Weekend Breaks to Nicosia
Planning a short break to Nicosia? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Nicosia. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Nicosia. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.
Top 10 Things in Nicosia on a Short Break
Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is located in the centre of the island. Both the city and the country are divided into two by the Green Line with the Turkish and Greek communities firmly entrenched on either side.
Nicosia is the only city in Europe to be divided in this way and a visit to the border is quite a chilling experience but it will provide you with an awareness of the problems the island is facing.
The Byzantine Museum, which is located in the Archbishops Palace, contains a number of really stunning exhibits, while the Palace itself has a fabulous collection of mosaics and beautiful religious icons. In the palace grounds you will find St John's Cathedral, this has a few 18th-century frescoes which have been well restored in recent times.
In the 16th century Nicosia was fortified with imposing stone walls and massive gates in an attempt to repel Venetian invaders. The massive Famagusta Gate was at one time the main entrance and form of protection to the ancient city and it still stands beautifully preserved from the ravages of time.
The Handicraft Centre is home to several workshops where traditional Cypriot arts and crafts are practiced today much in the same way they were in bygone ages. The Centre is also home to restaurants serving traditional Cypriot cuisinel. You can also have your meals accompanied by one of the wide range of wines made on the island. Alternatively you may wish to try traditional ouzo which, when watered, looks like milk, but dont be deceived it knocks a heavy punch.
This old town, which is located inside the16th-century Venetian walls, is fascinating glimpse of Nicosia through the ages. Laiki Geitonia is a pedestrian area within the walled city, east of Plateia Eleftherias Here delightful meandering alleys with traditional houses; galleries, shops and restaurants have all been painstakingly restored.
Take a trip out to Lefkara where lace products are still made by the people of the village. Lefkaritica lace was made well before the Venetians came to value it as an expression of folk art in the 16th century. The lace is now a living tradition, with new designs in placemats, tablecloths, curtains and dresser sets being continually added. The laces are not particularly cheap but they are beautifully made and will last an awfully long time.
The village is a 30 minute drive from Nicosia but is worth the trip as it has been declared an ancient monument in an attempt to preserve the amazing woodwork and architecture of the 16th and 18th century houses, The Ffikardou Rural Museum has a wonderful exhibition depicting the village through the ages.
This area plus the west of the city centre along George Grivas drive is the home of the vibrant nightlife scene in the city. In Engomi you will find two nightclubs; the Africanas Disco and the Scorpios Disco both of which are popular with Nicosias young people. Elefthera is full of pubs and is a convivial place to spend the evening drinking the local cocktail, Brandy Sours and chatting with the locals.
If you're staying in the Greek south of the Island and want to visit the Turkish north it is possible to attain an entry permit which allows you to spend the day there. Unfortunately it is not possible to make the trip in the other direction. Locals are not allowed to cross the border.
The Square is situated in the centre of North Nicosia from here the main street leads to the lovely Kyrenia Gate. Close to the gate is the Turkish Museum, which is situated in a 17th-century monastery.
In here you will a fascinating display of whirling-dervish memorabilia. Also worth a visit is the Selimiye Mosque, built in the 13th century, is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the country.
The Büyük Hammam, in the south of town, is the city's largest Turkish bath.
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