Situated in the centre of the island Lefkosia (Nicosia) the capital of the island is a busy modern commercial and business centre. Situated roughly in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government. It is currently the only divided capital in the world, due to Turkey's military occupation of part of Cyprus.

The city centre is its old quarter, a jumble of narrow streets with sandstone buildings with overhanging balconies and inner courtyards. Mosques and palm trees give it an oriental atmosphere, while a beautifully restored pedestrian precinct, Laiki Yeitonia, has craft shops, cafes and tavernas.

The old quarter is surrounded by a sandstone fortress wall with a moat and heart-shaped bastions, built by the Venetian in a vain effort to keep out the Turkish army in the 16th century. One of the three original entrances into the old city, Famagusta Gate, has now been restored and turned into a cultural centre.

1.jpg Nicosia  - Old town The Athalassa Park in Nicosia The D’Avilla moat at the Venetian walls of Nicosia

The Cyprus Museum houses the best collection of archaeological artefacts on the island, including a first century AD Roman statuette of Aphrodite of Soli and the original mosaic of Leda and the Swan, while the Leventis museum depicts the history of the town.

The splendid Byzantine museum at the Archbishopric has the largest collection of church icons in Cyprus including the famous 6th century mosaics that were stolen from the church of Kanakaria in the north of the island and sold on the black art market but were retrieved following a landmark trial in the US.

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