Nicosia Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Nicosia

The divided capital of Cyprus, Nicosia is an ancient city replete with historic landmarks and numerous museums, offering visitors insight into the island's tumultuous past and present, as well as culture and traditions. Follow this orientation tour to discover these and other, more modern attractions of Nicosia.
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Nicosia Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Nicosia Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Cyprus » Nicosia (See other walking tours in Nicosia)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 17
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Venetian Column
  • Haydarpasa Mosque
  • Selimiye Mosque
  • Bedesten
  • Büyük Han
  • Arasta Street
  • Ledra Street
  • Faneromeni Church
  • Byzantine Museum
  • Ethnographic Museum of Cyprus
  • Agios Ioannis Cathedral
  • Famagusta Gate
  • House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios
  • Omeriye Mosque
  • Leventis Municipal Museum
  • Stasikratous Street
  • Makarios Avenue
Venetian Column

1) Venetian Column (must see)

The Venetian Column is a beautiful landmark located on a central roundabout in the Turkish part of the walled city. This granite column was transferred from Salamis in 1489. After its installation in Nicosia, it was decorated with the Lion of Saint Mark and the Venetian coat of arms. In 1570 the Ottomans removed the column, storing it in the backyard of Sarayonu Mosque. In 1915 the British raised the Venetian Column on its original site, adding a globe on top to replace the lost Lion of Saint Mark, and an engraving of the years of the column's removal and replacement.
Haydarpasa Mosque

2) Haydarpasa Mosque (must see)

Haydarpasa Mosque, one of Nicosia’s most popular attractions, was initially a 14th century cathedral raised by the Lusignans. The Cathedral of Saint Catherine was the second largest Gothic building in the city during that period. It was later enlarged and used as a convent until the Ottomans transformed it into a mosque, adding the minaret. Rich in architectural details, its large entrance is adorned with stone dragons and roses, as well as gargoyles and geometric details elsewhere on its exterior. Between 1986 and 1991 it underwent significant restoration and nowadays Haydarpasa Mosque is open to the public as an exhibition.
Selimiye Mosque

3) Selimiye Mosque (must see)

Selimiye Mosque, or Agia Sofia Cathedral, is located in the Turkish controlled northern part of the walled city of Nicosia. It is the main mosque in the city. It is housed in the largest and oldest surviving gothic church in Cyprus (interior dimensions: 66 X 21 m) possibly constructed on the site of an earlier Byzantine church. The building belongs to the pure Gothic style of the beginning of the 12th century.

Due to the building’s large scale, lack of money and various historical events it took 150 years for the cathedral to be built and still, it was never entirely completed since the southwest tower and the portico’s upper floor were never constructed. The cathedral’s first construction phase began during the first years of Frankish rule (possibly in 1209) and already by 1228 the eastern part of the building was completed. By the end of the 13th century the side aisles and a large part of the middle aisle were completed.

The western wall’s three entrances are decorated with important examples of architectural sculpture. The main entrance’s frame bears impressive sculptures. Three of the four arches are decorated with reliefs depicting kings, prophets, apostles and bishops.
Sight description based on wikipedia

4) Bedesten (must see)

Bedesten, built as the Church of Saint Nicholas of the English in the 12th century, was designed in a blend of Byzantine and Medieval styles. Later, the Lusignans expanded the structure, adding Gothic elements. During the Venetian rule the church became the Greek Orthodox Metropolis. During the Ottoman period, this splendid building was transformed into a covered market, giving it its present name Bedesten, meaning ‘market’ in Turkish. An important landmark of Nicosia’s Turkish quarter, it was recently renovated to cope with a series of earthquakes and other calamities it had suffered damage from over the years.
Büyük Han

5) Büyük Han (must see)

Büyük Han, one of Nicosia’s most popular attractions, is an immense inn constructed in the 16th century by the Ottomans. Among the most impressive monuments of that period, it was initially called Alanyalilar's Han. In the 17th century it attained its present name, which means ‘Big Inn.’ During the British period, it was used as the city’s main prison. The building is reminiscent of a fortress, with a multitude of arches and a dome in the center of the inner yard. Hazving undergone several renovations, it is now home to several shops and cafes.
Arasta Street

6) Arasta Street

Arasta Street was Nicosia’s grandest shopping area in the beginning of the 20th century. Even its name, which means "market connected to a mosque" in Persian suggests this fact, as the street also ends at Selimiye Mosque. It is literally full of shops and stalls selling inexpensive textiles, jewelery, clothing and footwear. Arasta Street is also one of six connecting arteries to the Greek section of the Old Town.
Ledra Street

7) Ledra Street (must see)

Ledra Street is a major shopping thoroughfare in central Nicosia, which links North and South Nicosia. It is the site of the former Ledra Street barricade where the street ran across the United Nations buffer zone. The barricade symbolized the division of Nicosia between the Greek south and Turkish north which was under the control of the unrecognized, self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The barricade was removed in April 2008 and Ledra Street became the sixth crossing between the southern and northern parts of Cyprus.

