Nicosia: Wikis


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Λευκωσία (Greek) Lefkoşa (Turkish)

Nicosia is located in Cyprus
Location of Nicosia in Cyprus
Coordinates: 35°10′N 33°22′E / 35.167°N 33.367°E / 35.167; 33.367
District Nicosia District
 - Mayor Eleni Mavrou
Population (2001-2005)
 - City 47,832 (Greek part)
 Urban 224,500 (Greek part)

84,893 (Turkish Part)

309,500 (Total)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
Website [1]
Concise presentation of Nicosia

Nicosia (IPA: /ˌnɪkəˈsiːə/, NIK-ə-SEE), known locally as Lefkosia (Greek: Λευκωσία, Turkish: Lefkoşa), is the capital and largest city of Cyprus. Located on the River Pedieos and situated almost in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. Nicosia is the capital of the Nicosia District. Nicosia is designated a Beta World City - by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.

Following the intercommunal violence of the 1960s, the capital was divided between the island's Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in the south and north respectively. An attempted coup to unite the island with Greece in 1974 led to a Turkish invasion, leaving the capital divided since then, with Turkish Cypriots claiming the north as the capital of their own state, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (recognised only by Turkey). On 3 April 2008, as part of efforts to reunify the island, a symbolic wall dividing the two communities at Ledra Street was opened. Nicosia retains the distinction of being the world's last divided capital.[1]

South of the Green Line, the population of the city is 270,000 (late 2004), while a further 84,893 live in the north.[2] Nicosia is important commercially with many shops, two modern shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment. The city is a trade centre and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Copper mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the University of Cyprus (UCY) and four other universities.



Venetian Wall fortifications, Nicosia
Kykkos Monastery (Metochion Kykkou) in Engomi, Nicosia
"Parthenagogeio Faneromenis"-Faneromeni School:façade

Nicosia was a city-state known as Ledra or Ledrae in ancient times. The king of Ledra, Onasagoras, was recorded as paying tribute to Esarhaddon of Assyria in 672 BC. Rebuilt by Lefkos, son of Ptolemy I around 300 BC, Ledra in Hellenic and Roman times was a small, unimportant town, also known as Lefkothea. By the time it received its first Christian bishop, Trifillios, in 348, the town was called Lefkousia or Ledra.

Still known as Lefkosia, the city became the island's capital around the 10th century. It had grown in importance because of threats to the coastal cities Paphos and Salamis, which made many people flee to the centrally located Lefkosia.

The seat of the Lusignan kings of Cyprus since 1192, it became a Venetian possession in 1489, and fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1571. Ledra is now the actual name of the most popular commercial street.

The exonym "Nicosia" appeared with the arrival of the Lusignans. The "Frankish" Crusaders either could not, or did not care to, pronounce the name Lefkosia, and tended to say "Nicosia". In this era of the Franks, the city expanded culturally, and in the 15th and 16th centuries, saw the erection of a number of palaces, mansions, churches and monasteries.

Some 20,000 residents died as a result of the Ottoman siege of 1570. Man-made and natural disasters further struck the city during the 19th century. The Turks crushed the 1821 anti-Ottoman revolt in blood.

Cholera hit the city in 1835, and fire destroyed large parts of Nicosia in 1857. The British Empire gained control over the island in 1878, with Nicosia serving as the capital of the new British possession.

Nicosia was the scene of extreme violence in the period just prior to Cypriot independence in 1960. Since the Greek supported coup and Turkish invasion which followed it in 1974, part of the city's northern sector has been inside the boundary of a United Nations Buffer Zone.

The tombs of the Lusignan kings are in the former Cathedral of St. Sophia, now a mosque in the northern sector.

The core of the city also has well-preserved Venetian fortifications, built in the 16th century, which encircle the old, medieval part of the city.


As the capital of the republic, Nicosia is Cyprus's political, economic and cultural centre. Greater Nicosia is subdivided into seven municipalities, but the metropolitan authority is the Municipality of Nicosia itself – within whose boundaries the Constitution states that the main government buildings and headquarters must be situated. The other municipalities in the city are Strovolos, Lakatamia, Latsia, Aglandjia, Engomi and Agios Dhometios. According to the constitution of Cyprus Nicosia Municipality was divided into a Greek and Turkish sector with two Mayors: a representative of the Greek community which was the majority, and a second one representing the Turkish community. The Mayors and the members of the Council were appointed by the President of the Republic. Since 1986, the Mayors and members of the Council are elected. The Mayor and the Municipal Councillors are elected by direct popular suffrage but into separate ballots – one for the Mayor and the other for all the Councillors. Municipal elections are held every five years.

Aerial View of Central Nicosia

The Municipality of Nicosia is now headed by the Mayor, who is Eleni Mavrou (former lagilator of the communist party AKEL, supported by her own political party, socialist party EDEK and the Democratic Party and the council comprising of 26 councilors, one of who is Deputy Mayor. The Northern Sector has its own de facto municipality, but that municipality is not internationally recognised because it is part of the non-recognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The Mayor and the Councillors exercise all the powers vested in them by the Municipal Corporation Law. Sub-committees consisting of members of the Municipal Council act only on an advisory level and according to the procedures and regulations issued by the Council.

