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The town of Nicosia isn’t your extraordinary capital metropolis. For one, it’s a metropolis actually cut up in two. A border runs by way of Nicosia, with the southside the capital of the Republic of Cyprus and the northside the capital of Northern Cyprus. There are only a few locations like that on the earth, so naturally, visiting Nicosia was one thing I actually needed to throughout my time in Cyprus.
What’s fascinating to me is that Nicosia is typically overshadowed by the various standard seaside locations alongside the Mediterranean coast of Cyprus. Vacationers do go to as a day journey, however many would a lot fairly take in the solar on a seashore. However for those who’re visiting Cyprus in winter like I did, time exploring the town’s historical past and tradition appears much more interesting than a cold seashore day.
In the long run, Nicosia wasn’t fairly what I had pictured, however that’s hardly ever a nasty factor. And through my time there, I did discover fairly a number of issues to do in Nicosia, which ought to offer you an thought of what to anticipate for those who resolve to go to too.
Earlier than we even get to the sights within the Nicosia Previous City, let’s have a look at the distinctive Cyprus Museum. That is the most recognised Nicosia museum and got here to me extremely advisable, so I couldn’t wait to go to. And certain sufficient, it completely delivered. It was by far one of the best museum I went to throughout my time in Cyprus.
Whereas not enormous, the Cyprus Museum boasts a formidable assortment of historic artefacts that actually assist reveal totally different eras of the island’s previous. Whereas some displays characteristic gadgets with clear hyperlinks to different cultures, such because the stereotypical Historic Greek pottery, you additionally discover artefacts which might be distinctly Cypriot.
It’s fairly heavy on ceramics and pottery which I might usually lose curiosity in fairly shortly. Nevertheless, from ceramics which have a novel method to ornament to essentially unconventional statues, the vary of issues to see right here actually locks you in.
Nicosia Metropolis Partitions
Past being a metropolis cut up in two, in all probability essentially the most well-known side of Nicosia is its monumental metropolis partitions. And irrespective of, which path you method the historic centre, you’ll discover the stone partitions across the Nicosia Previous Metropolis. The Venetian Republic constructed partitions across the metropolis within the sixteenth century and their define across the metropolis on maps is unmistakable.
Between the layers of partitions you’ll principally discover grassy parkland. Nevertheless, Eleftheria Sq. simply east of the town’s bus station work was mid-transformation after I visited and regarded prefer it was going to have a really trendy, landscaped look to it. It’s all the time good to see city renewal initiatives that incorporate historic landmarks like metropolis partitions fairly than simply change them I feel.
Nicosia Previous City Streets
Cross by way of the town partitions and also you’ll end up within the Nicosia Previous City, even when it doesn’t appear so at first look. It’s truthful to say that Nicosia isn’t essentially the most well-preserved historic place you’ll come throughout, with loads of Twentieth-Twenty first century buildings about.
Which means you’ll really want to wander and discover to search out the older elements of the town. At the least on the southside of Nicosia that’s. Fortuitously, the historic centre is an effective place to discover on foot. Clear boundaries imply it’s arduous to remain misplaced for lengthy right here.
A superb place to begin is Ledra Avenue, the primary pedestrian avenue by way of the centre. Trendy brand-name outlets line avenue, whereas shade sails cling overhead. There’s the occasional older constructing right here and there whose structure jogged my memory slightly of Malta.
Shifting away from Ledra Avenue although is one of the simplest ways to see the older facet to Nicosia. Strolling about, there are positively elements that look derelict and lined in graffiti. However some areas particularly close to the Archbishop’s Palace and up within the northeast present a nicer perception into the town’s previous charms.
Leventis Municipal Museum
There’s an honest collection of museums you possibly can go to in Nicosia, however one to essentially think about is the Leventis Municipal Museum. Not like the nationwide focus of the Cyprus Museum, this museum focuses solely to the historical past of Nicosia. Reveals take you thru the town’s totally different eras, from its historic origins by way of Venetian, Ottoman and British rule. It additionally helps the Greek Cypriot perspective on the historical past behind the division on Cyprus stemming from British rule through the late nineteenth, early Twentieth century.
