Nicosia or Lefkosia is the capital of Cyprus and is also the last remaining divided capital in the world, following the Turkish invasion in 1974.
According to Greek mythology, Nicosia was a siren, one of the daughters of Pelpomeni and Achelous. Her name is translated as White Substance. In classical antiquity, the then town was called ‘Lydra’ as it was one of the ancient kingdoms in Cyprus. And today, this is seen through the well-known bustling shopping attraction entitled ‘Ledra Street’.
And so, since antiquity, Nicosia has been the centre both in an economic and geographical sense. In today’s Nicosia, the historical hub is situated within large medieval walls built by the Venetians. The Venetian walls form a border around the Old City and form an almost snowflake-like shape. Dating back to 1567, the walls were erected by the Venetians in order to defend themselves against Ottoman invaders. Unfortunately, this resulted in failure as the Ottomans killed 50,000 citizens.
Following this, the north part of the city remains under Turkish occupation and stands to be the last divided capital in the world. Moreover, the occupied and free sectors of the city are divided by the Line of Ceasefire also known as the ‘Green Line’. At the ‘Green Line’, there is a dead zone that Cyprus allows the United Nations (UN) to keep the peace.
The city offers one of the highest living standards in the world and is also home to the University of Cyprus, in addition to 5 other universities.
As it is in the centre of the island, it attracts more of the tourists who are looking for a cultural tour of the historical attractions of the capital due to the absence of being by the coastline.
South of the centre of Nicosia is the Presidential Palace where the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, lives. The Supreme Court, all of the various ministries, the House of Representatives are also situated in Nicosia.
Not to be missed:
Nicosia is a vital economic hub with numerous shops, restaurants and entertainment centres. It is also home to the Mall of Cyprus, boasting various shops from abroad, neighboured by the island’s only IKEA.
Nicosia is thought to be one of the richest cities in the Middle East.