The Mayor is the executive authority of the Municipality, exercising overall control and managing the Municipal Council. The Council is responsible for appointing personnel employed by the Municipality. All municipalities in the Republic of Cyprus are members of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities. The executive Committee is the governing organ of the Union. This Committee is appointed from among the representatives of the Municipalities for a term of two and a half years. The Mayor of Nicosia is the President of the Union and the Chairman of the Executive Committee.


Nicosia has a borderline Mediterranean climate with long, hot and dry summers with relatively wet and cool winters.

Climate data for Nicosia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22
Average high °C (°F) 14.4
Average low °C (°F) 5.6
Record low °C (°F) -4
Precipitation mm (inches) 73.7
Source: [3] March 15, 2010


Nicosia seen from Spot Satellite
Municipal Theatre, Nicosia
Eleftheria (Liberty) Monument, Nicosia
The Pancyprian Gymnasium in the Old City Section of Nicosia
View of Central Nicosia

Although the city has been destroyed more than once by conquerors, there are still enough leftovers to enjoy the past. History is most strikingly experienced at the Venetian city wall, which was constructed between 1567 and 1570. The 4,5 metres thick wall used to have three gates. The Famagusta gate is now used as a cultural centre. Some other parts of the wall contain administrative offices. The historical centre is clearly present inside the walls, but the modern city has grown beyond.

The heart of the city is Eleftheria (Freedom) Square, with the city hall, the post office and the library. Adjacent Ledra street leads to the most lively part of the old city with narrow streets, boutiques, and cafés. Panagia Fanomereni is a church built in 1872, constructed with the remains of an old castle and a convent. Here rest the Archbishop and the other Bishops who were killed by the Turks during the 1821 revolt. The Palace of the Archbishop can be found at Arkhiepiskopos Kyprianos Square. Although it seems very old, it's a wonderful imitation of typical Venetian style, built in 1956. Next to the palace is the late Gothic Saint John cathedral (1665) with picturesque frescos.

Nicosia is also known for its fine museums. The Archbishop's Palace contains a Byzantine museum where you can admire the largest collection of religious icons on the island. Leventis Municipal Museum is the only historical museum of Nicosia and revives the old ways of life in the capital from ancient times up to our days. Other interesting museums include the Folk Art Museum, National Struggle Museum (witnessing the rebellion against the British administration in the 1950s), Cyprus Ethnological Museum(House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios) and the Handicrafts Centre.

In Nicosia also there are mosques, like the Selimiye Mosque. This ancient church is the chief mosque in the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia, and the great festivals of Bayram and other Moslem gatherings are conducted here. It was formerly the cathedral of St. Sophia which was built in the period 1209 A.D. to 1228, over the ruins of a previous building.

Other famous mosques are Haydarpasha Mosque, and Arabahmet Mosque

Panoramic view of Nicosia lying in Mesaoria plain, with Pentadactylos mountain range in the background

Mayors of Nicosia

Leoforos (Avenue) Makariou in the city centre

Pre-Independence (1882-1959)

  • Christodoulos Severis, 15 November 1882–31 July 1888.
  • Achilleas Liassides, 1 August 1888–10 April 1906.
  • Antonios Theodotou, 8 January 1888–10 April 1906.
  • Mehmet Şevket Bey, 11 April 1908–31 March 1911.
  • Antonios Theodotou, 1924–1926
  • George Markides, 6 April 1926–31 March 1929.
  • Themistoclis Dervis, 5 April 1929–28 September 1946.
  • Ioannis Clerides, 1 June 1946–31 May 1949 (Last elected Mayor until 1986).
  • Themistoclis Dervis, 1 June 1949–18 December 1959.

Post-Independence (1959-Present)

  • Diomedes Skettos, 1959–1960.
  • George M. Spanos, 1960–1962; 1963–1964.
  • Odysseas Ioannides, 1964–1970.
  • Lellos Demetriades, December 1971–July 1974 (dismissed by the July 15 Coup).
  • Christoforos Kithreotis, August 1974.
  • Lellos Demetriades, October 1974–2001 (Elected in 1986; reelected in 1991 and 1996).
  • Michalis Zampelas, 2002–2006.
  • Eleni Mavrou, 2007–present.


Beginning of Lemesos Avenue, Nicosia
The Entrance to the Gardens of Kykkos Monastery, Nicosia

In 2006 the Manifesta Biennale was scheduled to be held in Nicosia for a duration of three months. The project was canceled, however, with the overseas and local organizers blaming each other for its collapse.

The city also hosted the competition of Miss Universe 2000 in Eleftheria Indoor Hall.

The city contains Arabahmet Mosque.


Cyprus Airways has its head office in the southern side of the city.[4]

Cyprus Turkish Airlines has its head office on the North Cyprus side.<

Professional sport



Football is the most popular sport in Cyprus, and Nicosia is home of three major teams of the island; Omonia, APOEL and Olympiakos .Omonia and APOEL dominate Cypriot football.There are also many other football clubs in Nicosia and suburbs.

Other sports

Nicosia is also the home for many clubs for basketball, handball and other sports. APOEL and Omonia have basketball and volleyball sections and Keravnos is one of the major basketball teams of the island. The Gymnastic Club Pancypria (GSP), the owner of the Neo GSP Stadium, is one of the major athletics club of the island. Also, all teams in the Futsal First Division are from Nicosia.


