Nicosia, known locally as
Lefkosia ( , ), is the capital and largest city of Cyprus.
the River Pedieos and situated
almost in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government as
well as the main business centre. Nicosia is the capital
of the Nicosia
Following the intercommunal violence
1960s, the capital was divided between the island's Greek Cypriot
and Turkish Cypriot
communities in the south and
north respectively. An attempted coup to unite the island with
Greece in 1974 led to a Turkish invasion, leaving the
capital divided since then, with Turkish Cypriots claiming the
north as the capital of their own state, Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (recognised only by Turkey).
On 3 April
2008, as part of efforts to reunify the island, a symbolic wall
dividing the two communities at Ledra Street was opened.
Nicosia retains the distinction
of being the world's last divided capital.
South of the Green Line
population of the city is 270,000 (late 2004), while a further
84,893 live in the north. Nicosia is important commercially with
many shops, two modern shopping malls, restaurants and
entertainment. The city is a trade centre and manufactures textiles
, plastic, and other products. Copper
mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the
University of Cyprus
four other universities.
Nicosia was a city-state
in ancient times.
The king of Ledra, Onasagoras
recorded as paying tribute to Esarhaddon
in 672 BC. Rebuilt by Lefkos, son
of Ptolemy I
around 300 BC, Ledra in
Hellenic and Roman times was a small, unimportant town, also known
. By the time it received its first
Christian bishop, Trifillios
, in 348, the
town was called Lefkousia
Still known as Lefkosia, the city became the island's capital
around the 10th century. It had grown in importance because of threats
to the coastal cities Paphos and Salamis, which made many people flee to the centrally
of the Lusignan kings of Cyprus since 1192, it became a
Venetian possession in 1489, and fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1571.
Ledra is now
the actual name of the most popular commercial street.
"Nicosia" appeared with the
arrival of the Lusignans. The "Frankish" Crusaders either could
not, or did not care to, pronounce the name Lefkosia
tended to say "Nicosia". In this era of the Franks, the city
expanded culturally, and in the 15th and 16th centuries, saw the
erection of a number of palaces, mansions, churches and
Some 20,000 residents died as a result of the Ottoman siege of
1570. Man-made and natural disasters further struck the city during
the 19th century. The Turks crushed the 1821 anti-Ottoman revolt in
Cholera hit the city in 1835, and fire destroyed large parts of
Nicosia in 1857. The British Empire
gained control over the island in 1878, with Nicosia serving as the
capital of the new British possession.
Nicosia was the scene of extreme violence in the period just prior
to Cypriot independence in 1960. Since the Greek supported coup and
Turkish invasion which followed it in 1974, part of the city's
northern sector has been inside the boundary of a United Nations Buffer
The tombs of the Lusignan
kings are in the
former Cathedral of St. Sophia
, now a
mosque in the northern sector.
The core of the city also has well-preserved Venetian
fortifications, built in the 16th century, which encircle the old,
medieval part of the city.
As the capital of the republic, Nicosia is Cyprus's political,
economic and cultural centre. Greater Nicosia is subdivided into
seven municipalities, but the metropolitan authority is the
Municipality of Nicosia itself – within whose boundaries the
Constitution states that the main government buildings and
headquarters must be situated. The other municipalities in the city are
Strovolos, Lakatamia, Latsia, Aglandjia, Engomi and Agios
According to the constitution of Cyprus
Nicosia Municipality was divided into a Greek and Turkish sector
with two Mayors: a representative of the Greek
community which was the majority, and a
second one representing the Turkish
community. The Mayors and the members of the Council were appointed
by the President of the
. Since 1986, the Mayors and members of the Council are
elected. The Mayor and the Municipal Councillors are elected by
direct popular suffrage but into separate ballots – one for the
Mayor and the other for all the Councillors. Municipal elections
are held every five years.
