10 Best Things to Do in Nicosia for Divided City Exploration


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Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is the last divided city in Europe, offering a unique blend of Greek and Turkish Cypriot cultures. Each side of the city tells its own story through historic sites, vibrant street art, and bustling markets. Exploring Nicosia is about more than just sightseeing; it’s about experiencing the complexities and charm of a city with a rich but divided history. Whether you’re crossing the Green Line or wandering through ancient streets, you’ll discover a place where past and present coexist intriguingly.

Walk Along the Green Line

Walking along the Green Line in Nicosia provides a tangible sense of the division that still exists in the city. This buffer zone separates the Greek and Turkish parts of Nicosia and is patrolled by United Nations forces. As you walk, you’ll see remnants of old homes and businesses that tell a story of separation and history frozen in time.

Visit the Ledra Street Crossing Point

The Ledra Street Crossing Point is one of the main pedestrian crossings between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sections of Nicosia. Crossing here is a symbolic act as much as a practical one, offering visitors a chance to easily experience the distinct cultures on each side of the divide.

Explore the Cyprus Museum

The Cyprus Museum houses the most extensive collection of Cypriot antiquities in the world. This museum is crucial for understanding the island’s history through its artifacts, which range from Neolithic to Roman times. The exhibits are well-curated and provide deep insights into the rich history and cultural heritage of Cyprus.


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Discover the Selimiye Mosque

Originally constructed as the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, the Selimiye Mosque is a prime example of architectural transformation over centuries. When the Ottomans captured Nicosia, the cathedral was converted into a mosque, and today, it stands as a significant monument reflecting the city’s layered history.

Stroll Through the Venetian Walls

The Venetian Walls that encircle Nicosia’s old city were built in the 16th century by the Venetians to defend against Ottoman attacks. These impressively preserved walls now offer a unique walking route around the city, providing views and access to many other historical sites along the way.

Enjoy Local Cuisine in Laiki Geitonia

Laiki Geitonia is a traditional neighborhood in Nicosia where you can enjoy local Cypriot cuisine. This area is known for its charming streets lined with small shops and restaurants offering authentic dishes such as souvlaki, moussaka, and halloumi. Dining here offers a taste of local life and culinary traditions.

Tour the Buyuk Han

The Buyuk Han has been a significant trading place since the Ottoman era and now serves as a cultural center. Restored to its former glory, the inn offers a glimpse into the historical lifestyle of travelers and traders. Today, it houses several craft shops and cafes where visitors can relax and soak up the atmosphere.

Admire the Art at the Leventis Municipal Museum

The Leventis Municipal Museum holds an extensive collection of Cypriot works, from ancient times to the present day. The museum not only displays artifacts but also tells the story of Nicosia through its exhibits, highlighting the city’s evolution and the everyday lives of its inhabitants.

Check Out Street Art in South Nicosia

South Nicosia has become a canvas for vibrant street art, with local and international artists contributing murals that often speak to themes of reconciliation and unity. A walk through these areas offers a contemporary contrast to the ancient city, showcasing a lively, creative spirit.

Experience the View from Shacolas Tower

Shacolas Tower provides one of the best panoramic views of Nicosia. Visitors can look out over the city from the observation deck, gaining a unique perspective of both sides of the divided capital. The tower is a popular spot for photographs and provides a visual understanding of the city’s layout and historical division.


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