Nicosia has some of the biggest venues in the island; The Neo GSP Stadium, the biggest in Cyprus, with capacity of 23,400 is the home for the national team, APOEL, Olympiakos and Omonia. The other big football stadium in Nicosia is Makario Stadium with capacity of 16,000. The Eleftheria Indoor Hall is the biggest basketball stadium in Cyprus, with capacity of 6,500 seats and is the home for the national team, APOEL and Omonia. The Lefkotheo indoor arena is the volleyball stadium for APOEL and Omonia.

International/European Events

Nicosia hosted the 2000 ISSF World Cup Final shooting events for the shotgun. Also the city hosted two basketball events; the European Saporta Cup in 1997 and the 2005 FIBA Europe All Star Game in the Eleftheria Indoor Hall. Another event which was hosted in Nicosia were the Games of the Small States of Europe in 1989 and 2009.


Nicosia International Airport has not been used since 1974 as it lies within the U.N. Buffer Zone separating the two parts of Nicosia. The nearest airport on the Greek administered side is Larnaca International Airport on the southern coast.

Motorways link Nicosia with other major urban areas in Cyprus. The A1 connects it with Limassol in the south with the A6 going from Limassol onto Paphos. The A2 links Nicosia with the south eastern city of Larnaca with the A3 going from Larnaca to Ayia Napa. The A9 is currently under construction and would connect Nicosia to the Troodos mountains.

There are many taxi companies in Nicosia. Besides the taxi companies, there is a taxi rank at the Eleftheria square(City Center), where you can find taxis twenty-four hours a day. Taxi fares are regulated by law and taxi drivers are obliged to use a taximeter.

Public transport within the city is limited to a bus network operated by the subsidised Nicosia Bus Company.[5] Currently plans are underway to expand and modernise this with a European Union grant.[6] There is no train or metro system.

Between 1905 and 1951, Nicosia was a prominent station of the Cyprus Government Railway.



Famous Nicosians


See also



External links


  • Echoes Across the Divide (2008) is a documentary film about an attempt to bridge the Green Line with a bicommunal music project performed from the rooftops of Old Nicosia

Coordinates: 35°10′N 33°22′E / 35.167°N 33.367°E / 35.167; 33.367

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Nicosia (disambiguation).
House of the Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis
House of the Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis

Nicosia [1] (Lefkosia (Λευκωσία) in Greek, Lefkoşa (Lefkosha) in Turkish) is the centrally located capital of Cyprus and by far the largest city on the island. It also acts as a separate administrative capital for the Nicosia district. The municipality of Nicosia governs only the central portion, but the city now sprawls for several kilometers and has engulfed surrounding villages and settlements. Its population hovers around 250,000 (a third of the total population of Cyprus) but the city has a feel of one much larger. It is the administrative and financial hub of the island as well as home to several universities, colleges and other educational establishments. It also hosts most foreign embassies and offshore companies (a big industry in Cyprus nowadays). Along with its international students and foreign workers it has developed a truly cosmopolitan feel.

The Green Line
The Green Line

Nicosia is the world's last divided capital. The barbed wire and guardtowers of the Green Line cuts the town in two, with the northern side being the capital of the self-proclaimed Northern Cyprus and the southern half being the capital of the Republic of Cyprus.

Politics aside, Nicosia is a little short on both the archaeological treasure troves and beaches with pulsating nightlife that bring most visitors to Cyprus. But the Old City with its museums and churches is pleasant enough, and precisely due to the comparative lack of tourists, the city retains more of an authentically Cypriot air than the resorts of the southern coast. Fantastic little cafes invite you in for a Cypriot coffee, so just walk around and see the many woodworking shops that are deep within the City, and take a walk down to the Green Line, the boundary that now divides North from South. Being the financial and administrative centre of the island, it is by far the best place for shopaholics.

This article covers only the southern side of the city under control of the Republic of Cyprus; see Nicosia (North) for the Turkish-Cypriot capital on the northern side.

Get in

By plane

Nicosia International Airport has been closed off since the partition of the country. Larnaca Airport (code LCA) (40km, 30min drive) has scheduled flights to all major European cities. An airport shuttle bus operates between LCA and Nicosia [2]. Further away, the smaller Paphos Airport (code PFO) is a 140km (1h40m) drive from Nicosia.

By boat

Limassol (80km away) and Larnaca (40 km away) ports both have passenger terminals with ferry and cruise ship services to the Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Greece. Timetables vary considerably with the summer season being the busiest.

By road

Nearly all visitors arrive via the southern highway from Larnaca (43 km) and Limassol (83 km). Regular, cheap and reliable intercity taxi and bus services connect Nicosia to the centre of Cyprus' other cities. Private hire taxis are considerably more expensive. Car hire is also affordable and all major car hire companies are represented at both the afformentioned airports.

People going through Northern Cyprus immigration at the Ledra Street crossing.
People going through Northern Cyprus immigration at the Ledra Street crossing.

Until recently, entry from Northern Cyprus to south Nicosia was close to impossible. However, following a recent thawing in relations, it is now possible for EU citizens to cross the border at official crossing points, regardless of their point of entry to the island. It should be noted however, that this pertains to EU citizens only, and there have been cases of people from other parts of the world being turned back at crossing point. For full details on how you can cross from south to Northern Cyprus or vice-versa, please see the Cyprus page.