Aerial View of Central Nicosia
The Municipality of Nicosia is now headed by the Mayor, who is
(former lagilator of the
communist party AKEL
, supported by her own political party, socialist
and the Democratic
and the council comprising of 26 councilors, one of who
is Deputy Mayor. The Northern Sector has its own de facto
municipality, but that municipality
is not internationally recognised because it is part of the
Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The Mayor and the Councillors exercise all the powers vested in
them by the Municipal Corporation Law. Sub-committees consisting of
members of the Municipal Council act only on an advisory level and
according to the procedures and regulations issued by the
The Mayor is the executive authority of the Municipality,
exercising overall control and managing the Municipal Council. The
Council is responsible for appointing personnel employed by the
Municipality. All municipalities in the Republic of Cyprus are
members of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities. The executive
Committee is the governing organ of the Union. This Committee is
appointed from among the representatives of the Municipalities for
a term of two and a half years. The Mayor of Nicosia is the
President of the Union and the Chairman of the Executive
Nicosia seen from Spot Satellite
Municipal Theatre, Nicosia
View of Central Nicosia
Although the city has been destroyed more than once by conquerors,
there are still enough leftovers to enjoy the past. History is most
strikingly experienced at the Venetian city wall, which was constructed between 1567 and
The 4,5 metres thick wall used to have three gates.
Famagusta gate is now used as a cultural centre.
other parts of the wall contain administrative offices. The
historical centre is clearly present inside the walls, but the
modern city has grown beyond.
The heart of the city is Eleftheria (Freedom) Square, with the city
hall, the post office and the library. Adjacent Ledra street leads
to the most lively part of the old city with narrow streets,
boutiques, and cafés. Agia Fanomereni is a church built in 1872,
constructed with the remains of an old castle and a convent. Here
rest the Archbishop and the other Bishops who were killed by the
Turks during the 1821 revolt. The Palace of the Archbishop can be
found at Arkhiepiskopos Kyprianos Square. Although it seems very
old, it's a wonderful imitation of typical Venetian style, built in
1956. Next to the palace is the late Gothic Saint John
cathedral (1665) with
Nicosia is also known for its fine museums. The Archbishop's Palace
contains a Byzantine
museum where you can
admire the largest collection of religious icons on the island.
Leventis Municipal Museum is the only historical museum of Nicosia
and revives the old ways of life in the capital from ancient times
up to our days. Other interesting museums include the Folk Art
Museum, National Struggle Museum (witnessing the rebellion against the British administration
1950s), Cyprus Ethnological Museum(House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis
Kornesios) and the Handicrafts Centre.
Nicosia also there are mosques, like the
This ancient church is the chief mosque in
the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia, and the great festivals of
and other Moslem
gatherings are conducted here. It was formerly the cathedral of St.
Sophia which was built in the period 1209 A.D. to 1228, over the
ruins of a previous building.Other famous mosques are Haydarpasha Mosque
, and Arabahmet Mosque
Mayors of Nicosia
Leoforos (Avenue) Makariou in the city
Beginning of Lemesos Avenue,
In 2006 the Manifesta
scheduled to be held in Nicosia for a duration of three months. The
project was canceled, however, with the overseas and local
organizers blaming each other for its collapse.
also hosted the competition of Miss
Universe 2000 in Eleftheria Indoor Hall.
The city contains Arabahmet
has its head office in
the southern side of the city.
Cyprus Turkish Airlines
its head office on the North Cyprus side.
is the most popular sport
in Cyprus, and Nicosia is home of three major teams of the island;
. APOEL and Omonia dominate Cypriot football
. APOEL has the record on
number of championships and cups
was also successful in
the past. There are also many other football clubs in Nicosia and
Nicosia is also the home for many clubs for basketball, handball
and other sports. APOEL and Omonia
sections and Keravnos
is one of the major basketball teams of
the island. The Gymnastic Club Pancypria (GSP), the
owner of the Neo GSP
Stadium, is one of the major athletics club of the
Also, all teams in the Futsal
First Division are from Nicosia.
