The building itself is originally 15th century gothic with latter additions and it used to be a Monastery.
It was originally used as a monastery for the Latin Order of Benedictines and was taken over by the Greek Orthodox Church sometime before the Ottoman occupation in 1571. It went on to become the Archibishop’s Palace prior to the building of the new Archbishopric nearby.
The door is carved stone archway with a 16th century fresco of the Annunciation, and it is supposed to be the oldest fresco of the city.
What the visitor sees here is a vast collection of everyday items from a forgotten era. The collection is rich and it is split in different rooms. This is where you will find the costumes of the people; the looms used to weave their fabrics; pottery; furniture –often beautifully carved and painted in bright colours; decorative baskets that were used for different things; Jewellery and other metal work including the most intricate filigree work. There are samples of embroidery as well.
A stroll out here makes the guest feel as if he enters a time-machine that takes him back to Nicosia, a century and a half back. You see, 150 years back the people of Cyprus were still under the yoke of Ottoman rule and the majority of them were extremely poor. A completely different picture of what is today.
I highly recommend it. Be sure not to miss it!
Fee is 2 euros for adults,
1 for children, and special discounts for groups.
Tuesday to Friday- 09:00 to 16:00
Saturday: 09:00 to 13:00
Tel: +357 2243 2578
(Mondays remains closed)
After experiencing the wonderful Buyuk Han, it's a real pity that this one has not yet been restored (although I entirely understand that money is not available to do so).
The Kumarcilar Han dates from the 1600s, with arcades surrounding a courtyard, guest rooms on the upper level and stabling, shops and refreshments on the lower.
A pity I could not get near enough to look through the gate.....but it seems to be pretty overgrown and derelict.
Hopefully there will soon be funds for its restoration.....perhaps via the EU (like the Bedestan)?
In the meantime, it's still worth seeking out.
It lies just off Asmaalti Sokak, quite near the Buyuk Han.
In Lefkosa there is no tourist traps. Costs are fixed, there is no need to bargain. For me, the most important thing is information posts in Lefkosia. You can see these info posts in every corner of Lefkosha. It shows a fully detailed map of Lefkosa street by street also shows historical and touristic paleces of the city. If you need to know where u r and what to do next, all u have to do is find a info post and enjoy this city. U can also follow the blue line on the strets to find touristic Nicosia walking tour. Nice tour and blue lines help u to make a good walking tour in this city
Not exactly the one in Geneva but they have one here as well. I am sure that most people from Nicosia don't even know it exists. It is next to the pot office in Elefteria (Freedom) Square. I have not noticed until three years of living here :o)
I found this place while wondering around the old town with a friend, it offers the best fruit juices in town. The Doublesix coffee bar has a nice easy going feeling to it and the outside like the inside has a very relaxing atmosphere. The juice menu is quite extensive and you can make your own mixes with the fruits of the season. My personal favorite is orange and strawberry.
It is situated one minute walk next to the big church in the old town, parallel to Ledra Street.
The Weaving Mill Film Workshop based in the old town of Nicosia is the perfect place to relax and watch a movie in a completely unconventional setting. This place is run by a very friendly couple. They have a wide range of movies, a good library, film seasons, recitals and other events. Many people arrive earlier than the showing and stay later to have a drink and socialise. I have met some really nice people here. You help yourself to a drink and make a donation in a big bottle on the little bar. They have everything from hot to soft drinks. You have the bog standard chairs and some very comfortable sofas. Many times I have fallen asleep watching a movie here, that is how comfortable I felt :o)
The annual membership is £4 and each viewing is £2.50. They do have a website and they also send a monthly newsletter if you are a member. You don't need to be a member if you just want to go there for one viewing. All viewings start at 9.00pm.
Ayia Sophia is a cathedral/mosque in Nicosia. She can trace her roots back as far as 1209 and was built during the crusades by French stone masons (Cyprus has been invaded many times over the years and has influences from all over Europe and beyond). Construction lasted 150 years, although the church was consecrated in 1326. Some parts of it were never finished.
In the 1500's, the Ottoman Turks conquered the city, and converted the cathedral into a mosque (this included burning the pews and the pulpit) and whitewashing the walls.
It is not unusual that if you wander past and go inside (taking your shoes off first) that you can have the place to yourself. On one occasion I was inside taking some photographs believeing I had the place to myself when I heard a strange sound coming from a corner. On further investigation I realised that whilst I wasn't the only person in there, I was the only conscious person - I was sharing the place with a rather large old lady who was snoring away soundly in the corner...