On 3 April 2008, the new Ledra Street crossing (as opposed to Ledra Palace Hotel crossing) was opened, allowing people to cross again from North to South Nicosia and vice-versa for the first time since 1964. The crossing actually traverses the United Nations Buffer Zone dividing Southern and Northern Cyprus. The (Greek) Republic of Cyprus does not maintain an immigration post at the crossing but merely conducts ID checks while Northern Cyprus maintains an immigration and customs checkpoint on their side of the border.

Get around

Greater Nicosia sprawls for kilometers on end, but the Old City is small enough to navigate on foot. Traditional Greek Cypriot shops line the streets of the Old City, and with very narrow footpaths/walkways, traffic must always be observed. GPS Satellite navigation systems (see TomTom, Garmin and family) have yet to hear that Cyprus exists, so don't go looking for the Cypriot version. A paper map can be picked up (free of charge!) from the Nicosia CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organisation) Information Office (in Laiki Geitonia) which should more than suffice.

Nicosia is developing a more extensive network of bus services [3] that connect the ever expanding sprawl. Transport is inexpensive, however timetables remain unreliable and only a few buses are airconditioned.

Private taxis abound, they are usually diesel Mercedes cars, and always have a number plate starting with the letter T. Some even have a yellow TAXI (or ΤΑΞΙ in Greek) sign above. Unlike other world cities, they are not in a distinctive colour. Make sure the meter is turned on the second you enter, as tourist expoitation is as common here as everywhere else in the world!


Nicosia's sights are concentrated in and around the Old City, surrounded by a picturesque star-shaped city wall whose moat has been converted into a pleasant park. Wandering around the Old City is an interesting experience in itself, although some buildings (esp. those near the Green Line) are derelict and crumbling. Note that many sights in the Old City close early, so try to get an early start - also a good idea for beating the heat in the summer.

Front facade of the Cyprus Museum
Front facade of the Cyprus Museum
  • Cyprus Museum - showcases the best of Cypriot archaeology from the 9th millennium BCE to the end of Antiquity. Located just to the west of the city wall, in between the Tripoli bastion and the municipal gardens. Open 9 am - 5 pm weekdays and Saturdays, 10 am - 1 pm Sundays and public holidays, closed New Year's, Easter and Christmas Days. Admission £1.50, 20% discount for groups of 10 or more. There is a convenient café on the grounds.
  • Byzantine Museum (Archbishop Kyprianou Square), easily spotted thanks to the giant statue of Archbishop Makarios standing outside, has one of the world's best collections of Orthodox icons and other artworks, mostly ranging from the 9th to the 16th century. Open 9 AM to 4:30 PM weekdays, 8 AM to noon Saturdays, closed Sunday. Entry £1.
  • The National Struggle Museum (Kiniras 7) documents the history of the Cypriot independence movement (1955-1959), with a rather positive spin on the EOKA guerrilla movement. Open 8 AM to noon daily, entry a token £0.25.
  • The Leventis Municipal Museum Ippokratous 17, Laiki Yitonia, Tel +357-22673375. [4] Housed in a converted, two-storey house since 1984 the Leventis Municipal Museum has exhibits dating from 2300 BC to the present day. Voted European Museum of the Year in 1989. Open 10:00 to 16:30 Tue to Sun.
  • House of the Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, Patriarch Gregoriou St, tel. +357-302447. A beautifully restored 18th-century building now housing an ethnological museum. Open 8 AM to 2 PM weekdays, 9 AM to 1 PM Saturdays, closed Sunday. Entry £0.75.
  • Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, 19 Apostolou Varnava Street, Nicosia 1500. Tel. +357-22432577, Fax.+357 22432531 Email: [5] Housed in a converted old power station built in 1936. The building sat derelict for 20 years and reopened as a contemporary art gallery in 1994. Includes a decent cafe-restaurant with an imaginative Mediterranean menu. Winner of a 1994 Europa Nostra award [6].
  • Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage, Bank of Cyprus Administrative Headquarters, 51 Stasinou Str., Agia Paraskevi, Nicosia 2002, Tel. +357-22677134 [7] Hundreds of coins on display, from ancient to modern spanning nearly 3,000 years of coinage history on the island. Open Monday to Friday: 8:00-14:30.
  • Ledra Observatory Museum Ledra street, Shakolas Building, Tel: +357-22679369. The Shakolas (the aged population know it by its former name The Mangli) building sticks out like a sore thumb in the medieval old city. Right in the middle of Ledra street a mini skyscraper of 12 floors, towers over other buildings not rising higher than 2-3 floors. On its penultimate floor you find the observatory, where it's possible “to see” the division of the island. There is a café up there too. Entrance is a ridiculously low €0.85 so its a must see. Open 10:00 to 20:00 daily.
  • The Cyprus Classic Motorcycle Museum 44 Granikou Str. Tel: +357-99543215.[8] Privately owned, this is the only such museum on the island and is tucked away in the medieval city. On display are about 150 classic (mostly British) motorcycles dating from 1914 to 1983. Open 9:00 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 19:00 Mon-Fri, 09:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
  • Famagusta Gate (Leoforos Athinon) is the only one of Nicosia's three old gates within the southern sector, and it has now been turned into the Lefkosia Municipal Cultural Centre, used for various exhibitions and performances.
  • The Nicosia Municipal Theatre (on museum street, opposite the Cyprus Museum), is a spacious theater built in a neoclassical style. It seats 1200 persons and has a continuous programme of cultural events throughout the year. The theater is contemporary out of order for renovation purposes.
  • Football - for a taste of local sport, visit the home games of the local clubs. APOEL [9], Omonoia [10] and Olympiakos (Nicosia). All three compete in the top division of the Cyprus football and basketball leagues. Recently APOEL and Omonia football teams have enjoyed considerable success in European competitions. So you never know, you might be lucky and catch a Chelsea visit. Expect double a figure score in such a case.
  • The Cyprus National Football team tends to play its home games in Nicosia at the GSP stadium [11]. Recent success on the international scene (a 5-2 thrashing of Ireland and a 1-1 draw with Germany in 2006) have bolstered national pride and made these games quite popular (so advance ticket purchase is advised). Tickets are relatively cheap when compared to European leagues where on average a full price ticket costs less than CYP£15. Anorthosis, a team originally from Famagusta and now playing in exile since the Turkish invasion of 1974, play their Champions League home fixtures at the same ground. Entry prices vary and opponents for 2008 include Inter Milan, Werder Bremen and Panathinaikos.
  • Horse Racing at the Nicosia Race Club, Ayios Dometios. Tel. +357 22782727, Fax. +357 22775690 Email: [12] The small and picturesque race track has a colonial feel to it. Emotions run high here every Wednesday and Sunday. Check website or call them for race timetable.
  • Tennis - Cyprus plays its home Davis Cup matches at the Field Club. Clay courts line the moat that was once covered with water protecting the city from medieval invaders. It has a colonial feel to it. Again, if you are lucky you might catch Marcos Baghdatis playing for Cyprus.