The name of the street refers to the ancient city-kingdom of Ledra, established in 1050 BC, that was located in the centre of the island where the capital city is today. The street leads off Eleftheria square, runs in a South to North direction and is about 1 km long. Most of it lies within the area effectively controlled by the Republic of Cyprus while a short stretch at the northern end between the UN buffer zone and the intersection with Arasta Street and Girne Caddesı falls within the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia. During the EOKA struggle that ran from 1955–1959, the street acquired the informal nickname The Murder Mile in reference to the frequent targeting of the British military by nationalist fighters along its course.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Faneromeni Church

8) Faneromeni Church (must see)

Faneromeni Church, the largest Orthodox church in Nicosia’s Old Town, was built in 1872 on the site of an Orthodox convent from 1715. Its architecture is a blend of Latin, Byzantine and Neoclassical design. Its interior contains old paintings, icons and other items, the oldest being the icon of Panagia Phaneromeny from the 14th century. This church includes a mausoleum with the relics of four clerics who died at the hands of the Ottomans during the siege of the city.
Byzantine Museum

9) Byzantine Museum (must see)

The Byzantine Museum, located in the the Archibishop's Palace, has become famous for its incredible collection of artifacts. With a collection dating back from the 9th to the 18th centuries, containing over 200 icons, you will also find paintings, mosaics, lithographs and maps. It is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, and Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Ethnographic Museum of Cyprus

10) Ethnographic Museum of Cyprus (must see)

The Ethnographic Museum of Cyprus, formerly known as the Folk Art Museum in Nicosia, is housed in a 15th century Gothic building. Initially used as a monastery, and from 1730 as the residence of the Archbishop, nowadays it exhibits a collection reflecting Cyprus's traditions and history through national costumes, jewelery, utensils, pottery and other objects from the 19th and 20th centuries. It is open Monday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday from 9:15 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am- 1:00 pm.
Agios Ioannis Cathedral

11) Agios Ioannis Cathedral (must see)

Agios Ioannis Cathedral, built in 1662 to replace a Lusignan monastery, was constructed by Archbishop Nikiforos. Named in honor of Saint John the Theologian (Agios Ioannis), its stunning interior is adorned with beautiful Byzantine frescoes, paintings of Biblical scenes, and the legendary inconostasis and splendid icons created by John Kornaro from 1795 to 1797. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, with a break from noon to 2:00.
Famagusta Gate

12) Famagusta Gate (must see)

Famagusta Gate, one of three city wall gates erected by the Venetians to protect against Ottoman attacks, was designed by engineer Count Savorgnano. Formerly called Porta Guliana, or the Lower gate, it was designed as a passage in the form of an arch. Ignored for a long time, it was recently restored and made into an arts center that hosts diverse cultural and entertainment events such as exhibitions, concerts, movies and theater performances. It is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and Saturday from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios

13) House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios (must see)

The Hadjigeorgakis Korensios Mansion, or House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, is situated near the Archbishopric, in the neighborhood of Saint Antonios, where the wealthy notables of the Greek community traditionally used to live. The mansion is the most important example of urban architecture of the last century of Ottoman domination that survives in old Nicosia. It opened on 3 May 1960 with the aid of public subscription, three years after a foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block.

The owner of the mansion, Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, was a dragoman, the official interpreter for the Divan (Council) of the Sultan for thirty years from 1779. The house was built in 1793 with local bloc-cut sandstone and is a two-storey building. The monogram of the owner and the date of its erection can be seen on a marble tablet inside the entrance. The architectural plan of the building in the form of a Greek "Δ" surrounds a central garden with a fountain and a private bathhouse (Hammam) which has three rooms. Today the mansion, which was awarded the Europa Nostra prize for its exemplary renovation work, functions as a museum. The entrance fees is €1.70.

