Nicosia, the capital of both the Greek and Turkish divisions of Cyprus, is the world’s last remaining divided capital. Despite the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus generally regarded as occupied territory by the international community and not independent from the Greek portion (the Republic of Cyprus), the two very distinct cultures collide in Nicosia, making it a very unique and interesting city to visit when on holiday in Cyprus.
Because of the Turkish occupation of Nicosia, the city is divided into two by barbed wire. However, visitors with EU passports can easily cross the Green Line division at the official crossing points, allowing you to explore both halves of this 1000 year old city.
There is much to see in this millennia-old city, with the two main draws being the various museums and the cities performance arts offerings. The most important collection of Cypriot artefacts and treasures can be found in Cyprus Museum, where some of the exhibits date back 8,500 years. Other museums well worth exploring are the Ethnographic Museum, the Folk Art Museum and the Byzentine Museum.
Music and performance arts are an important part of Nicosia’s heritage, and throughout the city at various venues you can pick up tickets for operatic, theatrical and orchestral performances. But of course, one of the main draws to the visit is the shopping. Nicosia is where old meets new, so expect to be able to pick up fake designer goods just as easily as locally and traditionally made handicrafts to take home with you.
And finally, no visit to Nicosia would be complete without getting your teeth into some of their tasty food offerings. The city is a melting pot for a widely influenced range of foods from Greece, Turkey and nearby Arab nations. But you can also expect to find restaurants selling dishes inspired by other parts of Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East. It’s highly affordable to eat on in the city, but don’t forget to give their street food (the kebabs are always a winner) a go, too.
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