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10 Reasons to Visit Nicosia, Cyprus

Ishwari Pamu Dec 02, 2019
A city of cultural diversity steeped in fascinating history, where Greek and Turkish cuisines come together to give us the mind-blowing Cypriot cuisine and the perfect Mediterranean climate. It’s Cyprus beyond its beaches.

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Old Town

It’s not just cafés, bars, restaurants, shops and ateliers, it’s like the place is alive. Every shop, bar, café and atelier has a story to tell, every building and street speaks to you, and the people add to the charm of the place; it’s a living history lesson on Cyprus.
Head to Hamam Omerye, a spa set in the heart of the Old Town, to experience the luxuries of traditional bathing and then to Taverna Siantris for a traditional Cypriot meal.

Selimiye Mosque

It looks a tad bit different than a usual mosque, that’s because it was a Roman Catholic cathedral was later converted into a mosque in the 16th century.

Cypriot coffee

Twice as strong as the American coffee, it’s served in three different ways - sweet (glykis), medium (metrios) and unsweetened (sketos); you can pair it with the local sweets and pastries. Get a table at one of the several cozy cafes; To Apomero is a favorite among the locals.

Walk Along the Green Line

The only divided capital in the world, the green line divides Nicosia into North (Turkish – occupied Cyprus) and South (Greek Cypriot Cyprus). The main line is just outside Ledra Street where you can cross over to the other side; it’s as if entering a different country.
It’s a great way to learn about the city’s multi-layered history and it’s current socio-political state.

Famagusta Gate

A spitting image of the Lazaretto Gate in Crete, it was built by the Venetians as a defense against the Ottomans. Used as a warehouse by the British, it was significantly ruined but was later restored and is now the best preserved and the most impressive structure out of the remaining old defenses.

Ledra Street

Recently reopened to the public in 2008, it has quickly become the most happening street in the city, breathing new life into the neighborhood. With eateries, cafés, bars, shops, boutiques lining the entire length of the street, you can eat, drink and shop till you drop.

Büyük Han

One of the first things the Ottomans built after they invaded Cyprus, this two-storey building was an inn with a small mosque in the courtyard. This beautiful han was also used by the merchants for accommodation when they came to town for business and is an exceptional example of Ottoman architecture.

Pivo Microbrewery

The only brewhouse in Nicosia, they serve beers straight out of the maturation tank and have a great menu to go with the beers. The 100-year old manor complete with stone walls and vintage wooden furniture adds to the charm of the place and helps set the mood.

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Whirling Dervish Performance

As their tennures (white skirts) rise and fall in harmony, chanting “Allah” they only seem to be spinning faster with every turn. This emotionally-charged practice is a deeply intense form of active meditation.

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Also known as “Sema” in Islam, this extremely humbling ritual is about letting go of ego and attaining “fenafillah”, meaning Nirvana and becoming enlightened and one with God.

Machairas Monastery

Said to be named after the painting “Panayia of Machairas” done by the apostle Luke, this monastery is of great religious significance to Cyprus.
Surrounded by trees on all four sides, it’s a great place to visit if you want some peace and calm. If you aren’t a religious person, go anyway, to experience the tranquil atmosphere and the scenic views.