April 2009

Friday, 17 April 2009

Nicosia – Your Northern Cyprus Car Hire Takes You Back in Time

As with most beach oriented vacation spots, the crush of the summer crowds in Northern Cyprus can be frustrating. So, with a North Cyprus car hire at you disposal, the divided city of Nicosia can be a welcome break from the beach crowds as you drift back into the timeless culture of ancient Turkey.

Nicosia Car Hire Driving Rules
As in most countries, a driver must be over the age of 25 in order to get a car hire in Northern Cyprus. And, as in the United Kingdom, the traffic flow here is also on the left side of the roads. Any children in the car that are younger than five years of age must not ride in the front seat of a car, and all passengers in the front seat of the car must wear a seatbelt. You should pay close attention to the seatbelt law because fines will be assessed if you are caught driving without one. You should also know that talking on a cell phone is against the law here and you might also be cited and fined for such a violation.

Access between the two Republics has been loosened in recent years so that you may now travel between the two in your North Cyprus car hire as long as everyone in the car has their passport and the insurance information on the car is available for inspection. You should also be aware that there are some restrictions on what goods can be taken across the border. As an example, you can take no more than 40 cigarettes per person when traveling south into the Republic of Cyprus. If you will only be visiting as far as the southern portion of the city of Nicosia it would be easy to park your Northern Cyprus car hire in a car park outside the wall and simply walk into the city on foot to see the sights.

Northern Cyprus Car Hire – Historic Sites in Nicosia
Nicosia was first founded around 280 BC and now serves as the capital city of both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from The Republic of Cyprus. The ancient Venetian walls that once encircled the city are well preserved to this day and several sites in Northern Nicosia should not be missed, including:

The Selimiye Mosque was originally built as St Sophia's Cathedral in the early 13th century and is today the area’s most prominent landmark. The fact that it was designed by a French architect is evident in the style of the building that resembles some of the important medieval cathedrals in France. King Hugh the Second, a 13th century King of Cyprus, was buried at St Sophia's Cathedral with his gold crown placed on his head. That cathedral became a mosque when the Ottomans conquered the island in 1571. If you want to look inside the mosque remember to remove your shoes and be quiet, especially if prayer services are taking place.

What was once the church of St. George of the Latins is now a hamam known as the Grand Turkish Bath. A hamam is a traditional bath where one first relaxes in a room heated with dry air and then moves to an even hotter room before rinsing with cold water. Then, after a body wash and massage, one relaxes in a cooling room. This Grand Bath is located in a grand setting among the arches and thick walls of the old church.

The Great Inn is one of the only inns on Cyprus that still remains in its original format from the days of the Ottoman conquest of the island. A series of inns once spread across the country providing traveling merchants a safe place to sleep during their journeys. The traveler entered through a main gate into a central courtyard where stables for horses and camels were located on the first floor with 68 guest rooms on the level above. This historic inn was recently renovated and artisan shops now occupy both levels of the building.

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