Nicosia Region, Nicosia
Nicosia is the largest city on the island of Cyprus. It is located near the centre of the Mesaoria plain, on the banks of the River Pedieos. Nicosia or Lefkosia in Greek is labelled ‘the last divided capital’, a reality that, although still present, is slowly changing thanks to 24-hour checkpoint crossings into its Turkish northern half – North Nicosia. Nicosia has been the capital of the Island since 1119 and it flourished during the Lusignan era. Churches and places were built, and town grew in size and population. The glorious period in history of the city ended in 1949 when Venetians occupied Cyprus. Most of the monuments were demolished including churches and palaces and used the masonry to fortify the city against the possible Ottoman invasion. In 1567 walls were started to be built, and famous engineer Guillio Savorignano drew the plans of the wall. Circumference of the walls was to be 3 miles, 11 bastions each like a castle and 3 gates. Famous gates were Kyrenia gate in the North, Famagusta gate in the east and the Paphos Gate in the West. The Kyrenia Gate is still the only one left intact and its remains are attractive historic monument visited by thousands of Tourist every year. Nicosia is a great place and is ideal for experiencing what modern Cyprus is all about.