Favorite thing: There were stray cats everywhere in Nicosia. They walked the medieval walls, they shaded under cars, and they revelled in the freedom of No Man's Land. Turkish Cats, Greek Cats, they all looked the same. They moved from one side to the other with impunity
Favorite thing: Walking across the border, the south dont bother much, in or out. The north ( if you EU ) require a little form with name , passport number, and nationality, in or out.In the picture the red box is the south office, the dirty blue sheeting is covering the derelict no mans lane buildings, The little roundabout with the decorative poles has nothing to do with the border.
South Nicosia is the greek part of the capital - rich, modern - but not very much vibrant - especially in the day. At night it is lively and busy, so it is a little more charming. It also offers more restaurant opportunities than in the northern part.
Fondest memory: Sights are not as impressive as in the northern part, desite some nice greek ortodox churches. I had my best moments early in the morning, when it was still sleepy and quiet. When aggressive car drivers hit the road, it becomes a little bit hellish.
North Nicosia, the turkish part of the capital, is pure heaven... as soon as we walked across the border and enter it, we were perfectly happy... friendly people and faces, smiling at us, kids playing on the streets, less traffic than in the Greek part.
Fondest memory: The northern part is a lot poorer and many houses, especially in the immediate area of the border, badly damaged - yet with families living in them. Despite this "state of despair" we found plenty of interesting attractions to see, makets, mosques and even a restored caravanserrail - and many friendly cafes where to sit and have some chai.
Favorite thing: Archbishop Makarios statue is an imposing bronze statue which was erected outside the Archbishop's palace in Nicosia to commemorate his life. Makarios III was the archbishop and primate of the autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church (1950-1977) and first President of the Republic of Cyprus (1960-1977).
Favorite thing: Ayia Sophia Cathedral is now the Selimiye Mosque. It was originally constructed during 1209 and 1228. The Kings of Cyprus were crowned here until the Venetians took control of the island in 1489. This ancient building is the chief mosque in Cyprus.
Favorite thing: The Turkish Cypriots use the divided part of Nicosia as the capital of an internationally unrecognized (except for Turkey) state known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The population of the part of the city under the control of the Republic of Cyprus is 270,000. As everything changed from 1974 when Cypriots forced to abandoned their homes after the Turkish invasion, this part of the city seems to be very different from the other.
Favorite thing: 'Pyli Ammochostou' - Famagusta Gate - is one of the original entrances to the old city, which is renovated and which won the Europa Nostra award for its restoration. Many old churches are to be found in this part of town, and other places of interest.
Favorite thing: To walk through the old city is to step backwards in time. 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.
Favorite thing: One of the most frequently asked questions about Cyprus is about crossing between the north and south. I wouldn't suggest you asking the embassy but try it out yourself :) I asked a lady at the consulate in Bangkok about this and she said it was impossible for Thai citizens to cross from the south to north without a proper Turkish visa. I've always thought people at the embassy/consulate should know best so I believed her. What a shame because there's so much in the north that I wanted to see. Anyway, the process was simple, on the south, you go to this little room and someone asks you why you wanna go to the north and when you plan on coming back. Then some more walkings and you can see a few immigration booths. A staff there handed me a piece of paper(in the picture) to fill in, I filled it up and handed it back. He put those infos on computer and then he stamped this piece of paper and wrote down I could stay for 30 days. There was no fee at all. And then you will find yourself wandering around in the north! On the way back, I handed in this piece of paper and the staff stamped exit and that was it. It was painless. If I, a Thai citizen, could cross it without any hassle, I'm sure any citizen of this world can do it too.