Nicosia (Lefkosia) is the capital of Cyprus, the last divided capital in Europe and the largest city in Cyprus. The city lies in the centre of the island in the Mesaoria Plain, with the beautiful Kyrenia mountain range overlooking the city with its famous 'Pentadaktylos" - the five finger mountain. The origin of the name Nicosia or 'Lefkosia' in Greek is said to be after the popular tree, the tall 'Lefki ' which was once plentiful all over the city. Nicoisia is home to Government and Diplomatic headquarters, the University of Cyprus and four other universites as well as being the cultural centre of Cyprus. The capital has two distinct "personalites" -the older, original area that is surrounded by Venetian walls over 400 years old and a bustling, modern metropolis that is home to approximately 270,000 people. The central Eleftheria (Freedom) Square links old Nicosia with the newer, modern city where hotels, offices restaurants and gardens blend nicely with the older traditional homes and buildings of this cosmopolitan city. Things to see and do in Nicosia:
Famagusta Gate: The Venetian walls completely encircle the old city and the Famagusta Gate has been restored. The large gate itself leads into a long passage with a central cupola, which cuts through the walls and comes out in the moat. On both sides are high, stonewalled guard-rooms. The restored passage and rooms are used for exhibitions, conferences, lectures and performances.
Byzantine Museum and Art Galleries
Folk Art Museum
Laiki Yeitonia - restored pedestrian area in the walled city that is east of Eleftheria Square. There are winding alleys with traditional homes and shops, restaurants and galleries.