The city of Nicosia (or Lefkosia as it is now known) has a wealth of history for visitors to see with much of the Nicosia information available at Tourist Offices. One of the must sees is the Cyprus Museum. Here you can see artefacts from the Stone Age through to the(relatively) more modern times of the Roman Empire. The area inside the city walls can on first glance seem rather neglected and ramshackle and this was certainly the case in the past. Many preferred to escape the confines of the walls and establish themselves in the new city being built around the old. More recently the value of the old city is being recognised and if you have a look again you can see evidence of pockets that are being renovated but it is a race against time.
With many international companies basing themselves in Nicosia there is a wide range of cuisines – enough to cater for the tastes of all. Within the old city there tends to be a bias towards the traditional Cypriot taverna with more international fare being offered outside of the old city. Equally if you are looking for somewhere to stay then the new city is the place to go with only a handful of establishments within the old city.
No matter where you go in Nicosia you will eventually come across the Green Line – the ‘border’ between North and South Cyprus. The watch towers, oil drum barricades and barbed wire are all testament to the problems inflicted on the island by the Turkish invasion of 1974. Look at the buildings more closely and evidence of bullet holes are all around. Near the dividing line photography is forbidden so make sure you are not caught out breaking the law.
Travelling out of the city there are a handful of places worthy of a detour although in the Summer the heat of the Mesaoria Plain can test even the most ardent traveller. Ancient Tamassos, as mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, is 20km or so south of the city. A visit to one of the villages such as Pera, give a hint of how life used to be in Cyprus.
Nicosia is becoming increasingly internationalised and many of the features that made Cyprus different are now disappearing. Although the centre of the city is cut in two, life goes on for the ordinary resident. Perhaps it is only when you come as a visitor that you can really see how the events of 1974 have had an impact on the city. Whether you want to look at the ancient past or the more recent past Nicosia has something to offer everyone. Please get in touch if you find somewhere you think others should know about on your travels. Also don’t forget if you have a question to send it in and we will do our best to find the answer.