Nicosia - the divided capital

8/16/2015

Nicosia is the capital and seat of government of the Republic of Cyprus, and as such is the farthest southeast of all EU member states' capitals. It has been continuously inhabited for over 4,500 years and has been the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. Nicosia was divided into the southern Greek Cypriot and the northern Turkish Cypriot parts in 1963, following the intercommunal violence that broke out in the city. Today, the northern part of the city is the capital of Northern Cyprus, a de facto state that is considered to be occupied Cypriot territory by the international community.
-Wikipedia

From my point of view - Nicosia is okay. It was interesting, but it wasn't the city for me. Tourism has a really strong hold there and it has its pros and cons. In the other hand, people do speak English, it's easy to move around and there's quite a few things to do. But then again, it's not something that I enjoy too much. I prefer getting to know the culture of the place, not what it has to offer for the tourists. 
As a divided capital, Nicosia has two different sides separated by a "fence" (that might be only sand sacks or so + a few a bit more official looking border crossings). And you can see the difference between Turkish and free Cypriot sides - the street view is different. And in this post I am talking about the EU-side, Republic of Cyprus. 
We spent one day in Nicosia, ate there, visited European Union House, one museum and one art gallery called Leventis Gallery. The Cyprus Museum, which is an archaeological museum, was nice even though we had too short time there (one of the cons of travelling in a group). However, I recommend you to take a look at the museums of Nicosia - the history of Cyprus is somewhat similar to Greek one and for example the archaeological side of it is really fascinating.  
After the visits and the lunch we had a few hours to spend however we wanted. I wasn't so keen on shopping, so we ended up wandering around with a few other people. The atmosphere in Nicosia is quite nice and the streets excluding a few main shopping streets are pretty tourist free. And still it didn't feel like we were in wrong place. Ice cream was delicious and if nothing else the weather was hot. And by hot I really mean it. Nicosia is in the middle of the island and not in the mountains. So the air is not moving and the sun is shining all the time - you will really need liters of water, sun screen, sunglasses and suitable clothing; covering enough without being too heavy. 
And I have to mention again how friendly people in Cyprus are, it's awesome how polite and kind the service you get is. I ended up buying some post cards, as well as a magnet as souvenir. And I had two nice conversations and got one of my postcards for free. And to be honest, people were the best thing in Nicosia. The city was okay, but it's not the most beautiful or fascinating or interesting place I've been. There certainly is things to see, but it's not a best place for a longer visit on its own. But for a one-day-trip it was a good destination! 

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