Nicosia (/ˌnɪkəˈsiːə/ NIK-ə-SEE-ə; Greek: Λευκωσία, romanized: Lefkosía [lefkoˈsi.a]; Turkish: Lefkoşa [lefˈkoʃa]) is the largest city, capital, and seat of government of the island of Cyprus. It is located near the centre of the Mesaoria plain, on the banks of the River Pedieos.
Nicosia is the southeasternmost of all EU member states' capitals. It has been continuously inhabited for over 4,500 years and has been the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities of Nicosia segregated into the south and north of the city respectively in early 1964, following the fighting of the Cyprus crisis of 1963–64 that broke out in the city. This separation became a militarised border between the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus after Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus in 1974, occupying the north of the island, including northern Nicosia. Today North Nicosia is the capital of Northern Cyprus, a state recognized only by Turkey, that is considered to be occupied Cypriot territory by the international community.
Apart from its legislative and administrative functions, Nicosia has established itself as the island's financial capital and its main international business centre. In 2018, Nicosia was the 32nd richest city in the world in relative purchasing power.
Location of Nicosia in Cyprus
Nicosia (European Union)
|• Mayor of Nicosia Municipality||Constantinos Yiorkadjis (Ind.)|
|• Mayor of Nicosia Turkish Municipality||Mehmet Harmancı (TDP)|
|Elevation||220 m (720 ft)|
|The south's urban includes the municipalities of Nicosia (south), Agios Dometios, Egkomi, Strovolos, Aglantzia, Lakatameia, Anthoupolis, Latsia and Yeri. The north's includes North Nicosia, Gönyeli, Gerolakkos and Kanli.|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Area code(s)||+357 22|
|ISO 3166 code||CY-01|
The earliest mention of Nicosia is in the clay prism of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon in 672 BC. This is a mention to the city-state of Ledra located on the site of Nicosia, and the city is named "Lidir". The name Ledra and variations (such as Ledroi) remained in use as late as 392 AD, when it was used in writing by Saint Jerome. However, that text also refers the city as "Leucotheon", and early Christian sources of this period are the first to use similar variations of the name Lefkosia (e.g. Leuteonos). The origin of the name "Lefkosia" is considered by scholars to be a "toponymic puzzle". The name is recorded in the majority of Byzantine sources as "Leukousia", and it is accepted in literature that the name "most probably" derives from the Greek phrase "leuke ousia" ("white estate").
Nicosia has been in continuous habitation since the beginning of the Bronze Age 2500 years BC, when the first inhabitants settled in the fertile plain of Mesaoria. Nicosia later became a city-state known as Ledra or Ledrae, one of the twelve kingdoms of ancient Cyprus built by Achaeans after the end of the Trojan War. Remains of old Ledra today can be found in the Ayia Paraskevi hill in the south east of the city. Only one king of Ledra is known: Onasagoras. The kingdom of Ledra was destroyed early. Under Assyrian rule of Cyprus, Onasagoras was recorded as paying tribute to Esarhaddon of Assyria in 672 BC. By 330 BC, Ledra was recorded to be a small unimportant town. It is thought that the settlement was economically and politically dependent on the nearby town of Chytri. The main activity of the town inhabitants was farming. During this era, Ledra did not have the huge growth that the other Cypriot coastal towns had, which was primarily based on trade.
In Byzantine times, the town was also referred to as Λευκωσία (Lefkosia) or as Καλληνίκησις (Kallenikesis). In the 4th century AD, the town became the seat of bishopric, with bishop Saint Tryphillius (Trifillios), a student of Saint Spyridon. Archaeological evidence indicates that the town regained much of its earlier significance in the early Christian period, and the presence of two or three basilicas with opus sectile decorations, along with marbles decorated with high relief indicate the presence of a relatively prosperous and sophisticated Christian society.
After the destruction of Salamis, the existing capital of Cyprus, by Arab raids in 647, along with extensive damage to other coastal settlements, the economy of the island became much more inward-looking and inland towns gained relative significance. Nicosia benefited from this and functioned as an outlet of the agricultural products from its hinterland, the Mesaoria plain. It further was at an advantageous position due to its ample water supply. As such, the town developed enough for the Byzantine Empire to choose Nicosia as the capital of the island around 965, when Cyprus rejoined the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines moved the island's administration seat to Nicosia primarily for security reasons as coastal towns were often suffering from raids. From that point on it has remained as the capital of Cyprus. Nicosia was the seat of the Byzantine governor of Cyprus; the last Byzantine governor was Isaac Komnenos, who declared himself emperor of the island and ruled the island from 1183 to 1191. Testimony as late as 1211 indicates that Nicosia was not a walled city at that point and thus that the Byzantines did not build a city wall, thinking that the city's inland location would be sufficient for defense purposes. The Byzantines did, however, build a relatively weak fort within the city. The economy under Byzantine rule consisted mostly of the trading of agricultural goods, but the town also produced luxury items and metalware due to the presence of the imperial administration.
On his way to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade in 1187, Richard I of England's fleet was plagued by storms. He himself stopped first at Crete and then at Rhodes. Three ships continued on, one of which was carrying Joan of England, Queen of Sicily and Berengaria of Navarre, Richard's bride-to-be. Two of the ships were wrecked off Cyprus, but the ship bearing Joan and Berengaria made it safely to Limassol. Joan refused to come ashore, fearing she would be captured and held hostage by Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus, who hated all Franks. Her ship sat at anchor for a full week before Richard finally arrived on 8 May. Outraged at the treatment of his sister and his future bride, Richard invaded.
