NICOSIA - THE CAPITAL
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, a status it has enjoyed for 1000 years since the 10th century, though its beginnings date back 5000 years to the Bronze Age. It lies roughly in the centre of the island in the Mesaoria Plain, flanked by the beautiful northern range of Kyrenia mountains with its distinctive 'Pentadaktylos" - the five finger mountain. There are various suggestions as to the origin of the name Nicosia - or 'Lefkosia' in Greek - but the most likely one is linked to the popular tree, the tall 'Lefki ' which once adorned the city.
Seat of Government, Diplomatic headquarters and cultural centre of Cyprus, the capital presents two distinct faces: the old, original part of the city, surrounded by sturdy Venetian walls over 400 years old, and a busy modern metropolis which has a population of 171,000 together with the suburbs. . .
Within the large area encircled by the strong bastion walls that served to protect the town for centuries are many places of great historic interest.
The central Eleftheria Square links old Nicosia with the elegant modern city that has grown up outside the walls, where hotels, offices restaurants and gardens blend happily with the fine old houses and colonial buildings of this cosmopolitan city.
Places of Interest in Nicosia
Archangelos Michael Monastery
Off the Nicosia-Anthoupolis Road, 10 minutes drive from Nicosia.
The church dates back to the Byzantine period, with rebuilding carried out in 1636 and in 1713 when it was purchased by Kykko Monastery. Founded by Archbishop Nikiforos whose tomb can be seen in the narthex of the church. The iconostasis dates to 1650 and there is a 1785 fresco of the Archangel Michael to whom the monastery is dedicated.
27 km from Nicosia on the Nicosia-Troodos road .
The church, dedicated to Saints Barnabas and Hilarion, was probably erected in the early 10th century, and is an outstanding example of Byzantine architecture. Next to the church stands the Turkish mosque of Peristerona, witness to the long and peaceful co-existence between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots of the village, and the whole of Cyprus. in a time when Turkey had not yet adopted its partitionist and expansionist policy.