Situated almost in the centre of the island of Cyprus on the plains of MESAOURIA is its capital town of Nicosia. The town which has enjoyed the status of being the Capital of Cyprus for over a thousand years since 10th century. It also remains the world's only divided capital after the collapse of the Berlin wall. In 1963 Nicosia was divided into Greek and Turkish quarters as a result of inter communal violence that broke out between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The north part functions as the capital of the occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus and the south part is the seat of the government and capital of Republic of Cyprus.
The town of Nicosia has two faces. The portion which is surrounded by a 400 year old Venetian wall on one side and the modern metropolitan city along with its suburbs on the other side. The area encircled in the Venetian walls is places of historic importance as this was the traditional part of the city. These walls surrounding the old city have 3 gates that are well preserved namely KYRENIA gate which was the opening towards the north of island especially KYRENIA, the FAMAGUSTA gate towards the FAMAGUSTA region, LIMASSOL and LARNACA and the PAPHOS gate which opened towards the Paphos region. The metropolitan is linked with the old city at the central ELEFTHERIA SQUARE. The cosmopolitan town has a population of over 170000 people.
Nicosia is Cyprus s financial capital and main business centre. Almost all the financial institutions and banks have their headquarters situated in this capital. Many multinational companies and international business groups and firms such as PWC, Ernst and Young, Deloitte NCR, TSYS, and many more have their Cypriot head offices based here. Nicosia has been constantly ranked as one of the ten richest cities in the world in terms of purchasing power and also the wealthiest per capita city in the Eastern Mediterranean. Nicosia has nine municipalities namely NICOSIA, STROVOLOS, LAKATAMIA, LATSIA, AGLANTIA, ENGOMI, AGIOS D HOMETIOS, YERI AND TSERI.
Nicosia has a lot of museums and are well known for them. Collections of religious icons can be seen Byzantine museum in the Palace of the Archbishop. Interesting museums include the municipal museum, National Struggle Museum ,Folk Art museum, Ethnological museum and handicraft centre. The town also has Maronite Arch Bishopship and Convent, a Buddhist temple and an Armenian archbishopship.
Some of the largest venues of Cyprus are situated in Nicosia. The national football team, clubs like APOEL Nicosia, Olympiakos, Omonia have their home ground at the largest stadium in Cyprus the NEO GSP Stadium. The Makario stadium, the LEFTHERIA indoor hall and LEFKOTHEO indoor stadium are some other main Venues of Sports in Nicosia.
Student community in Nicosia is high as its home for many colleges and universities. The 5 universities based here are the University of Cyprus, the University of Nicosia, The Open University of Cyprus and the Frederick University.
The capital city is linked to all the other cities of the island by a modern road network. The public transport options in the city are served by bus services and taxis. Taxis have to use taximeters and the rates are based on the laws and regulations. The municipality has also introduced a scheme to serve the large population, students and tourists introducing bikes that can be hired from the many docking stations across almost every municipality. However a deposit should be made using a credit or debit card need to be paid in advance and would be refunded back at the docking stations while you return them. Bikes can be hired from any station and returned to another one of your choice and convenience.
Nicosia may not be welcoming to an average tourist but it has a lot to offer in terms of its cultural heritage. This divided walled capital city which is well preserved and a visit to this city is highly recommended.