The Frankish rule of Cyprus started from 1192 and lasted until 1489. During this time, Nicosia was the capital of the medieval Kingdom of Cyprus, the seat of Lusignan kings, the Latin Church and the Frankish administration of the island. During the Frankish rule, the walls of the city were built along with many other palaces and buildings, including the gothic St. Sophia Cathedral. The tombs of the Lusignan kings can be found there. The exonym Nicosia appeared with the arrival of the Lusignans. The French-speaking Crusaders either could not, or did not care to, pronounce the name Lefkosia, and tended to say "Nicosie" translated into Italian and then internationally known as "Nicosia".
In 1489, when Cyprus came under the rule of the Republic of Venice, Nicosia became their administrative centre and the seat of the Republic. The Venetian Governors saw it as a necessity for all the cities of Cyprus to be fortified due to the Ottoman threat. In 1567 Venetians built the new fortifications of Nicosia, which are well-preserved until today, demolishing the old walls built by the Franks as well as other important buildings of the Frankish era including the King's Palace, other private palaces and churches and monasteries of both Orthodox and Latin Christians. The new walls took the shape of a star with eleven bastions. The design of the bastion is more suitable for artillery and a better control for the defenders. The walls have three gates, to the North Kyrenia Gate, to the west Paphos Gate and to the east Famagusta Gate. The river Pedieos used to flow through the Venetian walled city. In 1567 it was later diverted outside onto the newly built moat for strategic reasons, due to the expected Ottoman attack.
On 1 July 1570, the Ottomans invaded the island. On 22 July, Piyale Pasha having captured Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca marched his army towards Nicosia and laid siege to the city. The city managed to last 40 days under siege until its fall on 9 September 1570. The story of the Cypriot martyr Arnaude de Rocas dates from the fall of Nicosia. Some 20,000 residents died during the siege and every church, public building, and palace was looted. Nicosia had an estimated population of 21,000 before the Ottoman conquest, and based on the Ottoman census data of 1572, the population had been reduced to 1,100–1,200. The devastation of the city was so extensive that for the few years after the conquest, a number of villages in the island had a larger population than Nicosia. The main Latin churches were converted into mosques, such as the conversion of the Saint Sophia Cathedral.
Nicosia was the seat of the Pasha, the Greek Archbishop, the Dragoman and the Qadi. The Palazzo del Governo of Venetian times became the seat of the Pasha, the governor of Cyprus, and the building was renamed as the Konak or Seraglio (Saray). The square outside was known as Seraglio Square or Sarayonu (literally front of the Saray), as it is known to the present day. The saray was demolished in 1904 and the present block of Government Offices built on the site.
When the newly settled Turkish population arrived they generally lived in the north of the old riverbed. Greek Cypriots remained concentrated in the south, where the Archbishopric of the Orthodox Church was built. Other ethnic minority groups such as the Armenians and Latins came to be settled near the western entry into the city at Paphos Gate.
The names of the 12 quarters into which Nicosia was originally divided at the time of the Ottoman Conquest are said to be derived from the 12 generals in command of divisions of the Ottoman army at the time. Each general being posted to a quarter, that quarter (with two exceptions) was known by his name as follows:
The names of the generals in command of the last two quarters have been lost:
Later the number of neighbourhoods was increased to 24. Each neighbourhood was organised around a mosque or a church, where mainly the respective Muslim and Christian communities lived.
|Source for 1881–1960.|
Nicosia came under the rule of the United Kingdom on 5 July 1878 in consequence of the Cyprus Convention. The old Ottoman administrative headquarters (the Saray) was replaced in 1904 by a new building containing Law Courts, the Land Registry, and the Forestry, Customs, and Nicosia Commissioner's Offices. Adjacent was the Nicosia Police headquarters, while opposite were the General Post Office and the Telegraph Office. A Venetian Column, previously in a fenced courtyard near the Saray, was restored on a new site in the summer of 1915 in the middle of Saray Square. The Nicosia column was presumably erected in compliment to the reigning Doge Francesco Donati about the year 1550.
Just after the British Occupation a Municipal Council was constituted in Nicosia in 1882 for the general administration of public affairs within the city and for a certain area without the walls, under the presidency of a Mayor. The first municipal offices were in Municipality Square (now the central municipal market), but in 1944 the offices were transferred temporarily to the d'Avila bastion and in 1952 this was made permanent with a decision to renovate the building.
In 1923 the municipal limits were extended further (see map) and this new area was divided among several of the existing intramural Neighbourhoods. In 1938 the boundary was extended to the present limits in the west and to the boundaries of Ayii Omoloyites, Palouriotissa, Kaimakli and Omorfita. In 1944 the village authority of Ayii Omoloyites was absorbed, then, shortly after independence, Palouriotissa, Kaimakli and Omorfita were annexed to the city in 1968.
In 1955 an armed struggle against British rule began aiming to unite the island with Greece, Enosis. The struggle was led by EOKA, a Greek Cypriot nationalist military resistance organisation, and supported by the vast majority of Greek Cypriots. The unification with Greece failed and instead the independence of Cyprus was declared in 1960. During the period of the struggle, Nicosia was the scene of violent protests against British rule.
