The Capital, Nicosia

 

       Nicosia is the only divided city left in Europe, not that you notice this unless you go to the green line ( so called because it was drawn across the map in the 1960's when there were already plans for a possible division of Cyprus) as the rest of it is a mix of bustling modern city centre, elegant tree lined suburbs, and still more bustling suburbs. 

In 2007 the green line in Ledra street was changed somewhat. The wall that had been built there was dismantled, the line is still there, but now you can easily see through to the other side.

       Then there is the old town and The Laiki Yitonia , where the paved areas with no cars and pavement cafe's  is charming and full of character and a must for the visitor who wishes too see what the town looked like in years gone by. Nicosia , as all the other towns of Cyprus has grown very much larger , very quickly, and since the invasion in 1974 the population has boomed to 165,000. The growth has been outwards over the Mesaoria plain and what was once the village of Tseri has now oozed its commercial buildings and factories and joined up with Nicosia, to become the industrial area.

The walls of Nicosia (1567-70) itself and the gardens in the moat are a natural edge to the older quarters  and you may find it interesting just to wander within the walls. Then there is the modern shopping centre based around Makarios Avenue, which is full of designer shops and new 'malls'.  Below you will find a selection of the more popular places of interest.

Nicosia Services

             

THE LEVENTIS MUNICIPAL MUSEUM OF NICOSIA
(22) 451475 (see plan at the bottom of the page)

Ippokratous 17

Tuesday - Sunday: 10.00-16.30

The historical museum which was first opened in 1989 and was jointly financed by the Leventis foundation and the city.Two floors are opened to the general public and the displays illustrate the chronological history of Nicosia from ancient times to the present day.

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BYZANTINE MUSEUM AND ART GALLERIES

(22) 456781

Archbishop Makarios III Foundation Cultural Center within the Archbishopric, Plateia Arch. Kyprianou

Monday - Friday: 09.00-13.00 14.00-17.00 Saturday: 09.00-13.00

Largest collection of icons on the island, covering the period from 9th to 18th century. The Art Galleries contain oil paintings, maps and lithographs.

 

FOLK ART MUSEUM,
OLD BISHOPRIC (22) 463205

Platia Arch. Kyprianou

Monday - Friday: 09.00-13.00 14.00 - 17.00 Saturday: 09.00-13.00

Originally this 15th century Gothic building belonged to a Benedictine Monastery and from 1730 was the palace of the Archbishop. It contains a wide collection of Cypriot folk art of the 19th and early 20th century, including wood-carved objects, jewellery, woven fabrics, tapestry, embroidery, pottery, national costumes and hand-woven materials. The cloister of the monastery surrounded by monk's cells is a notable and interesting feature.

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NATIONAL STRUGGLE MUSEUM (22) 302465

Near the Archbishopric, Plateia Arch. Kyprianou

Monday - Friday: 07.30-14.30 15.00 - 17.30

Documents, photos and other memorabilia of the 1955-1959 National Liberation Struggle, including weapons, a gallows on which Greek rebels were executed and the car which was used by General Grivas.

 

AGIOS IOANNIS CATHEDRAL

Within the Archbishopric, Plateia Arch. Kyprianou

Monday - Saturday: 08.00-12.00 14.00 - 16.00 (and during Mass)

Built by Archbishop Nikiforos in 1662, the 18th century wall paintings depict scenes from the Bible and the discovery of the tomb of Saint Barnabos at Salamis. Dedicated to Agios Ioannis (Saint John the Theologian).The most stunning features are the iconostasis of carved wood covered with gold leaf and the double headed eagles (emblem of the Orthodox church)

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ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM - THE HOUSE OF CHATZIGEORGAKIS KORNESIOS
(22) 302447

Patriarchou Gregoriou 20, near the Archbishopric

Monday - Friday: 08.00-14.00 Saturday: 09.00-13.00

It is an important 18th century building in Lefkosia which after being restored, won the 1988 Europa Nostra Award. Once the residence of the Dragoman Chatizeorgakis Kornesios, it now houses the Cyprus Ethnological Museum and is furnished in period style.

 

FAMAGUSTA GATE - NICOSIA MUNICIPAL CULTURAL CENTER
(22) 430877

Leoforos Athinon

Monday - Friday: 10.00-13.00 16.00-19.00 (17.00-20.00 June-August)

The Venetian walls which completely encircle the old city have a circumference of 4.5 km and possess eleven heart-shaped bastions. There were only three gates into the city in the north, south and east. One of these gates, the Porta Giulana called Famagusta Gate, has been restored and is now the Lefkosia Cultural Center. The vaulted passage and two side rooms are used for exhibitions, conferences, lectures and various performances, with the passage leading to the moat.  

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CHRYSALINIOTISSA CHURCH

Within walking distance from the Archbishopric

Considered the oldest Byzantine church in Lefkosia, it is dedicated to ‘Our Lady of the Golden Flax’ and is believed to have been built in 1450 by Queen Helena Palaeologos but also contains fragments of an older church of the 11th of 12th century.

