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Home > The City
The City

70 centuries of culture

As one of Europe’s most ancient cities, Nicosia has been the capital of Cyprus for the past 1,000 years. The city however, dates back to the Bronze Age when it was a renown cultural and commercial centre.

The name Lefkosia most likely derived from “lefka” (λεύκα - poplar), a possible reference to the trees that once lined the city. In ancient times, it was known by the name “Ledra” (Λήδρα).

The city flourished, as did the entire island, during the Byzantine Empire era, from the 4th until the beginning of the 12th century.


In 1191-1192, Cyprus was passed into the hands of Richard the Lionheart. It then passed down to the Lusignans (Franks) and later on the Venetians who repaired the city’s famous Walls. In 1571, the city came under Ottoman rule that lasted until 1878, when the Turkish flag was replaced by the British. In 1925, Cyprus was declared a British colony. After the fight for independence that lasted from 1955 – 1959, Cyprus was declared an independent state, and since 16 August 1960, Nicosia has been the capital of the island. As a result of the Turkish Invasion of the northern section of the island in 1974, Nicosia is today the last remaining divided capital of the European Union, of which Cyprus has been a member state since 2004.

With more than 228,000 inhabitants, seven municipalities and lying at the crossroads of three different continents, Nicosia is a cultural bridge between the past and present; the old, ancient town encircled by protective Venetian walls and the modern city with its contemporary architecture, shopping malls and stores. Old and New Town are linked by Eleftheria (Freedom) Square, famous for hosting meetings and events. Visitors of Nicosia have much to experience, both in the city and its surrounding countryside, from the historical museums and archaeological points of interest, Byzantine churches and cultural centres, to its fantastic markets and unique cuisine. “Magic” is but one word with which to describe the Nicosia experience.

Old Town - Modern City - Culture


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