Monday, July 20, 2009

Lefkosia (Nicosia) Cyprus

The capital city with the last dividing wall in Europe

Cyprus is a small European country with a long history and a rich culture. For the last thirty five years, since the Turkish invasion of 1974, Nicosia, has been a divided capital.

It is an unfortunate reality that a large part of the island’s cultural heritage has since July 1974 been under Turkish occupation and has been subjected to severe damage.

Lefkosia (Nicosia) the Latin equivalent of the Greek name Lefkosia, is the capital of Cyprus, a status it has enjoyed for 1000 years since the 10th century, though its beginnings date back 5000 years to the Bronze centre.

It lies roughly in the centre of the island in the Mesaoria Plain, flanked by the beautiful northern range of Kyrenia mountains with its distinctive 'Toy' the five finger interest. There are various suggestions as to the origin of the name Nicosia - or 'Lefkosia' in Greek - but the most likely one is linked to the popular tree, the tall 'Lefki ' which once adorned the city.

Built as a fortress, the only town on the island located inland, it has weathered a long list of conquerors, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians, Romans, Arabs, the Frankish Lusignan dynasty, Venetians and Ottoman Turks all held sway over Cyprus before British colonial rule in the 19th century. All, and to varying degrees, have left their mark on the city.

The most significant influences on modern Nicosia date from the 15th ad 16th centuries. Under the Lusignans, the capital saw the construction of a number of palaces, mansions, churches and monasteries.

Faced with the threat of Ottoman Turk invasion, the Venetians military planners decided to create a defensive line around the city. Impressive as Nicosia's defenses were, however, they were unable to keep out the Ottomans. Nicosia fell in 1570 and a period of Ottoman rule followed lasting until the arrival of the British in 1878.

A beautiful Byzantine churche.

The Town Hall is located on the bastion of the Venetian walls.

The Tawn Hall building.

It is situated roughly in the middle of the island and is the seat of the government as well as being the main business centre.

Nicosia the 1000-year-old capital of Cyprus.

Charming old artitecture within the old city centre.

Beuatiful buildings in the old part of the city. A small but with great historical significance, neighborhood which finds its origin in the depths of centuries.

Since the independence in 1960 Nicosia has grown into a bustling cosmopolitan European city.

Restored pedestrian area within the walled city. Laiki Yitonia (Folk Neighbourhood).

A rich mix of traditional and modern aspects of life.

Most of the shopping area in the old part of Nicosia is now pedestrianised.

Nicosia is characterized by rather mild winers and hot summers with cool evenings after 6 p.m.

Λευκωσία η μοναδική μοιρασμένη πρωτεύουσα στον κόσμο

Βρίσκεται σχεδόν στο κέντρο της Kύπρου. Εντυπωσιακή με το πλούσιο ιστορικό παρελθόν και την πολιτιστική της παράδοση αιώνων. Από τον Ιούλιο του 1974 που εισέβαλε η Τουρκία στην Κύπρο, παραμένει μοιρασμένη και αναμένει τη λύτρωση.

Οι αρχές της ανάγονται στην εποχή του χαλκού.

Στην αρχαιότητα και στους πρώτους χριστιανικούς αιώνες ήταν γνωστή με το όνομα Λήδρα.
Πόπη και Τάντα μπροστά στο όμορφο Αρχιεπισκοπικό Μέγαρο.
Στέλλα και Ιφιγένεια μπροστά στο ιστορικό Παγκύπριο Γυμνάσιο Λευκωσίας.

Τάντα και Ανέστης μπροστά στο Παγκύπριο Γυμνάσιο. Είναι το αρχαιότερο Γυμνάσιο της Κύπρου και ιδρύθηκε το 1812.

Oι Λουζινιανοί μετέτρεψαν τη Λευκωσία σε μια μεγαλοπρεπή πόλη με βασιλικά ανάκτορα και 50 τόσες εκκλησίες.

Το πρώην Παρθεναγωγείο Φανερωμένης ιδρύθηκε στα 1859 ως σχολείο θηλέων (αριστερά) και η ιστορική Πύλη Αμμοχώστου (δεξιά). Η Πύλη Αμμοχώστου αποτελεί μέρος των ενετικών τειχών, του πιο σημαντικού ίσως μνημείου της Λευκωσίας. Η ανατολική πύλη (Πόρτα Τζουλιάνα), γνωστή στα νεώτερα χρόνια σαν Πύλη Αμμοχώστου, έχει αναστηλωθεί και λειτουργεί σαν Πολιτιστικό Κέντρο του Δήμου Λευκωσίας.

Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο της Κύπρου όπου σκιαγραφείται η μακρά ιστορία του πολιτισμού του νησιού από τους Προϊστορικούς χρόνους έως την πρώιμη Χριστιανική περίοδο.

Το Δημοτικό Μέγαρο κτισμένο πάνω στα Ενετικά Τείχη.

Η είσοδος του Δημοτικού Μεγάρου με την ιδιαίτερα όμορφη κλασσική αρχιτεκτονική.

Η πλατεία Ελευθερίας σύντομα θα αναπλαθεί και θα γίνει αγνώριστη...