In 1960 Nicosia became the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, a state established by the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In 1963, the Greek Cypriot side proposed amendments to the constitution, which were rejected by the Turkish Cypriot community. During the aftermath of this crisis, on 21 December 1963, intercommunal violence broke out between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Nicosia was divided into Greek and Turkish Cypriot quarters with the Green Line, named after the colour of the pen used by the United Nations officer to draw the line on a map of the city. This resulted in Turkish Cypriots withdrawing from the government, and following more intercommunal violence in 1964, a number of Turkish Cypriots moved to the Turkish quarter of Nicosia, causing serious overcrowding.
On 15 July 1974, there was an attempted coup d'état led by the Greek military junta to unite the island with Greece. The coup ousted president Makarios III and replaced him with pro-enosis nationalist Nikos Sampson.
On 20 July 1974, the coup d'état precipitated the invasion of the island by the Turkish army. The operation included two phases. The second phase of the Turkish invasion was performed on 14 August 1974, where the Turkish army advanced their positions, eventually capturing a total of 37% of Cypriot territory including the northern part of Nicosia. The fighting left the island with a massive refugee problem on both sides.
On 13 February 1975 the Turkish Cypriot community declared the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus in the area occupied by Turkish forces. On 15 November 1983, Turkish Cypriots proclaimed their independence as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
On 23 April 2003, the Ledra Palace crossing was opened through the Green Line, the first time that crossing was allowed since 1974. This was followed by the opening of Ayios Dometios/Metehan crossing point on 9 May 2003. On 3 April 2008, the Ledra Street crossing was also reopened.
From 30 October 2016 onwards, Nicosia became the only capital city in the world to have two time zones, after the parliament of the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus abolished standard time and decided that Northern Cyprus remains at UTC+03:00 year-round, following Turkey's example. The following year, due to criticism from the Turkish Cypriot public in the north, the Turkish Cypriot government decided to go back to standard time, following the rest of Europe.
Nicosia has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh) due to its low annual precipitation totals and annual temperature range. The city experiences long, hot, dry summers, and cool to mild winters, with most of the rainfall occurring in winter. Winter precipitation is occasionally accompanied by sleet but rarely by snow. The accumulation of snow is particularly rare (last events occurred in 1950,1974 and 1997). There is occasionally light frost during the winter nights. At the Lefkopa weather station in Nicosia, the temperature reached 44.7°C on 2 July 2017.
Ledra Street is in the middle of the walled city. The street has historically been the busiest shopping street of the capital and adjacent streets lead to the most lively part of the old city with narrow streets, boutiques, bars and art-cafés. The street today is a historic monument on its own. It is about 1 km (0.6 mi) long and connects the south and north parts of the old city. 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 colonialists by nationalist fighters along its course. In 1963, during the outbreak of hostilities between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, following the announcement of amendments to the Cypriot Constitution, Turkish Cypriots withdrew to the northern part of Nicosia which became one of the many Turkish Cypriot enclaves which existed throughout the island. Various streets which ran between the northern and southern part of the city, including Ledra Street, were blockaded. During the Turkish army invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Turkish troops occupied northern Nicosia (as well as the northern part of Cyprus). A buffer zone was established across the island along the ceasefire line to separate the northern Turkish controlled part of the island, and the south. The buffer zone runs through Ledra Street. After many failed attempts on reaching agreement between the two communities, Ledra Street was reopened on 3 April 2008.
To the east of Ledra Street, Faneromeni Square was the centre of Nicosia before 1974. It hosts a number of historical buildings and monuments including Faneromeni Church, Faneromeni School, Faneromeni Library and the Marble Mausoleum. Faneromeni Church, is a church built in 1872 in the stead of another church located at the same site, constructed with the remains of La Cava castle and a convent. There rest the archbishop and the other bishops who were executed by the Ottomans in the Saray Square during the 1821 revolt. The Palace of the Archbishop can be found at Archbishop Kyprianos Square. Although it seems very old, it is a wonderful imitation of typical Venetian style, built in 1956. Next to the palace is the late Gothic Saint John cathedral (1665) with picturesque frescos. The square leads to Onasagorou Street, another busy shopping street in the historical centre.
The walls surrounding the old city have three gates. In The Kyrenia Gate which was responsible to the transport to the north, and especially Kyrenia, the Famagusta Gate which was responsible for the transport from Famagusta, Larnaca and Limassol and Karpasia, and the Paphos Gate for transport to the west and especially Paphos. All three gates are well-preserved.
The historical centre is clearly present inside the walls, but the modern city has grown beyond. Presently, the main square of the city is Eleftheria (Freedom) Square, with the city hall, the post office and the library. The square which is currently under renovation, connects the old city with the new city where one can find the main shopping streets such as the prestigious Stasikratous Street, Themistokli Dervi Avenue and Makarios Avenue.
Nicosia is also known for its fine museums. The Archbishop's Palace contains a Byzantine museum containing the largest collection of religious icons on the island. Leventis Municipal Museum is the only historical museum of Nicosia and revives the old ways of life in the capital from ancient times up to our days. Other interesting museums include the Folk Art Museum, National Struggle Museum (witnessing the rebellion against the British administration in the 1950s), Cyprus Ethnological Museum (House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, 18th century) and the Handicrafts Centre.
At the center of the walled city lies the Sarayönü Square. The square has been dubbed as "the heart of Nicosia" and historically has been the cultural center of the Turkish Cypriot community. In the middle of the square stands the Venetian Column, known simply as "the Obelisk" ("Dikiltaş") to the locals and symbolic of the country's government. The column was brought from the ancient city of Salamis by the Venetians in 1550. The Girne Avenue connects Sarayönü to the Kyrenia Gate and the İnönü Square in front of it. The avenue has been described as "the symbol of the walled city", and is filled with numerous shops and restaurants.
