Travel Guide Europe Cyprus Nicosia



Turkish Side of Nicosia

Turkish Side of Nicosia

© Stefani528

Nicosia (called Lefkosia as well) is the capital and largest city of Cyprus with a total urban population well over 300,000. It is located along the shores of the Pedieos River and situated in the cental part of the island. It is the cultural and administrative centre of the country and the seat of government. Although it is one of the most important business centres on the island, the city itself sees fewer tourists than the coastal areas, where most hotels and resorts are. Still, it is a very interesting place to visit because of the fact that part of the city is Greek and part is Turkish, the latter belonging to the separate state of Northern Cyprus, only recognized by Turkey. Nicosia is today's only divided capital in the world. The city is divided by the so called Green Line and just recently (2008), a symbolic wall dividing the two parts at Ledra Street was opened, trying to reunify the island. For travellers, the city has a wide variety of landmarks and good facilities and spending a few days here justifies to the significant role this city plays both out of a historical viewpoint and the current tense situation.



Sights and Activities

Hamam Omerye

Hamam Omerye is located in the heart of the old town - at 8 Tyllirias Square, 1016 - within the ancient Venetian walls. Find your way to the 'Ohi' roundabout, then head straight all the way until you find the Omeriye Mosque on your right - you can't miss it. Turn right here and the Hamam Baths are on your left. Hamam Omerye is a 14th century building restored to operate once again as a Turkish bath. The site's history dates back to the 14th century, when it stood as an Augustinian church of St. Mary, built by the Lusignan (French) and later maintained by the Venetians. In 1571, Mustapha Pasha converted the church into a mosque, believing that this particular spot is where the prophet Omer rested during his visit to Lefkosia. Most of the original building was destroyed by Ottoman artillery, although the door of the main entrance still belongs to the 14th century Lusignan building, whilst remains of a later Renaissance phase can be seen at the north-eastern side of the monument. Couples on Mondays, men only Tue/Thu/Sat, women only Wed/Fri/Sun. €20 for two hours, including towels, disposable underwear, tea, sponge etc.




Nicosia has a typical Mediterranean climate with warm or hot summers from May to September and mild winters, when most of the rain falls. Nicosia has average highs in summer of around 37 °C, sometimes hitting 44 °C during July or August. Winters are mild, generally between 15 °C and 17 °C at daytime. December and January are the coldest and wettest months, though Nicosia is drier compared to the coast and places at higher altitude.

Avg Max15.3 °C15.9 °C18.6 °C24.3 °C29.5 °C33.9 °C36.9 °C36.7 °C33.6 °C28.3 °C21.8 °C17.1 °C
Avg Min5.2 °C5 °C6.4 °C10.1 °C14.5 °C18.8 °C21.8 °C21.6 °C18.5 °C15 °C10.2 °C6.8 °C
Rainfall48 mm47 mm37 mm22 mm22 mm7 mm1 mm7 mm6 mm22 mm31 mm58 mm
Rain Days99.18.14.440.900.



Getting There

Until recently, entry from Northern Cyprus to south Nicosia was close to impossible. However, following a recent thawing in relations, it is now possible for EU citizens to cross the border at official crossing points, regardless of their point of entry to the island. It should be noted however, that this pertains to EU citizens only, and there have been cases of people from other parts of the world being turned back at crossing point. For full details on how you can cross from south to Northern Cyprus or vice-versa, please see the Cyprus page.

On 3 April 2008, the new Ledra Street crossing (as opposed to Ledra Palace Hotel crossing) was opened, allowing people to cross again from North to South Nicosia and vice-versa for the first time since 1964. The crossing actually traverses the United Nations Buffer Zone dividing Southern and Northern Cyprus. The (Greek) Republic of Cyprus does not maintain an immigration post at the crossing but merely conducts ID checks while Northern Cyprus maintains an immigration and customs checkpoint on their side of the border.

If you're taking a taxi to North Nicosia before crossing, do not say "Ledra" because everyone in Northern Cyprus will assume the Ledra Palace crossing, which is outside the city walls to the west.

By Plane

Ercan airport is located in Northern (Turkish) Cyprus. There are flights from and to London - Heathrow, London - Gatwick, London - Stansted, Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, Adana and Antalya.

By Car

Nearly all visitors arrive via the southern highway from Larnaca (43 km) and Limassol (83 km). Regular, cheap and reliable intercity taxi and bus services connect Nicosia to the centre of Cyprus' other cities. Private hire taxis are considerably more expensive. Car hire is also affordable and all major car hire companies are represented at both airports.

By Bus

Cyprus By Bus offers information about routes, timetables and prices.



