22 Feb 7 interesting facts you need to know about Nicosia, the Capital of Cyprus
Nicosia, also known as Lefkosia in the past, is the largest city, the home of the presidential palace, and the capital of Cyprus. The seat of the government has been in the city since the 10th century for all the people of the Republic of Cyprus. It has been continuously populated for over 4,500 years and today has an estimated population of approximately 320,000 people. The capital of Cyprus was once under control by the Byzantines, the Lusignan Kings, the Venetians, the Turks, and the British, which is no wonder its history has a transformation of both Eastern and Western influences. On July 5th, 1878 Nicosia came under the rule of the United Kingdom which is one of the main reasons the country’s inhabitants mostly speak English as their second language. In 1964 the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities of Nicosia set apart from each other and segregated into two groups with the Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south of the city. Today thousands of people from around the world visit Nicosia for its rich history, politics along with the financial structure of the island and the diverse communities living within the city.
What is Nicosia known for?
Nicosia is known for its fascinating history, archeological museums, Venetian Walls, and being the only divided city in the world. The country’s buffer zone also known as Nicosia’s Green Line extends through various checkpoints along with the capital. The main point is at Ledra Street and people can easily cross over to the other side of the island, also called North Cyprus, and have a taste of some Turkish cuisine and culture.
What languages are spoken in Nicosia?
The official language in the country is Greek and Turkish. In North Cyprus, people speak mainly Turkish, and in the South part of the island people speak Greek. As the island had been under British rule in the 20th century, the most common language on the island is English. All road signs, public notices, advertisements, menus, and anything else you can think of is written in English. It is no wonder that it is the number one tourist destination for British citizens along with people from all over the world that speak English, hence it is very easy for them to communicate with the local people.
What are the most popular places to visit in Nicosia?
For sure one must visit the Byzantine Museum with over 230 icons dating from the 9th to the 19th century along with the Cyprus Archeological Museum which is the oldest and largest on the island. The Famagusta Gate is also known as the Nicosia Walls, which had been built by the Venetians in the 16th Century and was originally called Porta Giuliani after the designer of the infrastructure. The Selimiye Mosque, which is housed in the largest and oldest surviving Gothic church in Cyprus, and a former Roman Catholic Cathedral which has been converted into a mosque can be seen in North Nicosia.
What is the most common food that can be found in Nicosia?
Lots of delicious and mouth-watering traditional dishes can be found in the city that can satisfy even the most demanding appetite. One of the most popular foods on the island is Souvlakia (also known as kebab) in the North, which is usually served with pitta bread and fries. This is barbequed meat made from mainly lamb or pork, but can also be made with chicken. Grilled food is very popular in the country as people like to have a Mediterranean diet with unprocessed vegetables, grilled halloumi, and fresh fish straight out of the clear blue waters of Cyprus.
What is the weather in Nicosia?
In general, the weather in Cyprus is usually warm and sunny all year long with hot summers and mild winters. In summer the barometer can reach a high of forty degrees during the day but cool and breezy during the night. The warmest month is August but from October until June the weather is just lovely for walking, hiking, and sightseeing around the city and the mountains of Troodos which are also situated in Nicosia.
What currency is used in Nicosia?
Euro is the official currency of the Republic of Cyprus but any currency is accepted along with internationally recognized debit and credit cards. In shops, people can pay in cash or cards but it is best to convert only the money to be used during the visit, so as not to lose on currency exchange charges.
Is it safe to travel to Nicosia?
Nicosia is one of the safest and travel-free cities in the world as it is under the surveillance of the European Union and United Nations at the buffer zone. One can easily walk around the city in both areas north and south and visit some striking shops and restaurants with traditional infrastructure but also the flowing feeling of any other modern European city. One of the most popular streets is called Ledra Street and there you can have fun any time of the day or night.
Nicosia is a combination of modern civilization with old infrastructure, fine dining, and historical monuments and museums. It is the only city in the world that is separated by north and south borders. As politicians from all over the world are continuously meeting to find solutions for the well-being of all the people and to be known for its traditions, monuments, and culture. If you are planning to visit Cyprus make sure you spend a couple of days touring the fascinating city and be ready to take some memorable photos for your travel albums.