Explore the smaller City Streets, small enough to easily do this on foot. Visit a traditional Cypriot Cafe, and sample a Cypriot Coffee. Greet the locals. Make sure you visit the green Line and view all of the City from the Watch tower, into both North and South Nicosia.

Hamam Omeriye, Nicosia
Hamam Omeriye, Nicosia
  • Hamam Omerye. Located in the heart of the old town at: 8 Tyllirias Square, 1016 Lefkosia - within the ancient Venetian walls. Find your way to the 'Ohi' Round about, then head straight all the way until you find the Omeriye Mosque on your right - you can't miss it. Turn right here and the Hamam Baths are on your left. 14th century building restored to operate once again as a Turkish bath. The site's history dates back to the 14th century, when it stood as an Augustinian church of St. Mary, built by the Lusignan (French) and later maintained by the Venetians. In 1571, Mustapha Pasha converted the church into a mosque, believing that this particular spot is where the prophet Omer rested during his visit to Lefkosia. Most of the original building was destroyed by Ottoman artillery, although the door of the main entrance still belongs to the 14th century Lusignan building, whilst remains of a later Renaissance phase can be seen at the north-eastern side of the monument. Couples on Mondays, men only Tue/Thu/Sat, women only Wed/Fri/Sun. €20/two hours, incl. towels, disposable underwear, tea, sponge etc.


In bygone times Nicosia was dotted with dozens of open air and closed cinemas offering fims from local, Greek, Turkish and Hollywood producers. The advent of the video player and other home entertainment systems has strangled this industry and now only a handful of cinemas remain, none of which are open air. These offer the latest blockbuster movies from hollywood and occasionally the odd arthouse European film. Most will be screened in their original language with Greek subtitles. The annual Cyprus International Film Festival [13] is the local Cannes equivalent. Expect to see great movies, but not the same calibre of stars.

  • K. Cineplex 115 Makedonitissis, Strovolos 2057 +357-22355824. Modern multiscreen theatre, not much different to what one would find anywhare else in the world.
  • Zena Palace Cinema 18 Theofanous Theodotou, Nicosia 1065 +357-22674128. One of the oldest venues, has escaped the bulldozer by a thin film.
  • Ifantourgio 67-71 Lefkonos Str., Phaneromeni, 1011 Old Nicosia Tel: +357-22762275 Fax: +357-22377519 [14]. The name of this place translates as The Weaving Mill and is infact a converted old factory. Very arty, no blockbusters here. You can sip your wine as you watch an alternative movie.
  • Friends of Cinema Society P.O. Box 16233, Nicosia 2087, Cyprus Telephone: 96420491 e-mail website.

The Friends of Cinema Society was the first to bring forward to the Cypriot viewer, films from countries as diverse and distant as China, Iran, and Japan. With the popularity and recognition of Greek cinema, the Cypriot viewer was able to finally view modern, Greek productions by distinguished artists. Through various festivals (European, French, Spanish, German), Cyprus is able to admire films which are awarded important prizes by international critics, thus bringing state-of-the-art trends of world cinema to Cyprus.


The traditional shopping district runs along Ledra street and its tributary roads within the medieval walls of the city. A bustle of traditional jewelers, shoe and fabric shops give a blend of Middle Eastern and European feel. Laiki Geitonia is a pedestrianised neighbourhood that has been preserved in its original architecture and is the best quarter if you are after souvenir shops. Big chains (e.g. Marks and Spencer, Zara etc) line the more modern Makarios Avenue. Stasikratous street has evolved into a mini local version of 5th Avenue/Bond street with expensive brands such as Armani and Versace stores. All the above are within walking distance of each other.

