Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest, and the third most populated island in the Mediterranean. It measures 240 kilometers long from end to end and 100 kilometers wide at its widest point, with Turkey 75 kilometers to the north.
Sun-soaked stretches of sand are Cyprus' distinguishing characteristic. There's a beach for everyone, from wild, windswept and isolated to busy or family-friendly.
While strolling the cities you can spot the preserved architectural legacy of the Lusignan, Venetian and Ottoman periods. Trace back to the past and you'll unearth the entire history of the Mediterranean.
Geopolitically, the island is subdivided into four main segments. The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern two-thirds of the island (59.74%). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus occupies the northern third (34.85%), and the United Nations-controlled Green Line provides a buffer zone that separates the two and covers 2.67% of the island. Lastly, two bases under British sovereignty are located on the island: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, covering the remaining 2.74%.
Nicosia is the largest city on the island of Cyprus and what is more is the capital and seat of government of Cyprus.
The capital of the Republic of Cyprus is also its cultural heartbeat. It may be overlooked by most visitors, but on a day-trip to the seaside resorts, Nicosia (or Lefkosia, as it's officially known) is a fascinating mix of vibrant street life, confronting division and rich history.
The historical Centre of today’s Nicosia is located within the large medieval walls which were built by the Venetians. These walls are a landmark of the town, with its gates being used in order to house important building in the town such as the Town Hall. The north part of the town is still under the Turkish occupation, making Nicosia the only divided capital in the world, by a green line which separates the Greek-Cypriots from the Turkish-Cypriots. Green line, took its name by the green colored line which was drawn on a map of Cyprus in 1963 in order to show the borders of the Green and Turkish areas.
The Venetian Walls are a series of defensive walls which surround the capital city of Nicosia in Cyprus. The first city walls were built in the Middle Ages, but they were completely rebuilt in the mid-16th century by the Republic of Venice. The walls are still largely intact, and are among the best preserved Renaissance fortifications in the Eastern Mediterranean. They are a major tourist attraction. The city of Nicosia, along with Valletta in Malta, was considered to be a practical example of an ideal city of the Renaissance, and this was due to its fortifications as well as the urban life within the city.
Makarios Cultural Foundation: The Byzantine Museum. For anyone interested in Cypriot religious artwork, the Byzantine Museum contained within the Makarios Cultural Foundation is an important stop in the city. Here, you'll find a staggering collection (220 pieces) of Christian icons that range in age from the beginning of the Byzantine era up until the 19th century. For many people that have a special interest in this artwork though, the highlight of the museum is the Kanakaria Mosaics on display.
Just wandering around Nicosia's old town is a pleasure. Ledra Street is the main drag through the old town and is lined with a variety of cafés, restaurants, and shops. Ledra Street is also one of the most popular crossing points into the city’s Turkish-controlled side. Crossing the Green Line was once very difficult, but for EU passport holders it’s now a simple case of just showing your passport at the gate.
Cyprus is a place which has a large variety of blue flag awarded beaches, while Cyprus’ beaches continuously rank highly when measured against other seaside spots in Europe. You can find everything here, from dark or light sands and private havens, to populated strips, motionless waters and wild, untamed seafronts
Nissi beach is probably the most popular beach in the whole of Cyprus. It consists of 2 connecting beaches one large one (very busy) and a smaller one (more secluded). Nissi beach is famed for its beautiful golden sand and clean crystal clear waters.
Makronissos Beach which has a water park nearby, is a long golden sand coastline flanked by two bays- an ideal atmosphere for relaxation.
Ayia Thekla is great beach, nice and quiet clean and suitable for people of all ages, named after the old small church which is there.
There are also Other Activities to do in Nicosia
The Green Haven of Nicosia (Athalassa National Forest Park) is the biggest green area in the capital and locals love to go there for a walk to cycle or simply to relax and appreciate all the wildlife that finds refuge there, there are also picnic facilities.
The Cyprus Museum of Nicosia is often regarded as the island’s number one museum because it houses an especially rare and extensive collection of Cypriot antiquities. The Cyprus Museum was founded in 1888 as a way to preserve the artifacts archaeologists were finding while excavating around the island.
Eleftherias Square, or “Freedom Square,” is not really a square at all, but instead a four-lane one-way street. Overlooking this nontraditional plateia, perched on one of the Venetian bastions, is Nicosia’s Town Hall. Eleftherias Square has always been the center of Nicosia’s activities including political rallies, public celebrations, demonstrations and the everyday hustle and bustle of the city’s residents.
Located in the Valley of Machairas Mountains, Machairas Monastery takes its name from an iconic painting of the Virgin Mary by Luke the Apostle, which legend has it was smuggled here from Asia Minor to Cyprus by a hermit. The monastery is a central church enclosed by a rectangular courtyard with cloisters all around. These stunning buildings in front of a landscape of dark pinewood hills is one of the most beautiful scenes in Cyprus. Today, the renovated vestry basement houses a collection of old books and manuscripts, icons and other religious artefacts.
Nicosia Telephone Area Code +357
Police/ Fire/ Ambulance 112 / 199
Police Station 22 802 020
Nicosia General Hospital 22 801 400
Pharmacies out of hours 90 901 412
Larnaca Airport 24 643 000
Paphos Airport 26 422 833
Municipality 22 797 000
Port Authority 22 817 200
Bus 22 468 088
Taxi 99 009 797