 

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CHRYSSALINIOTISSA CRAFTS CENTER

Ipponaktos and Dimonaktos

A interesting complex of eight workshops nesting around a central courtyard, designed on the basis of a traditional Inn. It accommodates units engaged in contemporary applications of traditional crafts including woodcarving, glass blowing,herbs and oils,etc

 

CYPRUS MUSEUM
(22) 302189  (See plan at the bottom of the page)

Mouseiou 1

Monday - Saturday: 09.00-17.00 Sunday: 10.00-13.00

A treasure-trove of major Cypriot archaeological and works of art dating from the Neolithic Age to the Early Byzantine Period and gives a comprehensive view of the history of the island

There is also an archaeological library attached

You can’t miss the huge showcase displaying terra-cotta votive statues and figurines of the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. from the shrine of Ayia Irini excavated by the Swedish-Cypriot expedition of 1929, this overwhelming group comprises mainly warriors, minotaurs and charioteers - some life-size - out of the 2,000 figures only two female statuettes were found. Notice too, the conical stone from Palea Paphos associated with Aphrodite worship.

The museum contains some beautiful archaic and classical statues. The most striking of them may well be limestone Head of a Woman from Arsos - an outstanding portrait with a face both sensual and wise. Just as compelling, the small, marble Aphrodite from Soli has a cool, classical allure. The towering bronze statue of the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus is an outstanding work of Roman-Cypriot art; and a fine example of the self glorification of the Roman Emperors. the nude emperor strikes a pretty pose .

A fascinating group of reconstructed tombs and their original contents span the centuries from the 3rd millennium to around 4 BC. Also of special interest are gold objects excavated from tombs at Palea Paphos, dating from the 11th to 8th centuries BC.

A copper and bronze work exhibit reflect the importance of these metals in ancient Cyprus, there is even a reproduction of a copper mine (room 12)     


                                                
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OMERIYE MOSQUE (22) 302189

Near the main Municipal Market within the walled city.

Monday - Saturday: 10.00-12.30 13.30-15.30

Converted into a mosque in 1571 by Mustapha Pasha, who believed that the original 14th century Augustinian church of St. Mary was built on the spot where prophet Omer rested when visiting Lefkosia. Most of the original building was destroyed by Ottoman artillery in 1570. The door of the main entrance belongs to the 14th century Lusignan building. Remains of a later Renaissance phase of the building can be seen at the north-eastern side of the monument. It is the only mosque in the Greek side of Nicosia still in use as a Muslim place of worship.

   

PHANEROMENI CHURCH - CHURCH OF THE REVELATION

Onasagoras street, within the old city

Built in 1872 during Turkish rule this used to be the largest church in Lefkosia. The marble mausoleum to the east of the church contains the relics of the bishops and priests executed by the Turks in 1821 as a deterrent to the movement for Greek independence . Attached to the church is a building housing the Phanaromeni library, which has the oldest icons in Cyprus

TRYPIOTIS CHURCH

Solonos 47-49, near Laiki Yiltonia

Built by Archbishop Germanos II in 1695, it is an interesting example of the Franco-Byzantine style.

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LAIKI YITONIA

Pedestrian area within the walled city, east of Plateia Eleftherias.

Charming winding alleys with traditional houses, shops, restaurants and galleries all lovingly restored as typical examples of Cypriot urban architecture of a bygone, more graceful age. (especially as it is sanitised)

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STATE GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART
(22) 302951

Leoforos Stasinou and Kritis

Monday - Friday: 10.00-17.00 Saturday: 10.00-13.00

Representative collection of paintings and sculptures by 20th century Cypriot artists.

ST. PAUL’S ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL
(22) 442241

Leoforos Lordou Vyronos

This parish church built for Anglican residents was built in 1893 in a style reminiscent of many English village churches.

 

MUNICIPAL THEATER
(22) 463028

Mouseiou, opposite Cyprus Museum

Built in neo-classical style, the theater is used for musical concerts, dance performances and various ceremonies. It is also the main venue of the Cyprus Theater Organization.

CYPRUS HANDICRAFT CENTER
(22) 305024

Leoforos Athalassas 186

Workshops: Monday - Friday 07.30-14.30 Thursday 15.00-18.00 Shop: Monday - Saturday 08.00-13.00 (October-April) 14.30-17.30 (May-September) 16.00-19.00 (except Wed & Sat afternoons)

The government-run center aims to promote and enrich the traditional folk art and craft skills.It has various workshops and a showroom and shop at it’s premises, as well as shops in Laiki Yitonia and in all other towns.

Since the opening up of the green line we have taken the opportunity to flit across and explore a little. This is what we saw;

Looking into a courtyard in Nicosia, Cyprus    Lovely columns and arches in Nicosia, Cyprus    More arches and open spaces in Nicosia

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There was an airport in Nicosia once upon a time, but that was closed for commercial use after the invasion in 1974. Now it is used by the UN and the Nicosia Dog shelter.

The Nicosia airport is in a derelict state.
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A real restored house to visit

      55  Solonos Street

          

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This house at no 55 Solonos street has been lovingly restored by its present owner Mr. Nicos Ioannou.

It has a long history, the remnants of an underground water well and hiding place, and a long tunnel leading out of the walls of Nicosia. This served to hide the beautiful women of a well known family from the   Turks  during their domination in the 1800's.

 

 

 

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It later became a department of the Samuel primary school and in the 1950's it hosted the Communist party headquarters.  

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Now after 200 years it is used to house jewellery displays by its owner who is a gifted craftsman and can be viewed at any reasonable time or when there is an exhibition underway.

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Click here to reveal a map of Nicosia

NICOSIA MUSEUM PLAN.gif (35975 bytes) This is a plan of the Nicosia Museum

lEVENTIS MUSEUM PLAN.gif (26710 bytes) And this is a plan of the Leventis Museum


 

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