Nicosia (Lefkosia) is the capital city of Cyprus, and some would say its very heart and soul. If you have limited time to see Cyprus, then Nicosia should be at the top of your list. Steeped in historic and archeoligical sites, the old city is surrounded by a complete circular wall built by the Venetians between 1567 and 1570, the periphery of which is about 3 miles. The wall has three gates (Paphos Gate, Famagusta Gate and Kyrenia Gate (in Turkish occupied area), as well as eleven heartshaped symmetric bastions. The Famagusta Gate with its two halls and passageway, has become Nicosia's Cultural Center and well worth visiting. The Paphos Gate is a controlled entrance point to the buffer zone, manned by the United Nations.
The narrow streets of the old city make it a unique and fascinating place to look around. Other places are well worth visiting are;
(CCMD) The Cyprus Community Media Centre in the grounds of the Ledra Palace (buffer zone), this is a new centre, open on 9th December 2009, which is supported by United Nations Development Programme - Action for Cooperation and Trust (UNDP - ACT). The centre will be equipped with training materials, audiovisual equipment and resources to build dimensions with regard to communications and media. The hopes of the CCMC are to increase the ability of civil society organisations to speak for themselves, to enhance their public communications and encourage dialogue about reconciliation.
The Cyprus Handicraft Center on Athalassa Avenue, where you can watch traditional art skills and handicraft being made, as well as buy traditional Cypriot products.
The Municipal Arts Center on Apostolou Varnava Street, which was the Old Electricity Generating Plant, and is now a center for contemporary art.
The Leventis Municipal Museum on Hyppocratous Street in Laiki Yitonia, next to Eleftheria Square, which houses exhibits dating from before 2000 BC up to the present day.
The Cyprus Museum on Museum Street, said to be the richest and best archaeological museum in Cyprus, showing treasures of art from the Neolithic Period (5800 BC) to the early Byzantine Period (330-1192AD), including Cypriot pottery, terracotta, clay and stone sculptures, bronze and jewellery.
The Byzantine Art Museum is housed within The Archbichopric (The Archbishop's palace), and displays the largest collection of Cyprus icons, with 220 pieces that cover the periods from the 5th to the 19th century.
Cyprus Jewellers Museum on Praxippou Street, Laiki Yitonia, where traditional jewellery from the end of the 19th century are on display.
The Cyprus Postal Museum on Agiou Savva street, where you will find a stamp collection that is internationally acknowledged for having some of the best and most significant stamps in the world, as well as a rare collection of pre-war designed post boxes, an automatic stamping machine, pre-war scales, and medals.
The Museum of The History Of Cyprus Coinage, which is on the on the ground floor of the Bank of Cyprus Headquarters, where you will find a beautiful display of chronologically arranged coins from the 6th century B.C. to the present day.
Ledra Museum Observatory, housed on the 11th floor of the Shakolas building on Ledra Street, where you can take in 360 degree panoramic views of the whole of Nicosia town.
The Municipal Gardens are a very green and scenic place to relax and unwind.
Of course no visit to Nicosia would be complete without a shopping trip, and there is plenty on offer both in the Old City, as well as the new town along Arch Makarios Avenue.
The places listed above are just a very few of the many interesting things to see in Nicosia. Stop off at a Cyprus Tourist Information Center for much more information.