Nicosia – one city located in two countries

Nicosia Ledra Street
CyprusFree entranceNo price limitUnder EUR 10Under EUR 25Under EUR 5

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We invite you to Nicosia – the last divided capital in the world. To visit the entire city, you need to pass a border control inside with an ID. The south part belonging to Republic of Cyprus is completely different than the part belonging to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. What are the differences between the two sides of Nicosia?

Are you looking for inspiration? Best things to do in Cyprus.

Nicosia – a very short history of the division

Nicosia is a real political and tourist ‘exception’ on the world map. The capital city of Cyprus is divided into two parts. The division occurred in 1964, so the case is relatively recent. That year the Turkish authorities announced to the world that part of the island belonged to them and didn’t hesitate to implement their resolution. The world has accepted neither the territorial changes nor the establishment of Turkish Northern Cyprus. But the fact is that the division exists, and the border guards are still standing in Nicosia today. And without your ID you will not get to the other side.

Nicosia division

Republic of Cyprus – here is Europe

On one side of Nicosia, which belongs to Republic of Cyprus, you can feel a very European/Greek atmosphere. Narrow streets, lots of flowers, colorful doors and shutters… Anyone who knows the Balkans a little, knows what we are talking about.

A must see on this side of town:

  • Ledra Street,
  • Famagusta Gate,
  • Shacolas Tower,
  • Church of Panagia Faneromeni
  • The Cathedral of St. John the Theologian,
  • The Cyprus Museum,
  • Byzantine Museum,
  • Cyprus Folk Art Museum,
  • The Liberty Monument.

Nicosia Republic of CyprusNicosia Greek part

Northern Republic of Cyprus – here is Asia

After crossing the border with Northern Cyprus, little Turkey suddenly appears. Light chaos is mixed here with a delicate mess. You can hear the Turkish language in the streets and see on the walls. Immediately abroad, we try sweet and delicious baklava. See an old mosque. Admire colorful murals. Visit the city market where we can find literally everything (we are not buying a painting, a carpet, or a pseudo-silk scarf). The vendor from a greengrocer offers us exotic fruits that we see for the first time, and we do not even know their name. We feel a bit like in another world (or in a thousand and one nights fairy tale).

A must see on this side of town:

  • Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque,
  • Sarayonu Mosque,
  • caravansarai Buyuk Han,
  • Bandabuliya market,
  • Sarayonu Square,
  • Samanbahce Quarter,
  • Kyrenia Gate.

Nicosia Northern Republic of CyprusNicosia Turkish partNicosia baklava

What do both sides of Nicosia have in common?

However, there is one element (or rather thousands of elements) common to all of Cyprus and to all of Nicosia. Stray cats that you will meet literally everywhere. Statistics say that there are more of them on the island than people (the population of Cyprus is 1.2 million). Legend has it that they were brought to Cyprus centuries ago to fight the scourge of poisonous snakes or vipers. It is not known how much truth there is. It is certain, however, that you will meet them everywhere – in a restaurant, near a shop, by a swimming pool, on a street… They are simply part of the landscape and if you want to go to Cyprus, you have to accept it.

Nicosia cats

Nicosia – how to get

Nicosia how to get

The capital of Cyprus – prices

  • We will probably not surprise you if we write that you can walk around the city for free.
  • When it comes to prices in restaurants and cafes, they are very similar to those in the larger resorts of Cyprus (such as Paphos or Ayia Napa). So no tragedy.

Nicosia prices

Nicosia – tips

  • Another name for Nicosia is Lefkosia. So if you are driving and you don’t see the signs for Nicosia, then feel free to head to Lefkosia. Full success guaranteed.
  • Be sure to bring an ID with you. If not, you will stay on the side of Cyprus where you came.
  • Do not take photos and do not make videos at the border crossing or several meters behind it. There is a good chance that the uniformed gentlemen will quickly become interested in you.
  • Do not ask the inhabitants of the Greek side about attractions on the Turkish side. Or the other way around. Both act as if the other part of Nicosia did not exist or they never were there. We had the impression that they don’t like each other a bit and don’t go out for a cup of coffee together (although it might be a deceptive impression).
  • Anti-tip. It is a city to visit in one day. Up to two. It is nice to see all that we described above, but it is not the most attractive tourist destination. If you haven’t checked it on the map: it is in the middle of the country and has no access to the sea.

Nicosia marketNicosia city

The capital of Cyprus – worth it?

  • Patrix – 6/10. The border crossing inside the city is a very strange. Two different worlds in one city are interesting. Nicosia has its own atmosphere. However, it is not a very touristic city, as capitals usually are. You won’t find many ultra-interesting attractions here.
  • Wiolczix – 8/10. Nowhere in the world have I seen anything as unique as the above-mentioned border crossing. The whole city is very Balkan, with a clear “cultural” division into Turkish and Greek-Cypriot parts. Interesting phenomenon. Besides, it’s an ‘usual city’ with a charming promenade and nice pubs for dinner/a cup of coffee/a drink.

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