With the intercity bus from Paphos I reach Nicosia in the late afternoon. The terminal is located at Solomos Square, right on the edge of the old town. I quickly drop my stuff off at a nearby hostel and then explore the city.
The heat is significantly more oppressive in the capital. The city is inland. It’s pretty much the only one that doesn’t have a coast.
A strange atmosphere hangs over the city
The center around Solomos Square is very modern. But also full of police officers and UN soldiers. It could be a normal city if you didn’t see so many uniformed men with guns.
According to my map, the border must be very close, although I’m only at the edge of the old town.
Hostel “NEX” is located about twenty minutes walk from Solomos Square. It’s clean. I shared a shared room with five other people. There is tea and coffee, and there is also a bakery right on the street where you can stock up on provisions for the day.
I roam the city. The old town is located within the city walls, which are circular. The border runs through the middle. As I am strolling through the streets, I suddenly find myself in front of a wall. There is a soldier standing on the wall who is not happy when I take a picture of him.
Not far from there I come to Ledra Street. This is the shopping street where the cafes and restaurants are located.
And then: a border post. There, people line up and show their ID to get to the Turkish side. I see entire tour groups who are instructed by their guide shortly before they leave the post.
After feeling like I’ve seen most of this part of town, I queue there as well. Crossing the border is quick and easy with my identity card. I’m already in Turkish Cyprus.
That’s how it must have been in Berlin back in the Days
The origins of this conflict date back to the late 19th century when Cyprus came under British colonial rule. The Greek and Turkish populations on the island had different visions for the future of Cyprus, leading to growing tensions.
After Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, a constitution was introduced that provided for power-sharing government between the Greek and Turkish communities. However, this system proved unstable and relations between the two communities increasingly deteriorated. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup supported by the military junta in Greece led to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In response, the island split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north.
Despite numerous peace efforts and mediation attempts, no final solution to the conflict has yet been found.
The United Nations has conducted various peacekeeping missions on the island since the 1960s, including the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), to monitor tensions and encourage dialogue between the parties.
The Cyprus conflict has had a serious impact on the daily lives of people on the island. There remains a division between the two communities, marked by political divisions, ethnic prejudice and territorial disputes. There is also the question of property rights and the return of refugees. The conflict has had a major impact on economic development and coexistence in Cyprus.
Despite the challenges, there is hope for a lasting solution to the conflict. Recent efforts to revive negotiations between leaders of the two communities have shown some progress. (as of 2023)
You can’t go wrong with a Nicosia sightseeing tour. Everything exciting is within the ring of city walls. However, I save myself the museums; I feel like the active life of the city.
Cyprus cuisine is very good. There are many dishes from Greece and local wine. The beer brewed in the city is not bad either.
To Do’s in Nicosia (Greek)
Visit to the Cyprus Museum
Visit to the Municipal Museum
Stroll along Ledra Street from Solomos Square to the checkpoint (free)
Visit to Panayia Phaneromenis Church (free)
Stroll through the old town (free)
Stroll along the old city walls (free)
The city doesn’t look particularly rich, but it doesn’t seem run-down either. On the Turkish side, on the other hand, things are looking bad in some streets.
The city is a mixture of ancient and modern. The ongoing conflict creates tension, but it creates a certain joie de vivre. I notice that in the young people I meet on the street. Street art expresses these feelings.
There isn’t that much for me to do in this city. For me, the appeal lies in meeting and photographing people on the street. I will continue that in the Turkish part.
For me it’s time to leave after two days. I take the intercity bus back to Larnaca and the airport.
Street art is a visual testament to the city’s past and present.
Street art in Nicosia on the Greek side is characterized by an impressive variety of styles and themes. From abstract works to realistic portraits, political commentary and social concerns, street art covers a wide spectrum of artistic expression. Every corner of the city offers new discoveries and surprising encounters with artistic works.
Street art in Nicosia also reflects the city’s rich history and culture. Some murals tell stories about the division of the city and the socio-political challenges Cyprus is facing. Other works honor famous people or depict local traditions and customs.
In every city there is a bus stop from which buses to the other cities depart regularly. From Larnaca to Paphos there are (as of 2023) three connections in the morning and three connections in the afternoon. The price is just 7 euros. There are also private companies that offer the ride, but they are much more expensive.
You can pay for your trip directly to the bus driver on site and, in my experience, you don’t have to worry about not getting a seat.
All roads lead to Nicosia. Most connections go to and from the capital, sometimes every 15 minutes.