Traveling World

Nicosia, Cyprus - attractions, pictures

Nicosia (in Greek Lefkosia) is the only capital of the world, divided between two states. And, although one of these states - nobody but Turkey, the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the border is quite real - with the wall and with checkpoint. True, there are no problems when crossing this border (at least for tourists) - it is enough to have a passport.


 Nicosia. The border in Nicosia

The border in Nicosia


Nicosia is not a very tourist place, despite the fact that the historical attractions here are several times more than in any other Cypriot city. The reason is very simple - the capital is not on the coast, but in the depths of the island. And, although only about an hour from Larnaka to Nicosia, few people dare to tear off their bodies from the beach sand and devote the day to the survey of Nicosia, which, moreover, is considered the hottest place on the island.


 Nicosia. The main street of Nicosia

The main street of Greek Nicosia


 Nicosia. The main street of Nicosia
And its continuation on the Turkish side


In general, the Greek part of the city looks more like the Turkish. Not that on the one hand everything was clean and tidy, but on the other rubbish and ruin, but still, from the Turkish side, rusted or even destroyed buildings are found even in the depths of the city (near the wall, it's understandable nobody lives and the houses there look appropriate).
It seems that the Turks in Cyprus live poorer than the Greeks. Indirect confirmation of this - the prices, which are much lower on the Turkish side.


 Greek Nicosia

Greek Nicosia


 Turkish Nicosia

Turkish Nicosia


Both Greek and Turkish authorities are intensely pretending that their opponents do not exist at all. On tourist maps of the city, which, by the way, the Turks give free of charge directly at the checkpoint, the hostile territory is simply missing.

The old city of Nicosia is bounded by Venetian walls, once very impressive, and now mostly ruined, or thoroughly ingrained into the earth.


 Nicosia. City Wall

City Wall (XVI century).


The scope of this structure can be estimated only at the city gates, where the wall is restored.


 Nicosia. Городская стена у Пафосских ворот

City wall at Paphos Gate (XVI century).
The gate itself, at that time restored and the view was unpresentable.


The gates are located at different ends of the city - respectively, in the Greek (Paphos) and Turkish (Kyrenia) parts.


 Nicosia. Kyrenia Gates

Kyrenia Gates (XVI century)


Well preserved one more gate - also in the Greek part - Famagusta or Giuliani gate.


 Nicosia. Famagusta gate

Famagusta gate (XVI century)


The walls of Nicosia are now the only thing that unites the city.

Although, perhaps there is something else, or more precisely, someone who is present invariably in both parts of the city. Cats, fortunately, do not divide into Turkish and Greek :)


 Nicosia. Cats

Cats - Greek or Turkish? :)


Everything else is different, incl. architecture. If in the Greek Nicosia the external appearance of the churches, even those converted from Catholic churches, tends more towards the Byzantine canons, then in the Turkish part of the mosque externally remain all the same Frank Gothic churches, only with minarets and without bas-reliefs.
So, we will consider the city in parts.


Greek Nicosia

The Church of Phanereny was built on the territory of the nunnery. On the Internet they say that this is the largest Orthodox church in the island, but you can not tell by its appearance.


 Nicosia. Church of Phanereni

Church of Phanereni (XIX century)


Many Orthodox churches in Nicosia are relatively new, as they are often built anew on the site of old temples destroyed during the Turkish conquest. 


 Nicosia. Church of St. Cassian

Church of St. Cassian (XIX century)


The oldest surviving church is the Chrysaliniotissa Church, built by the order of the Byzantine princess Elena Paleolog, who was, in combination, the wife of Jean II de Louisianan and, accordingly, the queen of Cyprus.
Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to understand how the church looked before, the original building is hidden by later annexes.


 Nicosia. Chrysaliniotissa Church

Chrysaliniotissa Church (XV century)


 Nicosia. Chrysaliniotissa Church

Chrysaliniotissa Church (XV century) 


Cathedral of St. John does not impress the main temple of the city - a sort of modest building.


 Nicosia. Cathedral of St. John

Cathedral of St. John (XVII century)


Near is the palace of Archbishop Makarios III - the first president of the Republic of Cyprus. But there is absolutely nothing remarkable - a modern building, although it was built in the classical Venetian style.

The church of St. Anthony is noteworthy because it was built during the Turkish rule, which then did not happen often.


 Nicosia. Church of St. Anthony

Church of St. Anthony (XVIII century)


At the same time, which is much less surprising :), the mosque Omerie was opened. It was built on the remnants of the Augustinian church, ruined during the siege, since it was believed that at this place the caliph Omer rested during his visit to Lefkosia.


 Nicosia. Omerie mosque

Omerie mosque (XVIcentury)


Church of St. Sava is supposedly built under the Lusignans. What we see now is the result of restorations of the XVIII-XIX centuries.


