Lefkoşa, the northern part of what was once known as Nicosia before 1974, stands as the capital of North Cyprus. Enclosed by Venetian walls, the old town of Lefkoşa is a treasure trove of history, with its modern infrastructure and administrative buildings located outside these walls. While the southern part of the city buzzes with life, Lefkoşa in the north exudes a more laid-back, provincial charm. However, it’s the old town within the walls that captivates visitors with its rich history and attractions.

Lefkoşa: The Heartbeat Of North Cyprus

Upon entering from the south through the Ledra Street crossing, visitors are greeted by a pedestrian-friendly zone filled with shops, cafés, and restaurants. Clear signposts guide tourists to the nearest attractions. One of the must-visit sites is the Büyük Han, a beautifully restored 16th-century inn that once served merchants. This inn now houses a vibrant collection of shops, restaurants, and small businesses, making it a lively hub for visitors and locals alike.

The city is also home to several museums, including the Mevlevî Tekke Museum, which offers insights into the Muslim sect known as the Whirling Dervishes. This museum is located in a 17th-century dervish monastery and showcases the sema – the characteristic whirling dance of the dervishes.

Another significant attraction is the Selimiye Mosque, a massive religious site visible from both the north and south of the Green Line. Adjacent to it is the Gothic Bedestan, which was once a Christian church and now serves as a performance venue.

Lefkoşa’s history is also marked by its political landscape. The cityscape is adorned with two giant flags representing the TRNC and Turkey, serving as reminders of the island’s division. These flags, visible from various vantage points, have their own tales of origin and significance.

Key Insights:

  1. Historical Significance: Lefkoşa’s Venetian walls and old town are testaments to its rich history, offering a glimpse into its past and the various civilizations that have left their mark on the city.
  2. Cultural Hub: From the Mevlevî Tekke Museum to the Selimiye Mosque, Lefkoşa is a melting pot of cultures, showcasing the harmonious blend of its Turkish and Cypriot heritage.
  3. Political Landscape: The presence of the TRNC and Turkish flags in Lefkoşa serves as a constant reminder of the island’s divided past and the political intricacies that continue to shape its present.

Lefkoşa, with its blend of history, culture, and politics, offers a unique experience for those keen to delve deep into the soul of North Cyprus.