Bellapais is a charming little village on the edge of a mountain, that is built around what is now a ruined abbey. This village was made famous by lawrence Durrell (brother of the more famous Gerald Durrell) who lived here in the 1950's when Cyprus was experiencing a lot of internal turmoil as relationships between the Greeks/Turks/British boiled up. A lot of British were assassinated during the troubles, but Durrell semed to be perceived as a neutral as he lived with the locals away from the British and taught in a school where he was friendly with the local kids.
These days of Course, Lawrence Durrell is long gone (and long dead), but some of his legacy lives on. He famously describes in his book about a large tree (that was appropriately nicknamed the "Tree of Idleness") which all of the villagers used to lounge around under in its shade and drink all day. Although there is some debate as to where this tree is today (or whether the original still actually exists).
The Abbey is definitely worth visiting and is very close to Kyrenia. It is also possible to walk up the hill and see the outside of Durrells old house (although whn I visited it, it belonged to a German couple!). There is a commemorative plate up on the house, although you will probably need to ask directions to find it!
Kyrenia is a staggering beautiful town on the North Coast of Cyprus. It also a more Mediterranian feel than any other part of the island. Kyrenia is decidely quaint, and has none of the hustle and bustle or larger towns or cities. You won't find a traffic-jam here!
The attached picture shows me standing on top of Kyrenia Castle with the classic view down into the harbour. The harbour makes for a great walk around, smelling the fresh food being prepared and looking in at the little souvenir shops. At the far end of the harbour you often find fishermen trying their luck. The pace of life here is really slow and it is a very relaxing place to visit.
Kyrenia is also the home to one of the oldest known shipwrecks in the world. This shipwreck is preserved within the castle and can be visited for a charge.
Lefkara is a village close to Nicosia. It is famous for two things: lace and silver, both of which hand-made and very delicate and pretty. What I personally most liked abut the village, though, was neither of these two. It was its beautiful streets and houses of stone. I thought they were absolutely beautiful: they made me feel as if the time had stopped altogether, and I was in some medieval village, where people still do things by hand... Magical!
This is a little way outside of Nicosia in the South, and is a very small cave type church that is actually quite high up in the rock face.
I am trying to remember precisely what it is famous for, some miracle occurred there from memory. I have been there twice, and the first time I went there was a huge festival going on there with a big street market outside. The second time (when this picture was taken) was much quieter and inside the church you see people leaving personal effects inside the church. It is supposed to help with things like marriages that are not working or with conception problems.
Just before stumbling across the cannon in the previous tip, I had wandered up some steps by Kyrenia gate into a small garden. I was suddenly aware I was being watched quite intently by an armed soldier through a barbed wire fence.
My first thought was 'Ooopps I shouldn't be up here'. So I went to have a chat with him. He spoke no English, and I spoke no Turkish (other than some rather impolite phrases that I learnt from some Turkish Cypriots at University, but something told me that these weren't a good idea to use right then!).
He seemed friendly enough, and when I gestured at my camera and then at him, he was happy enough to pose for a picture. The blue cap can be a little misleading as the UN soldiers wear blue caps, but this is most definitely a Turkish (Cypriot) soldier guarding the residence of Rauf Denktash, the President of the North of Cyprus.
If you go to Kyrenia Gate in the North side of Nicosia, and climb up the wall using the steps, you will see a bardbed wire fence in front of you. Alongside the small garden area here you will see an old British cannon (there may even be two) pointing straight towards the fence and the official residence of Rauf Denktash which is the other side of it!
I've been trying to make out the motif on the cannon to see which monarch was ruling Britain when the cannon was made, but I cannot make out the elaborate script, but I can see enough to know it is an old British cannon left behind when the British left Cyprus in 1959 when Cyprus was granted independence.
Burclar Parki - A park where you can catch a good glimpse to the divided city - the green line, the Turkish & Greek borders and the Greek side of Nicosia. This is in military zone - so be careful - do not take pictures...
Even now that you can cross the borders, this is a good observation point, I think, that could give you a quick idea for the differences.
While I was in Nicosia, I went to a small, cosy cafe located in the midst of the old town, called "Kala kathoumena". It is not a "touristy" spot at all, in fact, it looks rather shabby, but it is definitively one of those places that has soul, whatever that means. The music was great, the prices ridiculous, and everyone who hung out there seemed to know each other- in a word, my kind of place :)