There are no real department stores in a purist sense, but Ermes [15] (this chain inherited and re-branded the old local Woolworths) has several mini department stores across the island and a couple on Makarios Avenue. Alpha-Mega [16] and Orphanides [17] are local hypermarket chains (worthy equivalent of a Tesco or Wal-Mart) where it would be difficult not to find what you were after. Most of their stores however, are located in the suburbs.

International newspapers and periodicals (especially in the English language) are widely available but you can inevitably find them at the large kiosks (periptera) planted at the two corners of Eleftheria Square. These kiosks are open 24/7.


Traditional Cypriot cuisine is a melting pot of south European, Balkan and Middle Eastern influences. You will find most Greek, Turkish and Arabic dishes, often with a local name or twist. It is now decades since Cyprus has established itself as a tourist hotspot and as a consequence many of the local chefs have trained in Europe and elsewhere, bringing their experiences back home with them. As such most international cuisines are well represented (but unfortunately so are McDonalds [18] & gang). In summary good food is not difficult to come by and most westerners will find dining quite affordable.

The shopping district is dotted with local tavernas and the likes of KFC and Pizza Hut. Virtually all restaurants allow smoking, (and unfortunately some don't even have a non-smoking area, and most restaurants with the non-smoking area don't enforce it). Al fresco dining is a luxury that can be enjoyed for over half the year. It would be a crime not to try (at least once) a mixed pork kebab with a chilled local KEO or Carlsberg (which is brewed locally and tastes different to the same brand overseas) beer. Carnivores are spoilt for choice, whilst vegetarians might find it a tad difficult.

The food is high quality and somewhat cheaper than in the most Western capitals. Snacks should be available from €2-4, kebabs from €7 and whole meals from €15-20. Local KEO beer costs around €4 a pint in bars, local wines starting from €10 a bottle. Hygienic standards are followed and even foods that usually are not recommended in the Mediterranean destinations, such as mayonnaise and salad-based foods, can be safely eaten.

  • Kebab houses. The epitomy of Cyprus fast food. There is no neighbourhood without its local (99% of these are family-run businesses) so follow the BBQ smoke or smell. Try a traditional mixed kebab (aka souvlakia/sheftalia) with a cold KEO beer. That should set you back €12 at the most.
  • Sandwich kiosks. Several line Regina Str in central Nicosia close to Eleftheria Square. Some also offer doner kebab (gyros). Should cost less than CYP£5 including a soft drink, but you might have to stand whilst eating.
  • Goody's. Eleftheria Square, City Center. Tel. +357-22681888. [19] The Balkan answer to McDonald's. Don't expect more, don't expect less. Safe fastfood option, some dishes have a local flavour. Less than CYP£5 for a meal.
  • Toronto Pizza [20]. The first local Pizza chain created by a Cypriot returning from Canada. Now has over a dozen outlets, some of which have seating but some are only for home delivery/takeaway. Chose this over Pizza Hut or Dominoes.
  • Erodos - Erodos Patriarhou Gregoriou 1, Old Town Lefkosia, +357 22 752250, [21] Erodos Cafe-Restaurant within the Venetian walls and in the heart of Old Town Nicosia, Cyprus – Live music, fine wines, good beers and traditional, yet eccentric gastronomy.
  • Zanettos 65 Trikoupi Street +357 22 765501. [22]. Hidden away in the narrow streets of the old city, this can be difficult to locate alone. Ask any cab driver though and it's as much as a landmark as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Around since 1938, it serves traditional Greek-Cypriot meze at €14 a head. Booking is essential.
  • Eirinia 64A Arch Kyprianou Str, 2059 Strovolos, Tel +357-22422860. This tavern has a colourful past. Legend has it that the local prostitute (called Eirinia) cooked so well, that customers came more for her food than her services (the other version claims her services were so bad). Hence she switched to a restaurant. Her descendants still run one of the most successful and well known (amongst locals) taverns. Eat till you drop. €20-30/head.
  • Akakiko 9a Archbishop Makarios Avenue +357 77778022. Nicosia's newest Asian-Japanese Sushi restaurant. Part of an Austrian franchise and not much different to a Benihana. Average €20-30 a head.
  • Pizza Marzano 27 Diagorou Street, 1097 Nicosia Tel: +357-22663240 +357-22663740 fax: +357-22663786 [23]. Safe choice, but unadventurous. Part of the Pizza Express empire. Offers a similar menu to the UK version with a couple of extra pizzas with a local twist. CYP£10-15 a head including drink.
  • Plaka Tavern 65 Poseidonos Ave., 8042 Engomi, Nicosia. Tel. +357-22352898, +357-22590944 [24]. The quintessential Cypriot taverna, set in the middle of old Engomi (a Nicosia suburb) with tables spilling out on the street offering a strong meze. €15/head.
  • Xefoto Aischylou 6, Laiki Yitonia, Nicosia. Tel. +357-22666567 [25] Traditional food in a traditional setting. Serves mezes too. The tables spill onto the pavement for the al-fresco months of the year. Live music on weekend nights. Open daily from 11am till late. €15-20/head.
  • Seiko 26-28 Stasikratous str., Tel: +357-77777375. Nothing to do with mass production Japanese watches, this is an expensive (by Cyprus standards) design conscious Japanese restaurant. Boasting 132 different dishes including a variety of sashimi and sushi. €60 a head.
  • Zen Fusion Zen Fusion Spirou Kyprianou 18 Agii Omologites Nicosia Cyprus 1075, Tel: +357 22 755 060 . Great selection of Salads, Fusion soups, Appetizers variety of Tepanyaki, Teriyaki, Tempura, Sushi and Desserts, following the East-meets-West philosophy.


