Nicosia 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 Age.
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 'Pentadaktylos" - the five finger mountain. 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.
Narrow streets and old houses with ornate balconies jut from weather beaten sandstone walls, smell of jasmine flowers in those long summer evenings, and craftsmen in small workshops practice trades unchanged for centuries. 'Laiki Yitonia' - Folk Neighborhood - is a pedestrian section, which has been carefully renovated to evoke the atmosphere of past days.
The two main streets of old Nicosia, Ledra and Onasagorou, are lined with shops of every type, and both streets are pedestrianised.
The heart of the city is Eleftheria square, 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, built with the remains of an old castle and a convent. Here lay the remains of 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 and is in fact an imitation of typical Venetian style, built in 1956. Next to the palace is the late gothic St John Cathedral cathedral (1665) with picturesque frescos