Next to the Ledra Street checkpoint is the Arasta area. The area was pedestrianized in 2013 and is home to a network of historic shopping streets, reflecting an eastern shopping tradition with food and traditional items. Nearby Büyük Han, the largest caravanserai in the island and considered to be one of the finest buildings in Cyprus, was built in 1572 by the Ottomans and currently functions as a cultural center. To the west of the Girne Avenue lies the Samanbahçe neighborhood, built in the 19th century by the government, considered to be the first example of social housing in the island. Still a residential area, the neighborhood is considered to be one of the best representations of the Cypriot culture. Another central point in the walled city is the Selimiye Mosque, originally built as the St. Sophia Cathedral. The mosque is the chief religious center in Northern Cyprus. It was built between 1209 and 1228 by the Latin Church of Cyprus, in a Gothic style resembling French cathedrals. Next to the mosque is the Bedesten, a large Greek church in the Byzantine and Gothic styles, built in the 14th century. It was used as a marketplace in the Ottoman era. Today, it is used as a cultural center where various cultural activities such as concerts and festivals take place.
The quarters of Nicosia outside the walled city are more spacious than the walled city, with wider roads and junctions. These areas are characterized by multi-floor concrete buildings. In the outskirts of the city, a number large and imposing villas have been built that belong to the middle and upper-classes. The Dereboyu Avenue serves as the modern heart of the northern part and is its center of entertainment.
Greater Nicosia is administered by several municipalities. In the centre is the city municipality of Nicosia itself (see below). Other municipalities are Strovolos, Lakatamia, Latsia, Aglandjia, Engomi, Agios Dhometios and the newly formed (as of 2011) Yeri & Tseri.
The population of the conurbation is 300,000 (2011 census, plus Turkish Cypriot administered census of 2006) of which 100,000 live within the Nicosia municipal area. Because Nicosia municipality has separate communal municipal administrations, the population of Strovolos (67,904 (2011 Census)) is actually the largest of all the local authorities in Greater Nicosia.
There is no metropolitan authority as such for Greater Nicosia and various roles, responsibilities and functions for the wider area are undertaken by the Nicosia District administration, bodies such as the Nicosia Water Board and, to some extent, Nicosia municipality.
The Nicosia Water Board supplies water to the following municipalities: Nicosia, Strovolos, Aglandjia, Engomi, Ay. Dometios, Latsia, Geri and Tseri. The board consists of three persons nominated by the Council of each municipality, plus three members appointed by the government, who are usually the District Officer of Nicosia District, who chairs the Board, the Accountant General and the Director of the Water Department. The board also supply Anthoupolis and Ergates, for whom the government provide representatives. Thus the board is in the majority controlled by the municipalities of Greater Nicosia in providing this vital local government service.
The Nicosia Sewerage Board, is likewise majority controlled by the municipalities of Greater Nicosia. It is chaired ex officio by the Mayor of Nicosia and consists of members chosen by the municipalities of Nicosia (6 members), Strovolos (5 members), Aglandjia (2 members), Lakatamia (2 members), Ay. Dometios (2 members), Engomi (2 members), Latsia (1 member). The sewage treatment plant is at Mia Milia. The Nicosia Sewerage System serves a population of approximately 140,000 and an area of 20 km2 (8 sq mi). Approximately 30% of the influent is contributed by the Turkish Cypriot Side.
Public transport is not controlled by the local authorities, but comes under the Nicosia District administration, which is an arm of the Ministry of the Interior. Transport services (primarily bus and taxi) are provided by an agency of the Nicosia District (OSEL) or private companies.
The Nicosia Municipality is responsible for all the municipal duties within the walled city and the immediately adjacent areas. The Constitution states that various main government buildings and headquarters must be situated within the Nicosia municipal boundaries. However separate municipalities are prescribed by the constitution for in the five largest towns, including Nicosia, and in the case of Nicosia the separate administration was established in 1958. The Turkish Municipal Committees (Temporary Provisions) Law, 1959 established a municipal authority run by a "Turkish Municipal Committee", defined as "the body of persons set up on or after the first day of July, 1958, in the towns of Nicosia, Limassol, Famagusta, Larnaca and Paphos by the Turkish inhabitants thereof for the purpose of performing municipal functions within the municipal limits of such towns".The Nicosia Turkish Municipality, founded in 1958, carries out municipal duties in the northern and north-western part of city. The remaining areas, in the south and east of the city, are administered by Nicosia Municipality.
The first attempt to establish a Nicosia Turkish Municipality was made in 1958. In October 1959, the British Colonial Administration passed the Turkish Municipality Committees law. In 1960 with the declaration of independence of Cyprus, the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus gave Turkish Cypriots the right to establish their own municipality. As negotiations between the two sides to establish separate municipalities failed in 1962, implementing legislation was never passed. Since the complete division of Nicosia following the Turkish Invasion in 1974, the Nicosia Turkish Municipality has become the de facto local authority of northern Nicosia. The Nicosia Turkish Municipality is a member the Union of Cyprus Turkish Municipalities. The current mayor is Mehmet Harmancı from the Communal Democracy Party.
