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WHY TO VISIT NICOSIA
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, whose name derives from the French etymology “Nicosie”, so-called under the reign of the Lusignan family. It is the most populous city in Cyprus and the center of the Cypriot economy.
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It is the last capital in the world to still be divided: a military fence separates the two areas of the legitimate Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, still recognized only by Turkey.
Geographically speaking, Nicosia does not rise on the coast but in a relatively central location of the island, along the Mesaoria plain.
Historically Nicosia was founded by the Greeks from the region of the Peloponnese peninsula and the city was home to the Lusignan family since 1192. In the fifteenth century it became part of the Republic of Venice and later was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1571, and even today they claim their part of land. Despite the different dominations, Nicosia is rich in Greek archaeological remains dating back to the Archaic period, in addition to the strong presence of buildings with a Gothic architectural style dating back to the period of the Lusignan kingdom and the era of the Crusades.
Cypriot cuisine is famous for fish, including polyps, mollusks, and bass that are usually served with side dishes such as fresh vegetables, especially small tomatoes, and cucumbers; Cyprus table does not lack of the lamb and grilled turkey, very consumed among the inhabitants of the island.
Cypriot cuisine is typically Mediterranean even though over the years it has undergone the influence of foreign dominations, especially Turkish and English. Few people know that Cypriots drink a lot of Greek/Turkish coffee, strong and short. In addition to this, the cuisine of Cyprus is also famous for others, several typical dishes, such as, for example, the halloumi, a goat’s, and sheep’s cheese that is soaked in mint and brine. It is used in the preparation of different dishes, from eggs to soups and salads. It has a very strong flavor. Then there is the meze, in fact, it is a name that indicates various delicacies served as an appetizer, including large olives, salsa tzatziki, hummus, fresh bread with grilled or marinated vegetables, meat tasting, dessert fruit and much more. Tasty dishes, appreciated by tourists, are the stifado, a stew of beef or rabbit prepared with vinegar, wine, onions and spices, the loukanika, smoked sausages seasoned with coriander and red wine, and finally, the melintzanes yiahni a dough of zucchini, garlic, and fresh tomatoes. Between the many annual events held in Nicosia, the most beautiful and interesting are the events related to Easter Monday, and which recall the interest on Greek Orthodox cults. On March 25, instead, it is celebrated the Greek National Day with folk songs and dances.
WHAT TO SEE IN NICOSIA
Top attractions not to be missed are:
- Machairas Monastery
- Sacred Temple Of Virgin Mary Faneromenis
- Buyuk Han
- Panagia Asinou Church
- Selimiye Mosque
- Liberty Monument
- St John’s Cathedral
- Venetian walls of Nicosia
- Famagusta Gate
- Hamam Omerye
- Church of St. Cyprian and St. Ustinov
- Church of Archangel Michael Trypiotis
- Kyrenia Gate
- Bedestan Church and Mosque
- The Arabahmet Mosque
- The British Colonial Law Courts
- Tomb of Makarios III
- Archbishop’s Palace
- The Samanbahce Quater
- Panagia Phaneromeni Church
Following instead some hidden spots of the city that only locals know!
- Shacolas Observatory
WHEN TO GO TO NICOSIA
Best period to visit Nicosia is from April to October.
HOW TO REACH AND MOVE IN NICOSIA
The nearest airport is the Ercan International Airport
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WHAT TO DO IN NICOSIA
typical dishes of Nicosia are:
- Afelia, a stew of pork marinated in wine and ground coriander seed (South);
- Kleftiko ofto, lamb on the bone, slowly roasted with herbs in a sealed clay oven (South);
- Halloumi, Cyprus cheese, kneaded by hand and then grilled (South);
- Dolmades, preserved vine leaves stuffed with meat and rice (South);
- Stifado, a casserole of beef cooked with wine, vinegar, onion and spices (South);
- Souvlaki, pork kebab of Greek Cyprus (South);
- Seftalia, seasoned pork rissoles, grilled in a skin of caul fat (South);
- Soutzioukos, strings of almonds coated with boiled grape juice that has been thickened with a little flour and flavored with rosewater, cinnamon, and mastic (South);
- Pastelaki, crispy sweets made of carob honey, often mixed with peanuts and almonds with a topping of sesame seeds (South);
- Commandaria, amber-colored sweet dessert wine;
- Imam bayildi, aubergines stuffed with tomato and onions (North);
- Adana kebabs, minced lamb with herbs and red pepper, grilled on metal skewers (North);
- Tava, a baked stew of lamb, cumin, onions and potatoes (North);
typical souvenirs of Nicosia are:
- Olive oil, wines, cheese (Halloumi), coffee, herbs;
- Leather products;
- Lefkara and Omodhos hand-made laceworks;
- hard-wearing woolen rugs in geometric patterns and stripes or brightly striped traditional ‘rag rugs’ made from cotton;
- traditional instruments: tampoutsia and shepherd’s flute;
- hand-crafted red baskets;
- jewelry and silverware;
The main theatre of Nicosia is The Cyprus National Theatre.
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