Nicosia, Travel Guide
Cyprus is a divided country – the southern part of the island is the free “greek” part, the northern part is an occupied area. While the south is internationally recognised and a member of the EU, the self-declared “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” is recognised only by Turkey. Therefore a trip to Nicosia is also a very lively history lesson as it is the center of all the important historic events of the island until today with its division.
In the last few years the situation calmed down, the borders were opened and in 2015 the North and South relaunched reunification talks. Nicosia itself is a lively city with a lot of hip cafes, stores and restaurants. This is how it must have felt like back in the days when Berlin was at the same stage – but here you can experience it live. Now is the best time to pay a visit to Nicosia and check it out during this process of change.
The capital of the Republic of Cyprus is also its cultural heartbeat. Overlooked by most visitors, reduced to a day-tour jaunt from beach resorts, Nicosia (or Lefkosia, as it’s officially known) is a curious and fascinating mix of vibrant street life, confronting division and rich history.
Nearly everything of interest lies within the snowflake-shaped Venetian walls. Inside the Old City, the lively, contemporary cafe and bar scene punches well above its weight for a city so small, while a bundle of museums and a series of looping lanes lined with colonial-era buildings, churches and mosques reveal an evocative history. Meanwhile, if you brush up against the sandbag and oil-barrel barriers of the Green Line (the UN Buffer Zone) you’ll get a sense of the surreal and sad present-day state of limbo for the world’s last divided capital.