Until 1986 there were no suburban municipalities. Then, following the procedures in the Municipal Law 111/1985, Strovolos, Engomi, Ay. Dometios, Aglandjia, Latsia and Lakatamia were erected into municipalities. Each municipal council has the number of members described in the Municipal Law 111/1985 depending on the population figures. All members of the council are elected directly by the people for a period of 5 years.
Nicosia within the city limits is divided into 29 administrative units, according to the latest census. This unit is termed in English as quarter, neighbourhood, parish, enoria or mahalla. These units are: Ayios Andreas(formerly Tophane), Trypiotis, Nebethane, Tabakhane, Phaneromeni, Ayios Savvas, Omerie, Ayios Antonios (St. Anthony), St. John, Taht-el-kale, Chrysaliniotissa, Ayios Kassianos (Kafesli), Kaïmakli, Panayia, St Constantine & Helen, Ayioi Omoloyites, Arab Ahmet, Yeni Jami, Omorfita, Ibrahim Pasha, Mahmut Pasha, Abu Kavouk, St. Luke, Abdi Chavush, Iplik Pazar and Korkut Effendi, Ayia Sophia, Haydar Pasha, Karamanzade, and Yenişehir/Neapolis.
The municipality of Strovolos, established in 1986, is the second largest municipal authority in Cyprus in terms of population after Limassol and encompasses the southern suburbs of the capital immediately adjacent to Nicosia municipality. Lakatamia, Latsia, Geri and Aglandjia are other separate municipalities in the Nicosia metropolitan area.
The town of Gönyeli is now conurbated with the northern suburbs. Previously a village authority, it now functions as a municipality within the same area The suburbs immediately to the north of the city have not been erected into municipalities. The village authority of Hamitköy (also known as Hamid Mandres) was heavily urbanized and was included within the borders of Nicosia Turkish Municipality as a Nicosia neighbourhood headed by a muhtar. Ortakeuy Village authority has similarly been redefined as a neighbourhood of Nicosia Turkish Municipality.
The Cyprus Museum in Nicosia is the largest and oldest archaeological museum in Cyprus. In old Nicosia, the Ethnological Museum (Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios Mansion) is the most important example of urban architecture of the last century of Ottoman domination which survives in old Nicosia. Today, the mansion which was awarded the Europa Nostra prize for its exemplary renovation work, functions as a museum where a collection of artifacts from the Byzantine, Medieval and Ottoman periods are displayed. Other museums in Nicosia include the Cyprus Museum of Natural History and the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia and Von World Pens Hall in the south. In the north, the Dervish Pasha Mansion, similar in architecture to the Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios Mansion, serves as an ethnological museum, displaying Ottoman and archaeological artifacts. Other museums include the Lusignan House, the Mevlevi Tekke Museum, associated with the sect of the Whirling Dervishes, and the Lapidary Museum.
Art galleries in Nicosia include the Leventis Gallery, which hosts over 800 paintings from Cypriot, Greek or European artists.
Nicosia offers a wide variety of musical and theatrical events, organized either by the municipality or independent organizations. Halls and theatres used for this purpose include:
Nicosia's universities also boast an impressive array of facilities, and many churches and outdoor spaces are used to host cultural events. The Near East University hosts the Atatürk Cultural and Conference Centre, with 700 seats.
Nicosia has a large student community as it is the seat of eight universities, the University of Cyprus (UCY), the University of Nicosia, the European University Cyprus, the Open University of Cyprus, Frederick University, Near East University, the University of Mediterranean Karpasia, Cyprus International University.
Nicosia is the financial and business heart of Cyprus. The city hosts the headquarters of all Cypriot banks namely the former Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), Bank of Cyprus, the Hellenic Bank. Further, the Central Bank of Cyprus is located in the Acropolis area of the Cypriot capital. A number of international businesses base their Cypriot headquarters in Nicosia, such as the big four audit firms PWC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young. International technology companies such as NCR and TSYS have their regional headquarters in Nicosia. The city is also home to local financial newspapers such as the Financial Mirror and Stockwatch. Cyprus Airways had its head offices in the entrance of Makariou Avenue. According to a recent UBS survey in August 2011, Nicosia is the wealthiest per capita city of the Eastern Mediterranean and the tenth richest city in the world by purchasing power in 2011.
Nicosia is linked with other major cities in Cyprus via a modern motorway network. The A1 connects Nicosia with Limassol in the south with the A6 going from Limassol onto Paphos. The A2 links Nicosia with the south eastern city of Larnaca with the A3 going from Larnaca to Ayia Napa. The A9 connects Nicosia to the west Nicosia district villages and the Troodos mountains. The capital is also linked to the 2 international airports: Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport. (Nicosia International Airport ceased commercial operations in 1974; it is located within the Green Line buffer zone, and is currently used as the headquarters of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.)
Public transport within the city is currently served by a new and reliable bus service. Bus services in Nicosia are run by OSEL. In the northern part, the company of LETTAŞ provides this service. Many taxi companies operate in Nicosia. Fares are regulated by law and taxi drivers are obliged to use a taximeter.
In 2010, as part of the Nicosia Integrated Mobility Plan, a pre-feasibility study for a proposed tram network has taken place and sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Works. The study compared two scenarios, with and without the operation of a tramway in terms of emitted polluting loads.
In 2011, the Nicosia Municipality introduced the Bike in Action scheme, a bicycle sharing system which covers the Greater Nicosia area. The scheme is run by the Inter-Municipal Bicycle Company of Nicosia (DEPL).
