The capital divided between the two states
Nicosia (Turkish Lefkoşa) is located approximately in the center of the island and is the capital and largest city of the island of Cyprus. It is the natural metropolis of the island and a center of trade and finance. In ancient times, the city was called Ledra and even then it was one of the most important in the area and was protected by Venetian walls. The city is divided into Greek and Turkish parts, between which there is a border crossing. In the northern Turkish part is a historically significant part of the city.
Cathedral of St. Sofia, now the Selimye Mosque
The most important historical building and one of the dominants of the old city is the Selimiye Mosque. This building was built in the 13th century as the Gothic cathedral of Saint Sophia. It was damaged several times and at the end of the 15th century it was modified into the final form of classical French Gothic. After the city was conquered by the Islamic Turks in September 1570, the inhabitants were murdered or taken into slavery and the city's churches were destroyed. The massive construction of the cathedral was retained because it was turned into a mosque. Two minarets were built into the facade. It is currently the most important Muslim shrine in Cyprus.
Great Court (Buyuk Han)
The large courtyard is located in the very commercial center of the old city near the main mosque. It is one of the most important buildings of Turkish architecture. Built shortly after the conquest of the city in 1572a, it would serve as accommodation for merchants and rare visitors.
Courtyard of a large courtyard
In the middle of the courtyard is a small mosque and a fountain with a fountain, which were used mainly for ritual washing before prayer. Today there are restaurants and souvenir shops.
It is definitely interesting to walk around the old town after dark and sit in one of the countless cafes and pubs.
There are several other caravanserai in the old town, which were used to accommodate people on the road. They all have architecture similar to these buildings throughout Anatolia.
Of course, there is also an old Turkish bath in the city. These premises are now repaired and used for commercial purposes.
Laiki Geitonia (Traditional Quarter)
There are many traditional taverns and souvenir shops in the narrow streets of the old quarter. The most famous shopping street is Ledra Street, lined with shops and restaurants. At the end of this street is a border crossing, where it is possible to cross to the southern Greek part of the city and the island from 2008.
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