“The last divided capital city in the world”
2nd of December, 2012
On our second day of the weekend in Cyprus and after visiting Larnaca, which takes you not even an hour, we drove to the capital city, Nicosia, the last divided capital city in the world. My expectations were somehow medium to high, only to find they lowered pretty down. Yes, there are more nice places and sights than the other cities we visited, but still, it does not make it worth the travel if you only come here. Almost all the old houses are gone and in it’s place, tasteless ugly buildings, like those you find in mainland Greece everywhere.
What is fun and different is that you can cross the border to enter the Turkish side. There are few crossings but the main one is by the main street of the city. Just hand tour ID or passport and off you go.
The Turkish side was much nicer (at least to my taste). You can see some Ottoman old houses, mosques and churches. Also the main square is very pretty. It does definitely has more sights and better ones than the Greek side. It seemed as well to be more vibrant, although at both sides there were plenty of people in the streets.
What to see and do in Nicosia:
- Ledra Street The main street in the Old Town
- Faneromeni Square Surrounded by the Faneromeni Church, Faneromeni School, Faneromeni Library and Marble Mausoleum
- Eleftheria Square Freedom Square
- City Hall, Library, Post Office
- Onasagorou Street
- Venetian walls
- Archbishop house In Archbishop Kyprianos Square
- Selimiye Mosque Former Agia Sofia Cathedral
- Haydarpasa Mosque Former St. Catherine’s Cathedral
- Arabahmet Mosque
- Kyrenia Gate One of the main city walls gates
- Atatürk Square Or Saray Square. See the Venetian Column
- Old Aqueduct
As explained in my previous entry (Larnaca and limassol), the best way to come here is by car. You can opt for the bus, over the internet you can fin the routes and timetable, but definitely you will end up saving precious time by car.
Within the city there is no need of any transportation, furthermore, most of the streets are pedestrianised. Walking is the only option, but distances are really minimal.
Cannot say anything about Nicosia hotels, because we stayed in Larnaca overnight, but from the first look when we approached the city, we could see many of the major hotel chains, therefore it should not be of any problem.