There is currently no train network in Cyprus however plans for the creation of an intercity railway are currently under way. The first railway line on the island was the Cyprus Government Railway which operated from 1905 to 1951. It was closed down due to financial reasons.
Football is the most popular sport in Cyprus, and Nicosia is home of three major teams of the island; APOEL, Omonia and Olympiakos. APOEL and Omonia are dominant in Cypriot football. There are also many other football clubs in Nicosia and the suburbs. The city also hosts Çetinkaya, Yenicami, Küçük Kaymaklı and Gönyeli, four of the major Turkish Cypriot clubs. Nicosia is also home to Ararat FC, the island's only Armenian FC.
Nicosia is also the home for many clubs for basketball, handball and other sports. APOEL and Omonia have basketball and volleyball sections and Keravnos is one of the major basketball teams of the island. The Gymnastic Club Pancypria (GSP), the owner of the Neo GSP Stadium, is one of the major athletics clubs of the island. Also, all teams in the Futsal First Division are from Nicosia. In Addition, European University and SPE Strovolou are the two best handball teams in Cyprus and they are both located in Nicosia.
Nicosia has some of the biggest venues in the island; the Neo GSP Stadium, with capacity of 23,400, is the home for the national team, APOEL, Olympiakos and Omonia. Makario Stadium has a capacity of 16,000. In the north, the Nicosia Atatürk Stadium has a capacity of 28,000. The Eleftheria Indoor Hall is the biggest basketball stadium in Cyprus, with capacity of 6,500 seats and is the home for the national team, APOEL and Omonia. The Lefkotheo indoor arena is the volleyball stadium for APOEL and Omonia.
Nicosia hosted the 2000 ISSF World Cup Final shooting events for the shotgun. Also the city hosted two basketball events; the European Saporta Cup in 1997 and the 2005 FIBA Europe All Star Game in the Eleftheria Indoor Hall. Another event which was hosted in Nicosia were the Games of the Small States of Europe in 1989 and 2009.
Camped on a tiny sliver of land that forms part of a United Nations-controlled buffer zone in the heart of Nicosia, these 18-year-olds and their friends are calling for a return to a way of life they have never known, one in which their communities can mix freely... It is fitting that the youths’ movement is on Ledra Street, a bustling thoroughfare where the first seeds of Cyprus’s separation were sown in the 1950s.
The EOKA rebelled against the British colonial government on April 1, 1955. EOKA insurgents attacked police stations in Nicosia and Kyrenia on June 19, 1955. One individual was killed and fourteen individuals were injured in an explosion near the Central Police Station in Nicosia on June 21, 1955... Turkish Cypriots demonstrated against the British colonial government in Nicosia on January 27–29, 1958. Seven Turkish Cypriots were killed in clashes with British soldiers in Nicosia on January 27, 1958.
Athletic Club Omonia Nicosia (Greek: Αθλητικός Σύλλογος Oμόνοιας Λευκωσίας, ΑΣΟΛ; Athlitikos Sillogos Omonia Lefkosias, ASOL) is a Cypriot professional football club based in Nicosia. The club was established on 4 June 1948. The football team of AC Omonia joined the Cyprus Football Association in 1953. On 29 May 2018 the football team of AC Omonia became a profesional for-profit football company.Omonia is one of the most popular and historically successful football clubs in Cyprus, having won 20 national championships, 14 cups and 16 super cups. Omonia holds an outstanding record of 14 championships in two decades (between 1970–1989), a record of being either champion or runner-up 14 times in a row in the championship (between 1973-1986), and the record of having won the Cypriot Cup four times in a row (between 1980 and 1983).
The AC Omonia also operates basketball, volleyball, cycling and futsal. The latter one is being particularly successful, having won the league and cup in three consecutive years since 2011.APOEL FC
APOEL FC (Greek: ΑΠΟΕΛ; short for Αθλητικός Ποδοσφαιρικός Όμιλος Ελλήνων Λευκωσίας, Athletikos Podosferikos Omilos Ellinon Lefkosias, "Athletic Football Club of Greeks of Nicosia") is a professional football club based in Nicosia, Cyprus. APOEL is the most popular and the most successful football team in Cyprus with an overall tally of 28 national championships, 21 cups, and 13 super cups.APOEL's greatest moment in the European competitions occurred in the 2011–12 season, when the club participated in the group stages of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League (along with FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Zenit St. Petersburg). The club achieved qualification for the quarter-finals of the competition by topping the group and eliminating Olympique Lyonnais in the last 16, becoming the only Cypriot club to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. APOEL's European competitions highlights also include appearances in the group stages of the 2009–10 and 2014–15 UEFA Champions League and the group stages of the 2013–14, 2015–16, and 2016–17 UEFA Europa League. They marked their most successful UEFA Europa League campaign during the 2016–17 season, when they managed to top their group (along with Olympiacos, Young Boys, and Astana) and eliminated Athletic Bilbao in the round of 32, to reach the last 16 of the competition for the first time in their history. APOEL is the only Cypriot club who have reached the group stages (and the knockout stages) of both major UEFA competitions (UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League). In the 2016–17 season, APOEL drew an average home league attendance of 7,126 and their highest league attendance was 15,462. Both were the highest in the league.APOEL FC is part of the APOEL multi-sport club, which was founded in 1926 and maintains departments for several sports including football, basketball, volleyball, futsal, table tennis, bowling, cycling, archery, swimming and water polo. APOEL is one of the founding members of the Cyprus Football Association and also an ordinary member of the European Club Association, an organization that replaced the previous G-14 which consists of major football clubs in Europe.Cyprus Football Association
The Cyprus Football Association (CFA; Greek: Κυπριακή Ομοσπονδία Ποδοσφαίρου (ΚΟΠ); Turkish: Kıbrıs Futbol Federasyonu (KFF)) is the governing body of football in Cyprus and is based in Nicosia. It organizes the football championships, whose top league is the Cypriot First Division. It also organizes the Cypriot Cup, the Cypriot Super Cup and the Cypriot national football team. Cyprus Football Association is also responsible for organizing all the futsal competitions, like the Cypriot Futsal league, the Cypriot Futsal Cup and the Cypriot Futsal Super Cup.