The substantial student population supports a flourishing industry of bars, pubs and nightclubs which keep the old city alive. Cypriots are true socialites and spend most of their time out as opposed to at home. In line with other south European countries going out is unheard of before 10-11pm. There is no official nightlife reference point but Makarios avenue turns into a catwalk cum cruising strip for Porsche owner show-offs. If you are after a more traditional flavour (generally catering for an older population) you could try a bouzouki bar.

Bars will stock the usual international brands of spirits. Local giants KEO beer and Carlsberg (the only other brand brewed on the island) have a universal presence. Local wines are now making a comeback after years of medioaracy and decline. Commandaria is the pride of Cyprus' dessert wines. The local spirit zivania (very similar to grappa) is usually drank as shots straight from the freezer. Cyprus brandy was introduced about 150 years ago and differs from other continental brandies in its lower alcohol content (around 32%). As such it is is often drank by locals whilst eating (and before and after) and is the basic ingredient for a local cocktail, The Brandy Sour. Local Ouzo is also another favourite.


Coffee culture is a way of life in Nicosia. It is the place to see and be seen in the afternoon to early evening. In the summer months, tables spill on to the streets. The posh cafes line Makarios avenue, intertwined with shops. Starbucks and Costa coffee have invaded the island but local equivalents also survive. For a change don't stick to the latte/capuccino, try a greek coffee. In the summer you must order a frappe (iced coffee).

  • Da Capo cafe, 30 Arch Makarios Avenue Tel. ++357-22757427. Regarded as one of the first modern cafes caters for the nouveau riche. Will serve basic meals too. WiFi internet access.
  • Le Cafe 16 Arch. Makarios Avenue Tel. ++357-22755151. Used to be a confectionery. Now you'll find the suits of the Cyprus financial elite lunching there - book in advance if you're going for lunch. Wifi internet access.
  • Pralina Cafe 31 Stasikratous Street, +357 22 660 491. The flagship cafe of a confectionery chain. A chocolate addict's paradise. You can easily overdose on sweets here, and before you know it, your diet is down the drain forever. The coffee is not bad either.
  • Mondo's Cafe 9 Arch. Makarios Avenue.Tel +357-77778044. The newest addition on the cafe strip, it dwarfs the rest in size. Large outside seating area, perfect for posers. WiFi internet access.


There is not much of a distinction between the two, most will serve beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. Many will now serve food too, but kitchens usually close earlier than the bar.

Babylon Bar & Restaurant
Babylon Bar & Restaurant
  • Babylon - 6 Iasonos Street, 2021 Lefkosia Tel: +357 22 665757, [26] Popular, long established bar in a converted 1950's house. Has a large beer garden for the hot summers and cosy log fires for the cold winters.
  • The Corner Pub 48 Demostheni Severi Avenue, Nicosia Tel: +357-22665735 [27] As the name suggests it’s a pub and on a corner. Some consider it a spooky shrine to Man Utd football club; its walls are adjourned with countless memorabilia and photos. Has several large projection screens so good for watching popular football games.
  • The Kush Bar 2 Omirou Avenue, Eleftheria Square, 1521 Nicosia Tel: +357-22666111 [28]. Opened in 2006, decorated with ultramodern minimalistic furniture and overlooking the dry moat surrounding Nicosia's venetian walls.
Plato's Bar
Plato's Bar
  • Plato's Bar 8-10 Platonos St. Tel: +357-22666552 [29]. Long established and popular, located in the old city in an old converted house. Prides itself on its substantial Belgian beer selection. No shorts allowed (you will be refused entrance). Good but relatively pricey food menu. Has an indoor beer courtyard.
  • The Toy Lounge Pindarou St. Tel: +357-22817040 [30] Opened in 2003. More than a bar, less than a club, frankly somewhere in between. Open till about 2am and serves finger food too. Live music on certain nights. More frequented by ages 25-40.
  • Scorpios Club 3 Stassinos Street - Tel: 22351850. Probably the only discothèque in Nicosia having survived the test of time. Opened in the early 1970’s and has reinvented itself (after several facelifts) since.
  • Sfinakia club 1 Kyriakou Matsi Avenue, 1082 Nicosia Tel+357-22766661. Opened in the 1990s and still going strong. Caters for an age group of 20-30s. Has a nice outdoors bar section open in the summer months. Usually packed on a daily basis and even on weekends.
  • Zoo Club 15 Stasinou Ave, 1060 Nicosia, Tel: +357-22458811. Started out as a club but over the years has taken over several floors on the same building. Has a restaurant section and a chill-out lounge bar.


