Ancient Nicosia, Cyprus

Traveling around Cyprus is quite easy and not expensive. There are many buses from the International Airport of Larnaca traveling to different regions. The most used one is probably the one that goes to the center of Larnaca. From here you can also take buses to every city of Cyprus. But if you are traveling to somewhere else than Larnaca, you can also find buses from the airport going to desired directions. As we had to go to Ayia Napa, we decided to take a direct bus N59 that cost us only 10Eur each. Bus drops each passenger to the registered hotel/address. It’s probably the best option to take as taxis with the same rout will cost more than 50Eur. Of course there were cheaper options such as take a bus from the airport to the center of Larnaca, then wait for some other buses to Ayia Napa that will arrive only in 1-2 hours, then take a taxi or a local bus to go to the hotel. Sounds not very comfortable ))
If you’re going to travel to any city of Cyprus, there is a great option to take intercity bus that has exact time schedule for each destination (prices and schedules see here). Roads are super smooth and with no traffic jam so buses go quite fast and arrive even earlier than expected. We had a chance to take those buses for trips to Nicosia and Larnaca. Although beaches in Cyprus are super nice, there is almost nothing to see on the ways. At least in October, when we were here, the island was dry, with almost no green growing. It was more close to some desert or heath. But the cities were quite well constructed. In both cities visited there was almost no any ancient place saved. But both cities, as well as Ayia Napa were full of blooming trees on the streets, cafes and everywhere.

Nicosia in Greek is known as “Lefkosia” and is the only city in Europe which is divided in two by a green line which separated the Greek – Cypriots from the Turkish – Cypriots. Exact half of it remains to Cyprus and the other half is in territory of Turkey. If anyone would like to cross the border, he just need to show a passport to guardians to register. There is an internal agreement between 2 countries to keep the peace. This “green line” crosses the downtown of Nicosia, which has very old buildings, not reconstructed, looking dark and grey, almost ruined. But the narrow streets are brightened up by lots of cafes and restaurants, shops and markets.

According to Greek mythology, Nicosia was a siren, one of the daughters of Acheloous and Pelpomeni and her name is translated as White Substance. Built on the River Pedieos, Nicosia is the base of the Republic of Cyprus. In antiquity the town was named as Lydra and it was one of the ancient kingdoms in Cyprus.

Some historical fact about Nicosia:
Known as Lydra in the antiquity, the town was the base of the Frank Kings of Cyprus from 1192. It was taken over by the Venetians in 1489 and by the Turks in 1570. From 1963 and after, the north part which was the Turkish community of the town later became the enclave residents of the Turkish Cypriots.
The town of Nicosia (formerly known as Lydra) is a successor town of the ancient Ledron, one of the twelve kingdoms in ancient Cyprus which had been formed by the Acheous after the Trojan War. 
The main street of the downtown that everyone goes to walk or have a drink is Lydra. This is the only touristic area in Nicosia. The other neighborhoods are already with high and comparable new built buildings, which are mostly residential and business areas. Despite of the fact that this is a very old city, it’s growing fast and blooming. Nicosia is considered to be one the richest towns in the Middle East.

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