one spot but there is so much more to this crossing point. Ledra Street was opened in 2008 and people were allowed to cross the border. It is symbolic of the division between north and south Cyprus. It might seem unnatural to have this division but it is a unique street. Ledra Street is only for pedestrians.
Ledra Street Crossing Point
Address: Ledra Street, Nicosia, Cyprus
2. Selimiye Mosque
Selimiye Mosque has the capacity to hold 2,500 worshippers and it is the main mosque in Nicosia. It used to be known as the Cathedral of Saint Sophia. It was a Roman Catholic cathedral but later converted into a mosque. Those visiting will need to take their shoes off before entering the mosque and be appropriately dressed. Ladies will be asked to cover their hair, and scarves are provided at the entrance of the mosque, free of charge.
Address: Selimiye Sk, Nicosia, Cyprus
3. Buyuk Han
It seems a little extraordinary when you first see Buyuk Han, a traditional style inn, which was built in 1572 by Muzaffer Pasha, the first Ottoman Governor of Cyprus. It is a well-maintained building, which is rich in history. A stone building with two levels, built around a central courtyard. There are 67 rooms and the rooms on the upper floor were originally used as a resting place for travelers. In the courtyard, there is a mosque, used for prayers.
Address: Asmaaltı Sk, Nicosia, Cyprus
4. Sacred Temple Of Virgin Mary Faneromenis
This Church is the biggest in the old part of Nicosia. Admire the Venetian architecture and the elegant structure. The Sacred Temple Of Virgin Mary Faneromenis is a beautiful historical relic of Christianity. It is still a house of worship, and all are welcome to attend services or just to admire the detailed murals or simply to enjoy walking around the peaceful building.
Sacred Temple Of Virgin Mary Faneromenis
Address: Faneromenis 53a, Nicosia, Cyprus
Phone Number: +357 99 492456
5. A. G. Leventis Gallery
Opened in 2014, this gallery is home to over 800 paintings by Greek, Cypriot and European artists. There are paintings by many famous painters, including El Greco. Do not miss the monumental painting “The World of Cyprus” by Adamantios Diamantis!
A. G. Leventis Gallery
Address: Leonidou, Nicosia, Cyprus
Website: A. G. Leventis Gallery
6. Cyprus Museum
The Cyprus Museum is sometimes known as the Cyprus Archaeological Museum. It is the oldest museum in Cyprus and holds the most archaeological collections out of all the museums. You will get a better understanding of the history of Cyprus once you visit. Only artifacts discovered in Cyprus are displayed at the museum.
Address: Museum St., Nicosia, Cyprus
Website: Cyprus Museum
7. St John’s (Agios Ioannis) Cathedral
St John’s Cathedral or Agios Ioannis is built on the site of the 14th century chapel of the Benedictine Abbey of Agios Ioannis. The monastery chapel was rebuilt from its foundations in 1662. It was dedicated to Agios Ioannis, and it was a monastery until the 18th century when it was changed into a cathedral. The cathedral has beautiful intricate works of detail inside and it is a wonderful experience to be able to spend a few hours here and absorb the calming and peaceful atmosphere.
St John’s (Agios Ioannis) Cathedral
Address: Plateia Archiepiskopou Kyprianou, (next to the Archbishopric), Nicosia, Cyprus
Website: St John’s (Agios Ioannis) Cathedral
8. Famagusta Gate
The most important gate in Nicosia has to be Famagusta Gate. It has changed its name as it was originally known as ‘Porta Giuliana’ after ‘Porta Giuliana’ the engineer who designed and built the Venetian walls. It opens onto the road that leads you to the most important harbor town of the island, the town of Famagusta.
Address: Athinas, Nicosia, Cyprus
Website: Famagusta Gate
9. Venetian walls of Nicosia
Not many cities have walls especially built for the purpose of defense but Nicosia is one of those cities! Nicosia is surrounded by a series of defensive walls, which were first built in the Middle Ages but then completely rebuilt in the middle of the 16th century. The walls are intact, well maintained and preserved and it is really worthwhile to spend some time here, with a guidebook reading about the history of Nicosia. See how the city has changed and developed.
Venetian walls of Nicosia
Website: Venetian walls of Nicosia
10. Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia
If you want to learn about the history of Nicosia, then enter the Leventis municipal museum. It is situated within the old city walls. The permanent exhibitions are the Nicosia gallery, where you will find objects dating back to 3900 BC. There are the medieval galleries, a collection of glazed vessels from the 13th to 16th centuries and collections dating back to the Ottamon and British periods.
Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia
Address: Hippocratous 15-17, 1500 Nicosia, Cyprus
Website: Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia
Nicosia: A mix of old and new
Nicosia has a wonderful mix of old and new history, which has been absorbed into its modern surroundings. If you can, do experience a walking tour of the city. The informative guides will take you around, revealing the city’s hidden secrets, which you might otherwise miss!
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