North Nicosia Sights

The Selimiye Mosque - Grand Bath - The Great Inn

The city of Nicosia is capital of both North Cyprus and southern Cyprus.

This ancient city, first founded in 280BC and encircled by sturdy Venetian walls, is now divided right across the middle by the UN Green Line border. If you drive to Nicosia in your North Cyprus hire car, park in a car park just outside the city walls, and explore from there on foot.

If you prefer to take a guided tour of Nicosia, we can recommend the Nicosia city walking tour by our sister company Go North Cyprus Holidays. It is full-day tour with a local, professional guide and includes visits to top attractions in Nicosia such as The Selimiye Mosque (St. Sophia Cathedral) and Büyük Han (The Great Inn).

The Selimiye Mosque (St. Sophia Cathedral)

During the reign of the Lusignan Kings, St Sophia's Cathedral was the most important church in all Cyprus. Designed by French architects, kings were crowned, celebrated and buried at St Sophia's; Hugh II was buried here with his gold crown still on his head. Despite the ravages of several earthquakes, the cathedral was always restored. When the Ottomans invaded in 1571, the Cathedral became a mosque, and today the plain white walls of the interior reflect a haven of calm and peace.

Grand Bath (Buyuk Hamam)

One of the most fascinating aspects of Nicosia is the fact that nearly every building seems to have been reused for a new purpose! The Grand Turkish bath, or Hamam, is a classic example, as it occupies the former church of St George of the Latins. This working bath house enjoys a splendid setting amongst the Gothic arches and thick stone walls of the old church. The church also shows how the landscape of Nicosia has changed too; the church now lies a full three metres below the modern road level!

Büyük Khan (The Great Inn)

Stepping inside the courtyard of the Great Inn is like stepping back into the sixteenth century. You can almost imagine the wealthy merchants climbing the stairs to the comfort of their upper story rooms, safe from the prying eyes of would-be thieves. Below, their horses would be stabled, and less wealthy travellers would cook their meals, just beside the walls of the small mosque, or mesdjit, that sits right in the middle of the courtyard.

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