Located on the island of Cyprus and its capital, is the fascinating city of Nicosia. This centrally located capital is Cyprus’s largest city and its administrative center and financial hub. The historical city of Nicosia manages to keep its traditional feel among the modernity. It is the last divided capital in the world; with the city split in two, the northern side is the capital of the self-proclaimed Northern Cyprus and the southern part is the capital of the Republic of Cyprus. Nicosia is home to numerous churches, museums and mosques that have been around for centuries, making it a historically rich country. Due to its sizeable Turkish-Muslim community, Muslim visitors will be able to locate Muslim-friendly facilities, including mosques and Halal restaurants in Nicosia.
Visitors to Nicosia will have so much to do and see. A must when in Nicosia is a visit to the Old City. It is the perfect place to start sightseeing; with its many attractions and crumbling buildings. The walls that surround the Old City are also a must-visit; as they are a central part of the character of the city. What was once a moat around the Old City Walls; has now been converted into a peaceful park. Tourists must also visit the three gates that are on the walls surrounding the city; they are well preserved, popular tourist attractions.
The area is also home to a number of fascinating museums that hold breathtaking collections of artefacts and art. A few popular museums include; the Ethnographic Museum, the Cyprus Museum, the Leventis Municipal Museum and the Byzantine & Christian Museum. The Cyprus Museum, which is located outside the town walls, has collections of treasures, art and antiquities from centuries ago.
One of the oldest suburbs of Nicosia, Kaimakli is also worth a visit. The neighborhoods in the area date back to the beginning of the century, therefore making Kaimakli a popular historical attraction.
Nicosia is renowned for its stunning religious buildings of Christian and Muslim architecture. One attraction that cannot be missed, when in Nicosia, is the Selimiye Mosque. This is the main mosque of Nicosia and is also known as the Agia Sofia Cathedral. It is located in the walled city, in the Turkish controlled northern part. This historic attraction, and religious prayer area, is a stunning mix of the history of Cyprus and Nicosia. The cathedral of Agia Sofia; now known as the Selimiye Mosque, used to be a Christian cathedral that was converted by the Ottomans into a mosque. The mosque is still Gothic in nature and this can be seen in the architecture of it, including the Gothic arches found when walking into the building. However, Islamic architecture can also be seen, in the two minarets that were added onto the mosque.
When in Nicosia, tourists must also pay a visit to Tamassos, which is an ancient city kingdom, located 21 kilometres southwest of Nicosia. In addition to that, other attractions that are worthy of visiting include; Büyük Han, the Samanbahçe Houses and The Buyuk Hamam. Nicosia also has some wonderful shopping streets and areas that are frequented by locals and tourists alike.
The airport located nearest to Nicosia is Larnaca International Airport, located approximately 51 kilometres from the center of Nicosia, in Larnaca. The airport is the largest one on the island and is Cyprus' main international gateway. It is easily accessible and can be reached by public transport as well as private cars and taxis. Tourists can also take a shuttle bus from the airport to Nicosia.
As there is a sizeable number of Muslims living in Nicosia, there are also quite a few Halal restaurants. Green Pepper Indian Style and Aladdin Cafeteria are two popular Halal restaurants in Nicosia. Tourists need to be aware that alcohol is served in some restaurants, even if they do serve Halal food. Muslim tourists visiting Nicosia will also be able to find Halal meat butcheries. If unable to locate any Halal restaurants, tourists can also make inquires at the local mosque. A must when in the city is to sample some world famous Cypriot coffee, which is quite freely available.
Muslim visitors will find it quite easy to locate mosques in Nicosia. These mosques are located all over Nicosia and serve its Muslim community. The main mosque of Nicosia is the The Selimiye Mosque; this is also one of the city’s main attractions. A few of the other numerous mosques that visitors can use include; Arabahmet Mosque, Omeriye Mosque, Bayraktar Mosque, Tactacala Mosque, Araplar Mosque, and Tahtakale Mosque.