 Никосия. Church of St. Sava

Church of St. Sava (XV-XIXcentury)


The Church of the Archangel Michael, like many others, was built on the ruins of a monastic structure of the Lusignan times.


 Nicosia. Church of the Archangel Michael,

Church of the Archangel Michael, (XVIIcentury)


Turkish Nicosia


Before turning to the sights of Turkish Nicosia (the Turks, by the way, called the city of Lefkosha), several general impressions.
Unlike the Greek part of the city, not only churches, but also civil buildings and, not only Turkish, but also Lusignan times, have been preserved.
As for the churches, in the sense of mosques. They would not have anything original (all mosques are more or less the same), if most of them were not converted from Catholic churches. The alteration consisted in the addition of minarets and the cleaning of the walls from the bas-reliefs and internal premises from everything that had once been there. As a result, naked skeletons turned out, which, of course, still give an idea of ​​how it looked like before, but the impression is very blurry.


 Nicosia. Bedesten (St. Nicholas Church)

One of the few surviving gargoyles on the facade of Bedesten (St. Nicholas Church)


Besides the already mentioned ruins, in the immediate vicinity of the wall, there is a pretty decent looking restored quarter that should show how the Turks lived in Nicosia immediately after its conquest.


 Nicosia. Parade Quarter

Parade Quarter


The largest of the surviving civilian buildings is Büyük Hamam. It is still quite operational now.


 Nicosia. Büyük Hamam

Büyük Hamam (XVIcentury)


Previously, this place was the Catholic Church of St. George. The only thing left of it is the entrance arch, which is now below ground level.


 Nicosia. Büyük Hamam

Büyük Hamam (XVIcentury)


Nearby is the cultural center Büyük-khan. This is the largest of the Turkish inns preserved in Cyprus (caravanserai). In the arched rooms are now selling souvenirs, but before the travelers were located, well, they also traded, probably, too. In the middle of the courtyard is a small mosque.



Büyük-khan (XVIcentury)


In the center of Nicosia are two large churches - the Cathedral of St. Sofia and the church of St. Nicholas.


 Nicosia. Кафедральный собор св. Софии и церковь св. Николая

Cathedral of St. Sofia (XIII-XIV century) and Church of St. Nicholas (VI-XIV century)


Church of St. Nicholas was built in the VI century (in the Byzantine style, naturally), then in the 12th century rebuilt in a large temple, in the XIV in addition to Gothic elements. Now these details are difficult to discern, because the Turks used the building as a warehouse, and then it was also badly damaged during the earthquake.


 Nicosia. Church of St. Nicholas

Church of St. Nicholas (VI-XIV century)


Cathedral of St. Sophia was the main temple of not only Nicosia, but the whole island. It crowned the kings of Cyprus. After the Turkish conquest, the cathedral was turned into a mosque Selimiye. Honestly, in its current form - without a bell tower and ornaments, it looks squat and somehow too simple.


 Nicosia. Cathedral of St. Sophia

Cathedral of St. Sophia  (XIII-XIV century)


 Nicosia. Cathedral of St. Sophia

Cathedral of St. Sophia (XIII-XIV century)


Church of St. Catherine (then the Haydar Pasha Mosque) is a rather unusual Gothic building. Not quite habitually located stained glass and the church itself is almost square, though not small, like a chapel.


 Nicosia. Church of St. Catherine

Church of St. Catherine (XIV century)


Again, it is difficult to understand how it looked in the original - before the conversion of the church into a mosque there were still domes and a bell tower.


 Nicosia. Lusignan's House

Lusignan's House (XIV century)


Which Lusignans lived in this house, history is silent. Something suggests that it's not the kings themselves, although who knows ... The Internet says that you can go inside, inspect the furniture and the patio, but during my visit the house was tightly closed.

The road from the Kyrenia Gates to the checkpoint passes through the part of the city where the English settled when they owned Cyprus. There are quite interesting buildings in the colonial style.


 Nicosia. The building of the former British administration

The building of the former British administration (XIX century)


Venetians, here too noted - put the column. Moreover, the column, though crowned in due time by the eagle of St. Mark, at least a thousand years older than Venice itself. It was pulled by enterprising merchants from the ruins of the temple of Zeus in Cypriot Salamina.


 Nicosia. Venetian Column

Venetian Column (XVI century)


This is what I saw in Nicosia. Of course, I probably missed something interesting (at least museums), but in one day it's just physically impossible to see everything.
I like it. Very interesting. The division into two parts, no matter how sad it is for the local residents, only adds interest to tourists - two very different cities in one. 


Tourist map of the sights of Turkish Nicosia
Tourist map of the sights of Turkish Nicosia

Tourist map of the sights of Greek Nicosia
Tourist map of the sights of Greek Nicosia


Cyprus coins


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