Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, a status it has enjoyed for 1000 years. It lies roughly in the centre of the island, 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 ‘ that once adorned the city.
Nicosia is where the Seat of Government, Diplomatic headquarters and cultural centre of Cyprus are situated, 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. For this simple reason many offshore companies use Nicosia as their main office of business.
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.
Those engrossed in history and art will make their way directly to the Cyprus Museum, which holds the island’s priceless treasures from the first stirrings of the Neolithic Age through the Roman period. At the Byzantine Museum, encounter a dazzling collection of early-Christian icons from the Mediterranean’s Golden Age. The State Collection of Contemporary Art takes a newer perspective, focusing on Cyprus’ modern artists.
During the Venetian expansion eastward in the 1500’s, Nicosia (Lefkosia) was fortified with imposing stone walls and massive gates. The famous Famagusta Gate still stands today, proudly protecting the still-ancient town within from the modern city without. Through the Gate lies Laiki Geitonia, an old section of the city, which has been lovingly restored. Wind your way through narrow stone streets where crimson flowers cascade from window pots and the aroma of traditional baking wafts through open doorways.
Nicosia is only half an hour away from the beautiful beaches of Larnaca.