Locations of worship, together with loads of orthodox church buildings, dot all through the southern half of Nicosia. And but, it was the Omeriye Mosque that actually caught out to me, not the least as a result of it felt bizarre standing in a car parking zone to admire a mosque. Very like in Larnaca, the sight of those mosques reveals that the segregation of Cyprus may be very a lot a contemporary state of affairs.
The Liberty Monument
It was throughout my wandering across the Previous City that I got here throughout the town’s Liberty Monument. I all the time take pleasure in evocative statues and memorials, so this eye-catching monument instantly hooked my curiosity. The monument is a tribute particularly to Greek Cypriots within the 50s who fought towards British colonial rule. Whereas the which means and politics behind the statue had been misplaced on me on the time, it definitely captures your consideration.
A brief stroll up from the Liberty Monument and also you’ll discover the formidable Famagusta Gate. This was the town’s japanese gate and is likely one of the better-preserved elements of the previous Nicosia Metropolis Partitions. The gate is these days used as a cultural/neighborhood centre. For guests although it’s actually simply one other probability to think about what Nicosia will need to have as soon as been like.
Nicosia Border Space
Spend sufficient time exploring the town and also you’ll ultimately encounter the border that divides the town. I had a much more official and established picture of the Nicosia Inexperienced Line in my thoughts, which made the fact of the border all of the extra uncooked.
Barrels and barbed wire barricade this demilitarized zone that is only one part of the broader United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus that runs from coast to coast. There’s usually no clear rhyme or motive to the border, with roads instantly ending in partitions, gates or border guard posts. The political state of affairs on Cyprus all turns into very actual after seeing it, with the whole lot you see afterwards now framed across the metropolis and island’s division.
Venturing Over to North Nicosia
With Nicosia a divided metropolis, there’s an apparent temptation to see what lies on the opposite facet of the town. The excellent news for travellers is that it’s actually fairly simple to enterprise over to North Nicosia for the day. Together with your passport prepared, you possibly can take the Nicosia border crossing at Ledra Avenue and discover as you want. I’ll cowl my expertise in North Nicosia by itself later, however suffice to say, the northside did really feel fairly totally different. In some methods, North Nicosia is nearer to what I imagined the town can be like because of points of interest just like the Buyuk Han above.
Different Sights Across the Metropolis
With any go to to a vacation spot there’s going to be points of interest that you just miss for numerous causes. I attempted to completely discover the historic centre of Nicosia, however there have been a number of sights that I regrettably missed. Whereas I walked previous each the Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios Mansion and the Archbishop’s Palace, I by no means noticed the within of both. The Cyprus Traditional Motorbike Museum didn’t actually enchantment to me, however others may really feel otherwise. I additionally didn’t discover elements past the Nicosia metropolis centre, so can’t actually touch upon what lies past the centre.
Journey Ideas for Visiting Nicosia
Now that you just’ve seen what there may be to do in Nicosia, a number of phrases of recommendation on planning your go to. Whereas I made a decision to remain a number of days in Nicosia, many simply come as a day journey from the coast.
Getting round Cyprus is greatest achieved with your individual automotive, however there are alternatives for Nicosia buses from the foremost vacationer locations. Essentially the most common buses appear to be on the Larnaca to Nicosia route. They depart nearly each hour and a visit from Nicosia to Larnaca takes round two hours. Additional routes to Limassol, Paphos and Ayia Napa run a number of occasions a day.
For those who do resolve to remain in Nicosia to see the town, there’s a affordable collection of accommodation in the city. Nowhere close to as locations on the coast thoughts you, however some. For a budget-friendly hostel choice, strive NEX Hostel in a quieter a part of the town. It has pleasant workers, good views from the rooftop, a typical hostel vibe, and an superior bakery downstairs.
Have you ever had the prospect to go to Nicosia earlier than? Are there different sights in Nicosia that you’d advocate to travellers? Please share your ideas within the feedback under.
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