Organized football was introduced to Cyprus early in the 20th century by the British. Initially played in the island's schools, it proved hugely popular and a number of clubs were duly formed. As football became established, the clubs were united in agreeing that an official body was needed to regulate the sport. On 23 September 1934, the Cyprus Football Association was founded by the following eight clubs: AEL Limassol, Anorthosis Famagusta, APOEL, Aris Limassol, EPA Larnaca, Olympiakos Nicosia, Lefkoşa Türk Spor Kulübü and Trust. After Cyprus Football Association's establishment football began to be played on an official basis with the CFA organizing various championships for its member clubs. It became FIFA member in 1948 and UEFA member in 1962.
In 2007, Cyprus Football Association moved to its new headquarters in Nicosia. The opening ceremony was attended by UEFA president Michel Platini, and the former president of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos.Over the last decade more and more teams often criticize the organisation about setting up fixed games and having bias referees at fixtures. Most of the football fans in Cyprus dislike the organisation mostly because their own teams criticize the association. The teams and fans often exaggerate referee mistakes although some so called mistakes do raise questions.Cyprus national football team
The Cyprus national football team (Greek: Εθνική ομάδα ποδοσφαίρου της Κύπρου) represents Cyprus in international football and is controlled by the Cyprus Football Association, the governing body for football in Cyprus. Cyprus' home ground is the GSP Stadium in Nicosia and the current coach is Ran Ben Shimon.Dracula in the Provinces
Dracula in the Provinces (Italian: Il cav. Costante Nicosia demoniaco ovvero: Dracula in Brianza) is a 1975 Italian film directed by Lucio Fulci.Fontana di Piazza Nicosia
The Fontana di Piazza Nicosia is a fountain in Rome, Italy, is the first of the modern fountains of Rome. It is located in the square with the same name.
Built in 1572 after the re-activation of the Acqua Vergine aqueduct, it was designed by Giacomo della Porta, and was originally located in the Piazza del Popolo around the obelisk.
In 1823, however, after the fountain was judged to be too small for the size of the piazza, Giuseppe Valadier designed a new fountain for the Popolo, that consisted of four mini-fountains of lions surrounding the obelisk, that can be seen today, and the fountain was moved to its final position in the Piazza Nicosia. Of the original fountain, however, only the large octagonal marble basin is original; the upper baluster and display bowl was a later construction.
The original design included four Tritons, however, once sculpted, they were judged to be too large for the size of the basin, and so became part of the Fontana del Moro.GSP Stadium
The Pancyprian Gymnastic Association Stadium (GSP Stadium) (Greek: Στάδιο Γυμναστικός Σύλλογος "Τα Παγκύπρια") is a football stadium in Strovolos, Nicosia District, Cyprus. Although small by international standards, it is the largest stadium in Cyprus, with a capacity of 22,859 and was opened in 1999. It serves as the home stadium for the two Nicosia's biggest clubs APOEL and Omonia. It is also the home stadium of the Cyprus national football team. A stadium under the same name, the old GSP Stadium, existed from 1902 until 1999 in the centre of Nicosia and had a capacity of 12,000.Gönyeli
Gönyeli (Greek: Κιόνελι, romanized: Kioneli; Turkish: Gönyeli) is a town in Cyprus, near the capital city Nicosia. It is de facto under the control of Northern Cyprus. Over the years the town has merged with North Nicosia, making it connurbated with the city. Its population as of 2011 is 11,671.Keravnos B.C.
Keravnos Strovolou B.C. (Greek: Γυμναστικός Σύλλογος Στροβόλου «Ο Κεραυνός») is a professional basketball club based in Strovolos, Nicosia, Cyprus. The plays its home games in the Costas Papaellinas Arena, which has a capacity of 2,000 spectators.
The club’s president since 1996 is businessman Paris C. Papaellinas, who has also been the main sponsor of the club for the last 20 years.Kizilbash
Kizilbash or Trachonas (Greek: Τράχωνας; Turkish: Kızılay or Kızılbaş) is a northern suburb of Nicosia, Cyprus. De facto, it is under the control of Northern Cyprus.Lakatamia
Lakatamia (Greek: Λακατάμια [lakaˈtamɳa]; Turkish: Lakadamya) is a southwestern suburb of Nicosia, Cyprus. In 2011 Lakatamia had a population of 38,345.
Due to the expansion of the Nicosia urban area, Lakatamia has grown from two small villages (Upper and Lower Lakatamia) into a sizeable suburb. Lower Lakatamia used to be inhabited by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots until the mid-1950s. Its name originates from "alakatia", i.e. wells, which were apparently abundant in the old village. Lakatamia Airfield, an airstrip used by the Cypriot National Guard, is located to the east of Lakatamia.List of football clubs in Cyprus
The following list includes all the men's Association football clubs of Cyprus who are participating or have participated in the national championships of the country. A total of 197 clubs have played in the national championships of Cyprus from their inception in 1934 until the 2019–20 season.