Getting Around

By Car

If you are planning to drive between Turkish and Greek parts, you will need to get separate insurance on both sides, as both countries do not recognize other side's car insurance.

By Public Transport

Nicosia is developing a more extensive network of bus services [2] that connect the ever expanding sprawl. Transport is inexpensive, however timetables remain unreliable and only a few buses are air conditioned.

Private taxis abound, they are usually diesel Mercedes cars, and always have a number plate starting with the letter T. Some even have a yellow TAXI (or ΤΑΞΙ in Greek) sign above. Unlike other world cities, they are not in a distinctive colour. Make sure the meter is turned on the second you enter, as tourist expoitation is as common here as everywhere else in the world!

By Foot

Crossing the border on foot is highly recommended as this is a rare experience to cross a border in the middle of a capital.

Greater Nicosia sprawls for kilometers on end, but the Old City is small enough to navigate on foot. Traditional Greek Cypriot shops line the streets of the Old City, and with very narrow footpaths/walkways, traffic must always be observed. GPS Satellite navigation systems (see TomTom, Garmin and family) have yet to hear that Cyprus exists, so don't go looking for the Cypriot version. A paper map can be picked up (free of charge!) from the Nicosia CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organisation) Information Office (in Laiki Geitonia) which should more than suffice.

By Bike

A cheaper alternative to buses and taxis is to use the bike sharing system Bike in Action. Smart card needed.




Café-Restaurant is located at Erodos Patriarhou Gregoriou 1, Old Town, Phone: +357 22 752250, [email protected]. Erodos Cafe-Restaurant within the Venetian walls and in the heart of Old Town Nicosia, Cyprus - Live music, fine wines, good beers and traditional, yet eccentric gastronomy. In the heart & soul of old town Lekosia, lays an oasis of classic excitement. Erodos, conveying a spirit of fine love. Indeed, an establishment unique to Cyprus and the world, with dignity and composure, entertainment and pleasure. Tues-Sat: 10:00am – 2:00pm, Sun: 4:00pm – 2:00am, Mon: private functions.




Babylon - 6 Iasonos Street, 2021 Lefkosia Tel: +357 22 665757, [email protected]. Just behinid the Spidernet building on Grivas Diyenis Street (Honda lights). Popular, long established bar in a converted 1950's house. Has a large beer garden for the hot summers and cosy log fires for the cold winters. Beer on tap, vast variety of bottled beer and drinks, cocktails and good food.

The legend of Babylon lives on and again flourishes as the centre of learning and freethinking. Enter the bar and gardens of Babylon, where thoughts excel and an environment of creativity, pleasure, and relaxation can once again be discovered. It is indeed a challenge to describe the ambiance and atmosphere of this most ancient wonder, just as much as it is exclusive and individualised by your own unique memories and specific to your temporal mood.

A blend of old and new, a mixture of love and hate, Babylon is truly unrivalled and undoubtedly one of the last surviving momentums of this ancient school of thought. You can be sure of one thing. Babylon is not just a bar, pub or restaurant. It is home to some of the world's greatest thinkers.





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Keep Connected


Internet access is increasingly available in tourist centres in the form of internet cafés and side rooms equipped with monitors. Prices vary, so shop about. €2 an hour seems average, but you can do better. Many cafés now offer free wi-fi access and hotels and resorts often offer Internet access to their guests.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Cyprus is: 357. To make an international call from Cyprus, the code is: 00

Fixed-line telephone in Cyprus is provided by Cyta, an independent (but government-owned) company and PrimeTel; both provide packages for home and business usage. Cyta public phones are in all towns, villages, ports and airports. There are three types of public telephones, coinphones, outdoor cardphones and indoor cardphones. All public phones can be used for local and international calls. Cardphones accept payment by Telecards, which are available in various denominations. They can be purchased at banks, post offices, souvenir shops, kiosks and CytaShops.

Mobile cellular telephones are available from major retailers and phone shops. If coming to Cyprus with a phone from another country, it may be possible to use it in Cyprus if the frequency band is the same (GSM 900/1800; UMTS 2100). The most economical way to make and receive calls will likely be to purchase a SIM card in Cyprus. All incoming calls are free and local calls are charged at a local rate.


Cyprus Postal Services is the postal operator of Cyprus and operate the government-operated Post Office. A legacy of British colonial rule is the use of pillar boxes (mail boxes) with the initials of the British monarch, although after independence they were painted yellow. It offers relatively cheap but not extremely efficient and reliable services. Post offices in Cyprus are generally open from 07:30am to 1:30pm. In some districts the post offices are also open in the afternoon. If you want to send a package, you will be better of using companies like DHL, UPS or TNT.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 35.167604
  • Longitude: 33.373621

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