Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus, and is now the only capital city in the world which is divided in two. Because both sides of the island use Nicosia as their capital, it has a unique position. The tourist in Nicosia should look for the blue line on the road, which will take them to all the different sites of interest in the city. The population of North Nicosia is around 100,000, many of whom work in the Government buildings, but live outside of the city walls.
The top three places to visit in Nicosia:
St. Sophia Cathedral
St Sophia Cathedral was originally built in the Thirteenth century by the Lusignans, and is the biggest example of Gothic Architecture in Northern Cyprus. Over the main front door, the crown symbol can be seen, which proves that the Cathedral was used for Coronation ceremonies during the French and Italian periods. Also above the front door, three figures can be seen in arches, who symbolise the King, Queen and Archbishop. However, some of the other arches are now empty, as the Ottomans removed them when they captured Cyprus. To date, these icons have never been located. Since the late Sixteenth century, the cathedral has been used as a mosque.
The Big Inn, located in the centre of the walled city of Nicosia, is the most popular site in the city. The Big Inn was built in the late Sixteenth century by the Ottomans, and is also known as "Büyük Han". During that time, it was located on the trade routes acting as a hotel, offering food and shelter for people and animals alike. However, in it's lifetime, it has also been used as a prison, and a boarding house. In 1995, the Turkish government began to renovate the Big Inn. These renovations are now complete, with 68 rooms created, which are used as shops and cafes.
Arab Ahmet Street and Dervish Pasha Mansion
Arab Ahmet Street is located on the Western edge of the walled city of Nicosia, where the green line can be seen, which divides the city in two. The street was built during the Ottoman period, during which time wealthy people lived in the area. However, during the British period, the area began to change, and it became a place where poorer people lived. This is still the case today.
Dervish Pasha Mansion is the most interesting house in the area. Dervish Pasha was the last judge in Cyprus during the Ottoman Empire, who published the first newspaper in the country. Because there were no printing machines at that time, he wrote these weekly newspapers by hand, which were passed between people in the streets once they were read. At the moment, Dervish Pasha Mansion is the first and only Etnography museum in North Cyprus, where many artifacts from the past can be seen.
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