The national championships of Cyprus are the Cypriot First Division, the Cypriot Second Division, the Cypriot Third Division and the Cypriot Fourth Division which has been dissolved after 2014–15 season. The championships are run and organized by the Cyprus Football Association (CFA). Since 2015, National Championship is also the STOK Elite Division which is run and organized by the Confederation of local federations of Cyprus (STOK).
The following table is a list of Cypriot football clubs. For a complete list see Category:Football clubs in Cyprus.Nicosia District
Nicosia District (Greek: Eπαρχία Λευκωσίας; Turkish: Lefkoşa kazası) is one of the six districts of Cyprus. Its main town is the island country's capital city, Nicosia. The TRNC-controlled northern part of the district is the Lefkoşa District of the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
TRNC-controlled areas of the Larnaca District of the Republic of Cyprus are administered as part of Nicosia District, while western parts of the Nicosia District under TRNC control are administered as part of the new Güzelyurt and Lefke Districts.North Nicosia
North Nicosia or Northern Nicosia (Turkish: Kuzey Lefkoşa [kuˈzej lefˈkoʃa]) is the capital and largest city of the de facto state of Northern Cyprus. It is the northern part of the divided city of Nicosia and is governed by the Nicosia Turkish Municipality. As of 2011, North Nicosia had a population of 61,378 and a metropolitan area with a population of 82,539.
Following the intercommunal violence of the 1960s, the capital of Republic of Cyprus was divided between the island's Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in the south and north respectively in 1963. A coup by the Greek military junta in an attempt to unite the island with Greece in 1974 led to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and the international community considers North Nicosia to have been under Turkish occupation since then.
The city is the economic, political and cultural centre of Northern Cyprus, with many shops, restaurants and shopping malls. It is home to a historic walled city, centred on the Sarayönü Square, and a modern metropolitan area, with the Dereboyu region as its centre of business and entertainment. Described as a city with high levels of welfare, it has seen great urban growth and development in the 21st century, including the construction of new highways and high-rises. It hosts a significant number of tourists and a variety of cultural activities, including its international festivals of theatre and music. With a student population over 34,000, North Nicosia is an important centre of education and research and is home to four universities, of which the Near East University is the biggest.Olympiakos Nicosia
Olympiakos Nicosia (Greek: Ολυμπιακός Λευκωσίας, Olympiakos Lefkosias) is a football club based in Nicosia, Cyprus and competes in the Cypriot First Division. The club was founded in 1931, and is a founding member of the Cyprus Football Association. The club colors are black and green. Olympiakos' home ground is the Makario Stadium, which has a 16,000-seat capacity. The team's main nickname is "mavroprasini" (the green-blacks), and the club's other nickname is Taktakalas, derived from the area of Nicosia where the club hails from.
Olympiakos Nicosia has won three Cypriot First Division Championships, one Cypriot Cup and one Cyprus Super Cup.
In the past the club also had track and field, basketball, volleyball, cycling, table tennis, weightlifting and futsal teams. It also in the past had an orchestra, choir and camping divisions; the latter explaining why the club's badge has a tent on it.Orfeas Nicosia
Orfeas Nicosia (Greek: Ορφέας Λευκωσίας) is a football club from the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. It was founded in 1948. The club colors are yellow and green. It has participated in the Cypriot First Division four times, from 1959 until 1963. The club's highest achievement is finishing 7th in the 1961–62 season.The club's home ground is unique in being situated adjacent to the medieval Venetian walls of Nicosia, now part of the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus, which has divided the Greek and Turkish parts of the island since the Turkish invasion of 1974.Ortaköy, Nicosia
Ortaköy (Turkish for "middle village"; Greek: Ορτάκιοι) is a northern suburb of Nicosia, Cyprus. It is under the de facto control of Northern Cyprus.Strovolos
Strovolos (Greek: Στρόβολος; Turkish: Strovolos; Armenian: Ստրովոլոս) is a municipality of Nicosia District. With a population of nearly 70,000, it is the second biggest municipality in Cyprus, after Limassol, and the biggest municipality of Nicosia. It was established in 1986.
Strovolos is now a town covering 25 square kilometres (9.7 sq mi) divided into six parishes: Chryseleousa, Ayios Demetrios, Apostolos Varnavas kai Ayios Makarios, Ayios Vasilios, National Martyr Kyprianos and Stavros.Trachoni, Nicosia
Trachoni (Greek: Τραχώνι, Turkish: Demirhan) is a village in the Nicosia District of Cyprus, located just south of Kythrea on the main Nicosia-Famagusta road. The town is under de facto control of Northern Cyprus.
|Climate data for Athalassa, Nicosia, elevation: 162 m (1991–2005 normals, extremes 1915–present) (Satellite view)|
|Record high °C (°F)||22.2
|Average high °C (°F)||15.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||10.6
|Average low °C (°F)||5.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||54.7
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||7.3||6.5||5.4||3.5||2.7||1.3||0.5||0.1||0.6||2.8||4.7||7.7||43.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||182.9||200.1||238.7||267.0||331.7||369.0||387.5||365.8||312.0||275.9||213.0||170.5||3,314.1|
|Source #1: Meteorological Service (Cyprus)|
|Source #2: Meteo Climat (record highs and lows)|
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