Nicosia is the capital and the biggest city of Cyprus and is located centrally inland, on the Mesaoria plain, on the banks of the River Pedieos. It is situated on the border between the Turkish-speaking northern and Greek-speaking southern parts of the island and is the world's last divided capital. The city itself is cut in half by a barbed wire fence and a border-crossing office where tourists need to present their documents every time they pass through to the other half of the city -- even if they only want to get to a café across the street. The Green Line is also guarded by soldiers who watch above the city from their tiny watch towers -- a truly shocking reminder of the city's recent history.
As the city lacks beaches, the prime reason why visitors choose to spend their holidays on the Mediterranean island, Nicosia itself is not too touristy, which means that it manages to retain a certain authentic charm. Walking through the Old City, you can get lost in its labyrinthine streets and admire the many mosques, churches, and tiny atmospheric museums that have not changed much through the past centuries. The tiny stalls selling traditional handicrafts are worth browsing through even if you are not a souvenir hunter, and a visit to one of the cute little cafes offering Cypriot coffee is a must if you are in Nicosia.
Amongst all the traditional buildings, Buyuk Han might be one of the most interesting. The construction that used to serve as an inn and resting station for caravans during the Ottoman years nowadays serves as a bazaar and hosts several local galleries as well as some traditional eateries, where, if you are lucky, you can watch local women bake delicious pastry dishes right in front of your eyes.
Although the airport of the city remains closed since the Turkish invasion of the mid-seventies, the fairly good bus connections of the country ensure that you can reach the city -- and your Nicosia hostel -- easily after flying into either Larnaca or Paphos airport.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Nicosia hostels. Welcome.