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Next stop Nicosia: A new dawn for Cyprus' capital

3rd January 2013 Print
Cyprus Museum

Locally known as Lefkosia, Nicosia is Cyprus’ largest city. The old city, at the heart of which is the distinctive many-sided Venetian citadel, is home to a wealth of history and tales dating back to the 16th century. 

While already a must-see place on the list of any history-minded visitor, a series of major regeneration projects are now underway across the city in a bid to improve the infrastructure, as well as preserve the city’s cherished historical legacies. The following developments are expected to be complete within the next two years:

Eleftheria Square (Freedom Square) & Solomou Square

At the epicentre of Cyprus’ modern history, Eleftheria Square has a long-standing reputation of being the linchpin between the modern city and the historical centre, as well as a reference point for Nicosia’s residents.

The regeneration project, which is set to create a new landmark for the city, is being carried out in the space between this square and neighbouring Solomou Square by the award-winning ZaHa Hadid Architects. An Urban Recreational Park is set to be developed, which will be home to an open-air theatre, a children’s playground, a bicycle route as well as a number of cafes and food stalls.

In a wider effort to improve traffic congestion throughout the city, pedestrians will be able to travel between the two squares making use of the new bridge which is currently being constructed, as well as make use of Solomou Square’s new bus station which will offer 14 new routes across the city.

Another significant project is the construction of the New Town Hall – a group of eight buildings which will include new elements, as well as the restoration and refurbishment of historic buildings. With construction already underway, a number of relics have recently been discovered dating back to both the Bronze Age and the Ottoman period.

Other landmarks within Nicosia that are set for a facelift, include the historic Kaimakli area in the north-west of the city – traditionally the home of many craftsmen, it will see the restoration of a number of house facades along the main streets; as well as the re-design and restoration of the Taht-El-Kale area. The restoration of the façades along the streets of this area will enhance their architectural importance and improve the built environment, while providing incentives for the private sector for further upgrading and investment in the area.

Unmissable Nicosia:

1. Take a walk through Laiki Geitonia – this historic pedestrianised area (the name means ‘Popular Neighbourhood’) is home to Nicosia’s main shopping street as well as prettily restored houses, shady restaurants and handicraft workshops.

2. Unearth 9,000 years of history at the Cyprus Museum – the island’s largest and best archaeological museum, with exhibits dating from 7,000BC to the end of Roman rule in 395AD.

3. Climb the City Walls - built by the Venetians in the 16th century to protect against Arab attacks on the city, these impressive battlements give good views over parts of the city.

4. Archbishop Makarios Cultural Centre – among the centre’s outstanding collection of artefacts are an astonishing group of magnificent icons – the island’s largest – and mosaics.

5. Catch a performance at the Famagusta Gate - One of Nicosia's three old gates, the arched interior of the Famagusta Gate (Leoforos Athinon) has now been turned into the Lefkosia Municipal Cultural Centre, used for various exhibitions and performances.

More information is available at

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Cyprus Museum