La capital of Cyprus has a peculiarity: it is the last remaining city of the western world to be still divided in two. Just like Berlin until 1989, Nicosia has a physical separation, created with walls, barbed wire and military turrets, which divides the Greek part from the Turkish one. The "Green Line"makes sure that the two cultures do not mix: in this way you can admire real masterpieces intact and uncontaminated, which on the one hand give them an oriental charm between mosques and palm trees, and on the other make them a millenary history between Orthodox churches and ancient Venetian walls.
Here you are 10 must-see attractions in Cyprus.
- Venetian walls
- Buyuk Han
- Famagusta Gate
- Selimiye Mosque
- Ledra Street
- Eleftherias Square
- Cyprus Museum
- Byzantine Museum
- Whirling Dervish Performance
- Bellapais Abbey
- Plan your trip: Hotel and Tour
- User questions and comments
1 - Venetian walls
Fearing an attack by the Ottomans, in 1567 the engineers Ascanio Savorgnano and Francesco Barbaro built a fortress around the city of Nicosia, completed in less than 3 years. The Venetian walls had 11 bastions, 2 public gates and a military gate, as well as the inevitable moat. Despite this, in 1570 the Ottomans managed to occupy the city. To date, 5 bastions are in the Turkish part of the city and 5 in the Greek one.
- walk in the old town
- always open
2 - Buyuk Han
The caravanserai was built in 1572 as place of welcome and refreshment for the merchants who crossed the city and their steeds: it included restaurants, Turkish baths and storage places for the goods transported.
Perfectly restored, today its 4 dormitories house shops and places to immerse yourself in for a little shopping and relaxation.
- Arasta Sokak, walk in the North Nicosia area
- always open
3 - Famagusta Gate
This is the military gate of the Venetian Walls. Used to store military ammunition until English rule, it was refurbished in 1980 and offers tourists one look at the inside of the massive fortress medieval surrounding the city. Its rooms are now also used for cultural exhibitions and artistic performances.
- Nikifouru Foka, walking in the old town
- Monday - Friday, 9 - 13, 16 - 19
- free offer
4 - Selimiye Mosque
It was originally the Orthodox Christian cathedral of Santa Sophia, in Gothic style. It was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest, becoming the symbol of the northern city. There fusion of the two religious structures created a fascinating structure. Although it is still an active place of worship, it is possible to visit it: remember that to enter you must be decently dressed and cover your head.
- Selimiye Meydani walking in the old town North Nicosia
- always open
5 - Ledra Street
Ledra it is the main commercial artery of the city. Here you will find the Shacolas tower which has an observatory on the eleventh floor, from which to admire the whole city in its complexity. Furthermore, along this artery full of shops and clubs, you will reach the passageway between the Greek and Turkish cities. Do not forget to peek at the alleys that branch off from Ledra to admire a charm of traditional architecture.
- Ledra Street, on foot in the old city, passage between the Christian and Muslim sides
- always open
6 - Eleftherias Square
Eleftherias Square it has always been main hub of life of Nicosia. Here you will find the Town Hall of the city and it is here that public and political events take place, as well as normal daily life.
- Eleftherias Square, walk in the city center
- always open
7 - Cyprus Museum
Il Cyprus museum It consists of 14 rooms divided into historical periods, where you can see finds of inestimable historical and artistic value. Each room will take you on a magical journey into Cypriot culture.
- 1 Leoforos Mouseiou, a stone's throw from Eleftherias square and Ledra street
- Tuesday - Friday, 8 - 16; Saturday, 9 - 16; Sunday, 10 - 13
- € 3,40
8 - Byzantine Museum
Located within the Makarios Cultural Foundation, the Byzantine museum offers 220 Christian icons, covering the time span from the Byzantine Empire to the th century. The highlight of the museum are the mosaics of Kanakaria, which were stolen from a church on the Karaz peninsula after the 1974 Turkish installation and returned to the island of Cyprus in 1991 after joint Interpol operations that appear to have been extracted from a novel.
- Plateia Archiepiskopou Kyprianou, walk to the city center
- Monday - Friday, 9 - 16
- on offer
9 - Whirling Dervish Performance
It is a spiritual dance, a form of meditation in motion, performed by the men who follow the Sufi branch of Islam. The performance takes place in a period building behind the main mosque in North Nicosia and lasts approximately 30 minutes. During the show you will see dervishes dance with long white robes and conical hats.
- Selimiye Square, walk in the Turkish part of the old city
- Monday - Sunday at 13pm
- € 6,00
10 - Bellapais Abbey
Bellapais is a small village of white houses that ends at the foot of the ruins of the abbey that takes its name: a ancient Augustinian monastery full of intricate arches and cypresses surrounding its cloister. From the refectory roof you can enjoy a panoramic view of the northern coast of Cyprus. There is no tourist transport to the village, but you can take a bus from Nicosia to Kyrenia and from there a taxi, or rent a car.
- Bellapais Village, Kyrenia; by car 29 km north of Nicosia
- Monday - Friday, 9 - 18
- € 2,00
Plan your trip: Hotel and Tour
The best place to stay in Nicosia is undoubtedly the old town: whether you opt for the north or the south, you will find excellent accommodations and features. The city certainly does not lack large international chains which, however, are a little cold compared to local structures.
- Cheap flights from Rome to Larnaca from € 105,98 - Find out more
- discover our offers for a stay in Nicosia
- Visit to San Hilarion Castle 6 Hour Tour Kakopetria and Agios Nicolaos tis Stegis Private City Tour
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