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One capital for two states

20 April

Nicosia (Greek Lefkosia; tour. Lefkosha) is one of the oldest capitals in the world. Moreover, it’s the only capital in the world that simultaneously belongs to two states. The city is located in the center of the island, in the Mesaoria Valley. 

 

Nicosia is so different and full of contrasts. The city combines oriental and Greek features, the unique ancient atmosphere and drive of a big city. 

 

The history of Nicosia dates back to the 7th century Before Christ. In ancient times it was a small settlement called Ledra.  A new city, Lefkon, was built on the site of the village destroyed by the earthquake, named after the son of the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy. Over time, the city became known as Lefkosia (from the Greek meaning city of poplars) until, during the reign of the French kings from the Lusignan dynasty, it was renamed Nicosia. Later, the Venetians took possession of the island, which turned the city into a powerful fortress with royal mansions and numerous churches. In subsequent years, the island was ruled by the Ottoman Turks and the British. The period under British protectorate was quite long, and Cyprus became independent only in 1960. After 14 years, the island was divided into two parts – Greek and Turkish. 

 

After the events of 1974, the city was divided into two parts, between which lies the “green line”, the UN buffer zone. Thus, the city is divided into two parts: Nicosia (Greek part) is the capital of South Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus), and Lefkosa (Turkish part) is the capital of Northern Cyprus (or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus).

Nicosia (Lefkosa) is the administrative and business center of Cyprus. Here are located government offices, embassies, universities, offices of major global companies, and financial institutions. Also, being the cultural capital, the city has many museums, art galleries, exhibition halls, and attractions (Gothic cathedrals, Muslim mosques, buildings from the British Empire).