LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA) and its enivirons
The 1.000 years old capital
Situated in the middle of the island Lefkosia (Nicosia) is a busy modern commercial and business centre. The centre of the city is its old quarter surrounded by a Venetian sandstone fortress wall with a moat and a heart-shaped bastions. Wander roun narrow streets with their overhanging balconies and the beautifully restored pedestrian precinct with crafts hops, cafes and tavernas.
Mosques and palm trees give an oriental atmosphere to the old city. Make sure you stop off at St. John's Cathedral with its frescoes and the marvellous museum of Byzantine icons. In the evening catch a concert in the moat or an exhibition at the Famagusta Gate, one of the three original entrances into the old city, which has now been restored and is used as a cultural centre.
The Cyprus Museum houses the best collection of archaelogical artefacts on the island, including a first century AD Roman statuette of Aphrodite of Soli, while the Leventis Museum depicts the history of the town.
Venture out of Nicosia through olive groves and orchards and drive up into the pine forest to the Monastery of Machairas. On the way visist Tamassos, an ancient copper producing city, and nearby Agios Irakleidios Convent, which was built in the honour of Cyprus' first bishop saint. Further on picturesque villages abound, such as those of Pera and Fikardou with their cobbled streets and preserved stone and adobe houses, which will give you a glimpse of rural life in Cyprus.