Nicosia - The Divided Capital
Nicosia, the divided capital of Cyprus, is truly unique and offers the opportunity to explore the rich history and culture of the island. Many nations have ruled over Cyprus and their traces have been left throughout the old-walled city of Nicoisa. This tour will explore both the past and present day Nicosia and will include visits to the beautiful Selimiye Mosque, the ever-popular Bűyűk Han and the covered bazaar, the Arab Ahmet Quarter and the fascinating Private Ethnographic Museum of Cyprus. Nicosia is a really intriguing place and you could easily spend many hours exploring the back-streets and alleyways of this secretive city.
On leaving the Kyrenia (Girne) area we will travel south, inland and across the Kyrenia Mountain Range for about 25 minutes into the very heart of Nicosia (also known locally as Lefkoşa). Once in Nicoisa our guided walk will start at the Kyrenia Gate, which is the former entrance to the medieval city, and then continue on past the the Atatürk Square with the Venetian Column. A turn down a side-street will then take us to the Selimiye Mosque. Formerly the St. Sophia Cathedral, which was built in the Gothic style of the 13th century with flying buttresses and arched portals and was the coronation place of Lusignan Kings, the cathedral was converted to the Selimiye Mosque during the Ottoman period. (Guests should please wear appropriate clothing to visit the mosque, or alternatively bring a scarf or shawl to wear).
Following our visit to the mosque we will continue through the back-streets to the Bűyűk Han and the covered bazaar. In the Bűyűk Han, the restored Kervansaray hosts many traditional handcraft shops where you will have the chance to learn about traditional Turkish-Cypriot pottery making as well as silk production through the use of silk worms. You may even be able to try to cut a tulip from a silk worm cocoon. From the Bűyűk Han we will proceed to the covered bazaar where you will enjoy the aroma of fresh fruits and vegetables and have the opportunity to try different sweets, such as Lokum.
In this area of the city there are lots of small cafes and restaurants, and following our tour of the bazaar and some personal time to shop and explore, you will be able to stop for lunch at one of these popular cafes. (Please note: lunch is not included in the tour price).
After lunch the tour will lead you to the Arab Ahmet Quarter. In the older days wealthy Ottoman and Armenian families lived together in this area, but today there are now partly restored Ottoman houses with nice gardens where fruit trees and palm trees are still growing. Continuing on through this old quarter we will stop briefly at the Arab Ahmet Mosque before returning back to the Kyrenia Gate.
Following a short drive through Nicosia we will pay a visit to the recently established (Summer 2012) Private Ethnographic Museum of Cyprus. The aim of this museum is to take you back through time into the last 150 years of Cypriot culture through a display of beautiful arts and crafts from this time period. Our guide will help you explore this museum and offer details about Cypriot daily life during this period.
On finishing our visit to the museum we will travel back towards Kyrenia (Girne) and your hotel.
- Pick up and drop off to your hotel
- Travel in a small bus/taxi
- Guiding in English during the tour
- Entrance fees to locations described in the itinerary
During the tour there will be an opportunity for free time and also to stop for lunch, but please note, the cost of lunch is not included in the tour price.
We recommend guests to wear comfortable shoes for walking and to bring plenty of water. During Spring, Autumn and Winter seasons we also recommend guests to bring wet-weather gear. During the tour there will be an opportunity to stop for lunch (not included in tour price) or you can also choose to bring a packed lunch with you.
Book for more than 20 people, contact us directly
We are happy to arrange pick ups and drop offs from any hotels or other accommodations in the Kyrenia (Girne) region including east Kyrenia (to Catalkoy) and west Kyrenia (to Lapta). For this tour we can also arrange pick ups from hotels in Nicosia.
This tour is available all year round (except on public holidays and similar holiday periods). The best time of year are Winter, Spring and Autumn as the central city can get quite hot during July and August.
During the tour there will be an opportunity to stop for lunch, but please note, lunch cost is not included in the tour price.
As we will visit a mosque during the tour guests should please wear appropriate clothing (e.g. covered shoulders), or alternatively bring a scarf or shawl to wear.
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