has some of the biggest venues in the island; The Neo GSP
Stadium, the biggest in Cyprus, with capacity of 23,400 is
the home for the national
team, APOEL, Olympiakos and Omonia. The other big football stadium in Nicosia is
Stadium with capacity of 16,000.The Eleftheria
Indoor Hall is the biggest basketball stadium in Cyprus, with
capacity of 6,500 seats and is the home for
the national team
.The Lefkotheo indoor arena is the volleyball stadium for APOEL and
Nicosia hosted the 2000 ISSF
World Cup Final
shooting events for the shotgun. Also the city hosted
two basketball events; the European Saporta Cup in 1997 and the
2005 FIBA Europe All
Star Game in the Eleftheria Indoor Hall.
Another event which was hosted in Nicosia
were the Games of
the Small States of Europe
in 1989 and 2009.
International Airport has not been used since 1974 as it lies within the
Buffer Zone separating the two parts of Nicosia.
nearest airport on the Greek administered side is Larnaca
International Airport on the southern coast.
with other major urban areas in Cyprus. The A1 connects it with Limassol in the south with the A6 going from Limassol onto Paphos.The A2
links Nicosia with the south eastern city of Larnaca with the A3
going from Larnaca to Ayia
Napa. The A9
is currently under construction and would connect Nicosia to the
There are many taxi companies in Nicosia. Besides the taxi
companies, there is a taxi rank at the Eleftheria square
(City Center), where you
can find taxis twenty-four hours a day. Taxi fares are regulated by
law and taxi drivers are obliged to use a taximeter
Public transport within the city is limited to a bus network
operated by the subsidised Nicosia Bus Company. Currently plans are
underway to expand and modernise this with a European Union grant.
There is no train or metro
Between 1905 and 1951, Nicosia was a prominent station of the
- Schwerin, Germany (1974)
- Bucharest, Romania (2004)
- Shanghai, China
- Barcelona, Spain
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2004)
- Tassos Papadopoulos,
ex-president of the Republic of Cyprus (2003-2008).
- Glafkos Klerides, president of
the Republic of Cyprus (1993-2003).
- George Vasiliou, president of
the Republic of Cyprus (1988-1993).
- Ioannis Kasoulides, Member of the European
Mehmed Kamil Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
- Fazıl Küçük
former vice president of the Republic of Cyprus (1960-1963).
- Benon Sevan, ex-head of UN Oil for Food program.
- Nicolas Economou,
- Alkinoos Ioannidis,
- Michalis Hatzigiannis,
- Stavros Konstantinou,
singer, winner of Greek Super Idol.
- Okan Ersan, guitarist.
- Hüseyin Cakmak, cartoonist,
- Alparslan Türkeş, a
Turkish nationalist politician, who served as a Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
- Giannos Kranidiotis, a Greek
diplomat and politician
File:monastiri_nicosia.jpg|The interior of Kykkos Monastery Kykkos Monastery
(Metochion Kykkou), NicosiaFile:monastiri_kipoi.jpg|The gardens of
Kykkos Monastery (Metochion Kykkou),
NicosiaFile:municipal_theatre.jpg|Municipal Theatre during
Bank of Greece Building,
Architecture, NicosiaFile:traditional_door_nicosia.jpg|Detail of a
Traditional Door, NicosiaFile:eklisia_palia_poli.jpg|Church in the
Old CityFile:Nicosia Ledra street border.jpg|Quiet
moment at the Ledra
Street crossing.File:al_fresco_laiki.jpg|Dining al
fresco in the so-called Folkloric Area of Nicosia (Laiki
Yeitonia)File:Famagusta Gate.jpg|Famagusta Gate (Pyli
- Echoes Across the Divide (2008) is a documentary film
about an attempt to bridge the Green
Line with a bicommunal music project performed from the
rooftops of Old Nicosia