Twenty years after the reunification of Berlin, The Green Line that runs through the world’s ‘last divided capital’ has come in many ways to define it. A symbolic wall on Ledra Street was removed in 2008 and citizens of Nicosia can pass freely from one side to the other on production of their passport, but the rift remains too deep to fully heal.
Yet focusing too much on the Cypriot divide can distract you from the many joys that the city has to offer. The chic southern half in Greek territory is a thriving, modern city replete with atmospheric clubs and taverns that serve up a heady mixture of contemporary sophistication and traditional cuisine and entertainment. The north feels darker and more antiquated, with winding old alleys and street-side stalls packed with Turkish arts and crafts that are a fitting contrast to the fashionable shopping malls on the other side of the wall. Take time to explore them both to uncover Nicosia’s diverse and rewarding treasures.
Where to stay
Almond Business Suites have spacious, well-furnished and modern rooms including well-appointed kitchens. ASTY is a more modest choice, but in a city not blessed with great hotels it caters well for business travellers and remains comfortable if not luxurious.
Where to eat
Domus is a great venue drawing on duel Greek and Italian influences for a real Mediterranean feel. Restaurant Estiades is a buffet style restaurant that surprises with an excellent range of high quality, international cuisine.
What to see
You should take at least one walk on both sides of the wall to truly experience the contrasting fortunes of this divided city. The Cyprus Museum is a good place to explore the history of the island and the diverse cultural influences that have dominated the island’s character.