Being more of an administrative city plus the financial hub of the island, hotels tend to cater more for business travelers. Accommodation choice is more limited than the purely touristical destinations that line the coast.

  • Averof Hotel 19 Averof Str., Tel: +357-22773447, Fax: +357-22773411, Email: [31]. A cheap (room prices CYP£26 to CYP£60 per night) two star hotel located in a very residential area.
  • Centrum Hotel 15 Pasikratous Str., 1011 Nicosia, Tel: +357-22456444, Fax: +357-22873560, [33]. Cosy 3 star, 40-room hotel renovated in 2003. Offers WiFi internet access.
  • Classic Hotel 94 Rigenis Str. Nicosia 1513. Tel. +357-22664006. Fax. +357-22670072 [34] Called Classic, but in fact very minimalistic and chic with wooden floors. Some limited conferencing facilities. Run by GAP Vasilopoulos, one of Cyprus' largest conglomerates.
  • Cleopatra Hotel 8 Florinis Str., 1065 Nicosia. Tel. +357-22844000, +357-22445254, +357-22671000 Fax. +357-22844222, +357-22670618 [35]. A four star family run hotel close to the city centre and within walking distance of the shopping district. Swimming pool, bars and WiFi internet access.
  • Europa Hotel,13 Alkaios Str, 2404, Nicosia.Tel +357 22692692, Fax +357-22664417,email Website [36]. Three star, 50 room hotel with wifi internet targeting the business traveller. Small conference room available too.
  • Hilton Cyprus Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Nicosia 1516. +357-22-377777 fax: +357-22-377788 [37]. A five star hotel around since 1967 but updated and extended several times since. Conveniently located along the main artery road entering Nicosia. Eponymous visitors and Heads of State always stay here so expect discreet police presence. Ample parking.
  • Hilton Park Forum Griva Dighenis Avenue, Nicosia, Cyprus 1507 Tel. +357-22695111 Fax. +357-22351918 Email: [38] Sister hotel to the other Hilton located close to the grounds of the International Fair.
  • Holiday Inn Nicosia 70 Regeana Str., Nicosia +357-22-712712 fax: +357-22-673337 [39]. Formerly the Kennedy Hotel, revamped and under new management. Situated in the heart of the old city. Has a nice pool on the roof.
  • Sky Hotel, 7C Solonos Street, Nicosia, +357 22666880, [40]. Two star budget hotel, located near the City Town Hall.  edit
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Proper noun




  1. The capital of Cyprus.

Derived terms



Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Nicosia f.

  1. Nicosia


Simple English

Nicosia (Lefkosia)
Country Cyprus
District Nicosia District
City-state 7th century BC
Capital 10th century
 - Mayor Eleni Mavrou
Population (2004)
 - Total 270,000 (Southern (Greek))
85,000 (Nortern (Turkish))
Time zone EET (UTC+2)

Nicosia, also known as Lefkosia (Greek: Λευκωσία Turkish: Lefkoşa) is the capital city of the island country of Cyprus. It is also the largest city of that country. Niscosia is located on the Pedieos (Kanlidere) river in the centre of the island. The city is the seat of government as well as the main business centre for Cyprus. Nicosia is capital of the administrative district (Nicosia District)

Nicosia is the only divided capital city in the world. It has a northern (Turkish) section and a southern (Greek) section. These sections are divided by the "Green Line". It is a demilitarized zone created by the United Nations. Unlike Cold War East and West Berlin, the terms "North Nicosia" and "South Nicosia" are not commonly used. The northern half of Nicosia is the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The Greek part of the city has a population of 270,000 people (2004). Also, 84,893 people live in the Turkish zone.[1] Nicosia has many shops, restaurants and entertainment. The city is a trade center. It manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other items. Copper mines are nearby. The University of Cyprus (UCY) is located in Nicosia.



Nicosia was a city-state known as Ledra or Ledrae in ancient times. The king of Ledra was Onasagoras in 672 BC. The city was rebuilt by Lefkos, son of Ptolemy I around 300 BC. Ledra in Hellenic and Roman times was a small, unimportant town, also known as Lefkothea. It got its first Christian bishop, Trifillios, in 348.

The city became the island's capital around the 10th century. It had grown in importance because of threats to the coastal cities Paphos and Salamis. These threats made many people leave the coast of the island and move to Lefkosia in the center of the island.

The city became a Venetian possession in 1489. It was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1571. During this time, the city grew culturally. In the 15th and 16th centuries, many palaces, churches and monasteries were built. About 20,000 people living in the city died because of the Ottoman attack of 1570.

Many disasters happened in the city during the 19th century. Cholera hit the city in 1835. Fire destroyed large parts of Nicosia in 1857.

The British Empire took control of the island in 1878. Nicosia was the capital of the new British colony.

In early 1974, military forces supported by the Greek government took control of Cyprus. Because of this, Turkey sent forces to the island to also try and take control of it. The Turkish forces caused the Greek supported government to end but the Turks refused to leave the country. The believed that if they left, the Turkish people living in Cyprus would be in danger:danger. The Turkish forces moved to the northern part of Cyprus and stayed there. Because of this, Cyprus and the city of Nicosia were divided in half. The northern area is contolled by Turkish Cypriots (people from Cyprus) as a part of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The southern part is controlled by Greek Cypriots.

Only the country of Turkey says that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is an actual country.



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