Πανέμορφη αρχιτεκτονική στην περιοχή της παλιάς πόλης.

Η πολύβουη μέρα και νύχτα "Λαϊκή Γειτονιά" γεμάτη μαγαζιά, κέντρα και ταβέρνες.

H Λευκωσία του σήμερα συνδυάζει το ιστορικό παρελθόν με τη ζωηρή κίνηση μιας σύγχρονης πόλης.

Έξω από τα τείχη η νέα πόλη με τις σύγχρονες ανέσεις ζει σε κοσμοπολίτικους ρυθμούς.

Από αριστερά Ιφιγένεια, Ανέστης, Τάντα, Φοίβος και Πόπη.


Rajesh said...

Truly marvelous architecture. I fail to understand why two neighbors can leave in harmony, without trespassing into others areas. This destruction of property by Turkish should be stopped. I hope the UN or concerned people will act on this at the earliest.

magiceye said...

thank you for the wondrous tour of nicosia!

Mitr - Friend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitr - Friend said...

Exquisite place... Great pics... Great description... As I had said earlier, I'd love to visit Cyprus some day...
And ya, I had noticed long back that u've been following my blog... Thanks a lot for that... And hope you too have noticed that I too follow your blog... :)

Joops said...

is this the place where you live?

marveling said...

Very beautiful place... My eyes are filled everytime i visit your blog Mr. Philip!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

@ Rajesh. Thank you Rajesh. I do hope that sooner or later the Turkish troops will pull out of Cyprus and the people will live in peace.

@ magiceye. I thank you for the visit!

@ Mitr - Friend. Thank you for your kind comments!

@ Joops. This is the place where I was born and I live with my family.

@ marveling. Thank you for your generous comment! Kind regards, Philip

Λεμέσια said...

Πολύ όμορφες οι ξεναγήσεις στις πόλεις της Κύπρου...
(Φοίβο, καλώς ήρθες από το ταξίδι. Ετοιμαζόμαστε για Τυνησία σε λίγες μέρες. Εσείς πώς περάσατε;)

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Hi Phillip
A beautiful post on Nicosia.The photographs are outstanding as usual.I had my headphone on while reading this. The music is simply outstanding - loved it. Is it some kind of folk music ?
Are you able to travel freely into the Turkish occupied area? I am sure deliverance will come one day and soon.
Have a great day!
Regards Ram

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Λεμέσια. Περάσαμε πολύ όμορφα με την ωραία παρέα μας. Ελπίζω αύριο να γράψω κάτι για την Τυνησία, την οποία επισκεφθήκαμε!!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

R.Ramakrishnan. Hi Ram, NAMASTE! Thank you, Dhanyavad, very much for your generous comments. The music is not a folk music, but rather a modern music.
I come from the North part of the city which is controlled by the Turkish army since July 1974. So, when I want to visit my house(!) in which there are settlers from Turkey living there (!!!) I have to ask for a permission!!! Yes, I need a permission to go to my house which is captured by others...
It is a very sad story Ram...

Janie said...

The architecture is amazing, especially the Byzantine church and the older buildings.
What a shame that some of the historic buildings are falling into disrepair under this Turkish rule.

BeTina said...

Hi, Phivos!
Thank you for this lovely virtual tour.
Beautiful photos!
Greetings from the southern winter.

Cariños; BeT

Phivos Nicolaides said...

@ Janie. It is tragic that a large part of the island’s cultural heritage has since July 1974 been under Turkish occupation and has been subjected to severe damage. Wish you to visit this part of the world one day which is full of history, culture and beauty! Kind regards, Philip

@ BeTina. Hola Betina! You have been missed! I wish you a happy winter. You may though visit Europe nowadays we have the lovely summer time! Kind regards and kisses from Cyprus.
Que se han perdido! Le deseo un feliz invierno. Usted puede visitar Europa, aunque hoy en día tenemos el horario de verano encantador! Cordiales saludos y besos de Chipre. Felipe

Mediterranean kiwi said...

let's hope that, maybe one day, there will be no more divided cities in europe

kangerlussuaq said...

Lived in Nicosia for four years. A truly enchanting mix of Middle Eastern and West European elements. Every time I go there, I always go to Ömeriye Hamam and never miss a lunch at Zannettos' tavern well known for it's excuisite cypriot cuisine. I always enjoy a stroll inside the walled city and accross the walls, wherever possible (i.e. till where the road ends abruptly).

I also visited the newly restored Arabahmet neighbourhood in occupied Nicosia. Truly spectacular with friendly people and cheerful children still playing in the streets. The Büyük Han (Great Inn) is another great place to be in occupied Nicosia. Sadly, most other historical monuments are neglected.

Hint: for all those who haven't been there, just take a look of walled Nicosia at Google Earth and check it's shape. Amazing, isn't it?

Phivos Nicolaides said...

@ Mediterranean kiwi. Lets hope and pray for that Maria!

@ kangerlussuaq. It looks you know better than me the region of Nicosia! I wish you to come again in a free Cyprus without the Turkish occupied military forces...