The name of the capital city of Northern Cyprus dates
back approximately 2,250 years to the original settlement of
Ledra, which was later renamed Lefkotheon, but was also
sometimes referred to as Ledron.
During the Byzantine period the name changed again to
Lefkon, meaning poplar grove. There were a great many
poplar trees lining the banks of the Pedeios river, so the name
was quite apt.
Since the seventh century A.D., Nicosia has been the
capital of Cyprus (except for a brief period during the Venetian
period) because the Arab raids made so many coastal
settlements unsafe. Nicosia was just far enough inland to
escape the worst. The present day capital of the island, it has a population of
around 150,000 and it is divided into Turkish and Greek sectors
by a boundary known as the `Green Line' which runs in an
In the old city of Nicosia, beautiful examples of Gothic and
Ottoman architecture abound - the Selimiye Mosque, the
Bedestan, the Arab Ahmet Mosque, and the Great Inn, to
name but a few.
The recent years have seen a renewed interest and
efforts for the urban regeneration of the old city of Nicosia.
EC and UNDP's UNOPS have been instrumental in this
drive which has seen many ancient, mediaeval buildings
sympathetically restored and renovated. Some of these include:
Bedestan, Samanbahce quarter, Bandabuliya (green market),
See all Nicosia Photos.