Nicosia, Cyprus travel guide & tips

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Exploring Nicosia

You will fall in love with Cyprus, trust me. Amazing scenery and interesting history are still keeping me fascinated about this country. With the beginning of June, we landed on that beautiful island, which northern part has been separated from the rest of the island and is called Northern Cyprus. The independence of the new land is recognised only by Turkey who has invaded Cyprus in 1974 and seized that 36.2% of the island. The border runs through the largest city on the island – Nicosia, which remains not only the capital of Cyprus, but also of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. I have to admit that this interesting fact encouraged me to get to know more about the history of the country as well as to explore it! Nicosia has so much to offer including lively Ledra Street with shops, bars and lovely cafes, Venetian walls and Cyprus Museum. Ledra is about 1km long and majority lies in central Nicosia. It has been main shopping street in the capital for a long time. Still, the place is a perfect venue for spending hours there on eating, drinking…and buying souvenirs. If you will get hungry on your Nicosia trip go to Piatsa Gourounaki. We found this by accident nearby Ledra Street, when our phones were almost dead and we were starving. The food was delicious and not so expensive, comparing to other restaurants where the average prices for 2 meals are 40 Euros, we spent around 20 Euros. As we checked google reviews other time, it occurred the restaurant has 4.7 stars with 337 reviews. So it was a luck! If you get full, continue on your ride. Next, go and see the 16th– century Venetian walls that include gates named after Cypriot cities: Paphos, Famagusta and Kyrenia. Inside there is hidden marble mausoleum which is located next to the Faneromeni Church. In the museum, you can find unusual archaeological treasures from the Neolithic and Byzantine periods such as Aphrodite of Soloi statue. All of these is a complete „must see”! The „northern” part of the capital is famous for amazing Büyük Han and Selimiye mosque. If you are worried about crossing the border, don’t be. You can easily do this with showing your passport. Büyük Han is the largest caravanserai on the island. “What is a caravanserai?” You may ask. It was an ancient motel for caravan drivers where they could store their goods, water the animals and rest for a while. The latter mentioned is also worth visiting, as the mosque was originally a gothic cathedral, where Cypriot kings were coronated. While being in the northern part don’t forget to have a little walk around the area.  What may surprise you is that there are many abandoned areas outside of the main roads and in contrast to the other part of the city, the place is way less crowded. However, you can find some kind of peace and calm… as I did.  Around 3 hours is completely enough to have a little tour around that area and rest. Of course, it depends if you want to eat there etc. In fact, we spent a bit less as were in rush to see my university friend who lives in not occupied part of the capitol. And after we came back, we were enjoying the rest of the day in the sunny capital. I highly recommend finishing the day at Ledra. So lovely!

In a nutshell:

1.What to see:

  • Ledra Street
  • Venetian walls
  • Cyprus Museum
  • Büyük Han
  • Selimiye mosque

2.My absolute favourite place to eat:

  • Piatsa Gourounaki

 

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Northern Nicosia

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