Operation hours: Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8.30 am - 3.30 pm; Wednesday: 8.30 am - 5 pm; Saturday: 9.30 am - 3.30 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Omeriye Mosque

14) Omeriye Mosque (must see)

Omeriye Mosque is a unique mosque transformed from a Gothic style church in the Greek portion of Nicosia. Initially, in 1395, it was built as the Latin monastery of St. Mary of the Augustinians. In the 15th century a smaller Renaissance style building was attached, meant as a hospice for pilgrims, and was nearly destroyed during the Ottoman invasion. In 1571 the monastery was converted into a mosque and was named in honor of Omer, a Muslim prophet. Omeriye Mosque is a very important landmark in Nicosia, its 14th century main entrance being its most beautiful element.
Leventis Municipal Museum

15) Leventis Municipal Museum (must see)

The Leventio Museum, or Leventis Municipal Museum, is home to an extensive collection of Cypriot works include archaeological artifacts, costumes, photographs, medieval pottery, maps and engravings, jewels, and furniture. The Leventio Municipal Museum presents the history and social development of the city of Nicosia from the Chalcolithic period (3000BC) to the present day. It was founded in 1984 after the initiative of the Mayor of Nicosia, Mr Lellos Demetriades.

The museum is named after its donor Anastasios G. Leventis Foundation which bought and restored the building and its administered by the Municipality of Nicosia. The exhibits are arranged so that visitors are guided from the present days of Nicosia, the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, through to the Ancient period (3000BC). Every year the museum organizes and hosts a number of temporary exhibitions, lectures, educational programs and other events. The Shop of the Museum is run by the Association of the Friends of the Museum.

Every school year, since 1989, the museum has organized special educational programs for school children of all ages. Special workshops and educational programs for children and adults are also organized during the year. A small library with publications and other material on the history of Nicosia as well as rare and old publications on Cyprus is open for researchers only by appointment.

Operation hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am - 4.30 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Stasikratous Street

16) Stasikratous Street

Often compared to 5th Avenue in New York and Bond Street in London, Stasikratous Street was once an ordinary street with houses and office buildings. In a short period of time this street was transformed into one of the most popular and expensive shopping areas in the city. Trendy shops and boutiques, including Louis Vuitton, Armani and Max Mara, can be found here. Besides clothing and shoes, you can find luxurious jewelers and porcelain boutiques, many of them regional brands.
Makarios Avenue

17) Makarios Avenue

Makarios Avenue is an avenue in the centre of Nicosia, which covers a distance of 2 km. The Street starts from the Junction of Evagoras Avenue until Aglandjia Avenue and is named after the first President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios III. In Colonial times Makarios Avenue was named Pluto Street and was the main route to Limassol, it was lined with residential buildings such as the Lyssiotis Mansion built in 1928 and is now the Head Office of the National Bank of Greece in Cyprus. The area has been transformed into a commercial district with many of the original buildings demolished to make way for shops and office blocks. Makariou Avenue is parallel to Stasikratous Street and Themistokli Dervi Avenue.

The most prominent features of Makariou avenue are the hundreds of various fashion shops, boutiques, high end international department stores and City Plaza, the biggest Cypriot department store in the city centre. Makariou Avenue is also home to the Galaxias Arcade the largest Stoa in the city centre of Nicosia, which has facilities from bars, restaurants, a virgin music megastore to Hairstylists.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Nicosia, Cyprus

Create Your Own Walk in Nicosia

Create Your Own Walk in Nicosia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Nicosia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Nicosia Shopping Tour

Nicosia Shopping Tour

Nicosia, being the capital of such an exotic country as Cyprus, couldn't be a better shopping spot for tourists. Offering a traditional Turkish market, folk art, crafts and fashionable shops and boutiques, Nicosia has something for everyone. Take the following tour to discover the best in Nicosia’s shopping.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Turkish Old Town Tour

Turkish Old Town Tour

The Turkish Part of Nicosia’s Old Town is fairly considered the historic part of the city. The following tour highlights the splendor of the city's history, including social and religious aspects. Some of its buildings date back as far as the 13th century. Discover Nicosia’s rich history and get some great photo opportunities in the Turkish section of the Old Town.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Greek Old Town Tour

Greek Old Town Tour

The Greek part of Nicosia’s Old Town is certainly the more modern part of the walled city. The architectural monuments are well-maintained, preserving the spirit of the city’s rich history. Take the following tour to admire and learn more about the past and present of the Greek portion of Nicosia.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles