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This article is about the city in Cyprus. For the northern part, see North Nicosia. For the Italian commune, see Nicosia, Sicily. For other uses, see Nicosia (disambiguation).
Λευκωσία (Greek)
Lefkoşa  (Turkish)
From upper left: Nicosia city skyline, Ledra Street at night, courtyard of Nicosian houses, Venetian walls of Nicosia, a Nicosian door in the old town, the Buyuk Han, a quiet neighbourhood in the old town, Venetian houses, Nicosia Christmas fair, Makariou Avenue at night
From upper left: Nicosia city skyline, Ledra Street at night, courtyard of Nicosian houses, Venetian walls of Nicosia, a Nicosian door in the old town, the Buyuk Han, a quiet neighbourhood in the old town, Venetian houses, Nicosia Christmas fair, Makariou Avenue at night
Flag of Nicosia
Official seal of Nicosia
Nicosia is located in Cyprus
Location of Nicosia in Cyprus
Coordinates: 35°10′N 033°22′E / 35.167°N 33.367°E / 35.167; 33.367Coordinates: 35°10′N 033°22′E / 35.167°N 33.367°E / 35.167; 33.367
Claimed by Republic of Cyprus (internationally recognized)
Northern Cyprus (the northern part, recognized only by Turkey)
Administered by  
 • South
 • North
Republic of Cyprus
Northern Cyprus
Cypriot District Nicosia
 • Cypriot Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis (Ind.)
 • Turkish Cypriot Mayor Mehmet Harmancı (TDP)
Elevation 220 m (720 ft)
Population (2011)[1][2]
 • City South: 55,014
North: 61,378
 • Metro South: 239,277
North: 82,539
  The south's metro includes the municipalities of Nicosia (south), Agios Dometios, Egkomi, Strovolos, Aglantzia, Lakatameia, Anthoupolis, Latsia and Yeri. The north's includes North Nicosia, Gönyeli, Gerolakkos and Kanli.
Demonym Nicosian
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Post code 1010–1107
Area code(s) +357 22
ISO 3166 code CY-01
Website Nicosia Municipality

Nicosia (/ˌnɪkəˈsə/ NIK-ə-SEE; Greek: Λευκωσία [lefkoˈsi.a]; Turkish: Lefkoşa [lefˈkoʃa]; Armenian: Նիկոսիա Nigosia) is the capital and largest city on the island of Cyprus, as well as its main business centre.[3] It is located near the centre of the Mesaoria plain, on the banks of the River Pedieos.

Nicosia is the capital and seat of government of the Republic of Cyprus. It is the southeasternmost capital of the EU member states. Having been in continuous habitation for over 4500 years, Nicosia has been the capital of the island since the 10th century. Nicosia was divided into the southern Greek Cypriot and the northern Turkish Cypriot parts in 1963, following the intercommunal violence that broke out in the city. Today, the northern part of the city is the capital of Northern Cyprus, a de facto state, and is considered by the international community as occupied Cypriot territory since the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Through the years Nicosia has established itself as the island's financial capital and its main international business centre. The city was ranked in 2012 as the 5th richest city in the world in relative purchasing power.[4]

In the past few years Nicosia has seen remarkable progress regarding its infrastructure.[citation needed]


View of Nicosia from Shacolas Tower

Ledra Street is in the middle of the walled city. The street has historically been the busiest shopping street of the capital and adjacent streets lead to the most lively part of the old city with narrow streets, boutiques, bars and art-cafés. The street today is a historic monument on its own. It is about 1 km (0.6 mi) long and connects the south and north parts of the old city. During the EOKA struggle that ran from 1955–1959, the street acquired the informal nickname The Murder Mile in reference to the frequent targeting of the British colonialists by nationalist fighters along its course.[5][6] In 1963, during the outbreak of hostilities between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, following the announcement of amendments to the Cypriot Constitution, Turkish Cypriots withdrew to the northern part of Nicosia which became one of the many Turkish Cypriot enclaves which existed throughout the island. Various streets which ran between the northern and southern part of the city, including Ledra Street, were blockaded. During the Turkish army invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Turkish troops occupied northern Nicosia (as well as the northern part of Cyprus). A buffer zone was established across the island along the ceasefire line to separate the northern Turkish controlled part of the island, and the south. The buffer zone runs through Ledra Street. After many failed attempts on reaching agreement between the two communities, Ledra Street was reopened on 3 April 2008.

To the east of Ledra Street, Faneromeni Square was the centre of Nicosia before 1974. It hosts a number of historical buildings and monuments including Faneromeni Church, Faneromeni School, Faneromeni Library and the Marble Mausoleum. Faneromeni Church, is a church built in 1872 in the stead of another church located at the same site, constructed with the remains of La Cava castle and a convent. There rest the archbishop and the other bishops who were executed by the Ottomans in the Saray Square during the 1821 revolt. The Palace of the Archbishop can be found at Archbishop Kyprianos Square. Although it seems very old, it is a wonderful imitation of typical Venetian style, built in 1956. Next to the palace is the late Gothic Saint John cathedral (1665) with picturesque frescos. The square leads to Onasagorou Street, another busy shopping street in the historical centre.

The walls sourrounding the old city have three gates. In The Kyrenia Gate which was responsible to the transport to the north, and especially Kyrenia, the Famagusta Gate which was responsible for the transport from Famagusta, Larnaca and Limassol and Karpasia, and the Paphos Gate for transport to the west and especially Paphos. All three gates are well-preserved.[7]

Pedieos river linear park.

The historical centre is clearly present inside the walls, but the modern city has grown beyond. Presently, the main square of the city is Eleftheria (Freedom) Square, with the city hall, the post office and the library. The square which is currently under renovation, connects the old city with the new city where one can find the main shopping streets such as the prestigious Stasikratous Street, Themistokli Dervi Avenue and Makarios Avenue.

Nicosia is also known for its fine museums. The Archbishop's Palace contains a Byzantine museum containing the largest collection of religious icons on the island. Leventis Municipal Museum is the only historical museum of Nicosia and revives the old ways of life in the capital from ancient times up to our days. Other interesting museums include the Folk Art Museum, National Struggle Museum (witnessing the rebellion against the British administration in the 1950s), Cyprus Ethnological Museum (House of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, 18th century) and the Handicrafts Centre.

Nicosia also hosts an Armenian achbishopship, a small Buddhist temple and also the Maronite arbishopship and convent. Cyprus is the second most important country for the Maronite people worldwide after Lebanon.[citation needed] During the Pope's visit to the island in June 2010, the Pontiff resided inside the convent.


Ancient times[edit]

Nicosia has been in continuous habitation since the beginning of the Bronze Age 2500 years BC, when the first inhabitants settled in the fertile plain of Mesaoria.[8] Nicosia later became a city-state known as Ledra or Ledrae, one of the twelve kingdoms of ancient Cyprus built by Achaeans after the end of the Trojan War.[citation needed] Remains of old Ledra today can be found in the Ayia Paraskevi hill in the south east of the city. We only know about one king of Ledra, Onasagoras. The kingdom of Ledra was destroyed early. Under Assyrian rule of Cyprus, Onasagoras, was recorded as paying tribute to Esarhaddon of Assyria in 672 BC. Rebuilt by Lefkonas, son of Ptolemy I around 300 BC, Ledra is described as a small and unimportant town, also known as Lefkotheon. The main activity of the town inhabitants was farming. During this era, Ledra did not have the huge growth that the other Cypriot coastal towns had, which was primarily based on trade.[9]

Roman and Byzantine times[edit]

In Byzantine times the town was also referred to as Λευκουσία (Leukousia) and also as Καλληνίκησις (Kallenikesis). In the 4th century AD, the town became the seat of bishopship, with bishop Saint Tryphillius (Trifillios), a student of Saint Spyridon.[10]

After the destruction of Salamis by Arab raids in 647, the existing capital of Cyprus, Nicosia became the capital of the island around 965, when Cyprus rejoined the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines moved the islands administration seat to Nicosia, primarily for security reasons as coastal towns were often suffering from raids. Since then it remains as the capital of Cyprus. Nicosia had acquired a castle and was the seat of the Byzantine governor of Cyprus. The last Byzantine governor of the Island was Isaac Comnenus who declared himself emperor of the island and ruled the island from 1183–1191.[11]

Medieval times[edit]

Medieval neighbourhood "Taktakala" in Nicosia
Venetian walls of Nicosia

On his way to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade in 1187, Richard I of England fleet was plagued by storms. He himself stopped first at Crete and then at Rhodes. Three ships continued on, one of which was carrying Queen Joan of Sicily and Berengaria of Navarre, Richard's bride-to-be. Two of the ships were wrecked off Cyprus, but the ship bearing Joan and Berengaria made it safely to Limassol. Joan refused to come ashore, fearing she would be captured and held hostage by Isaac Comnenus, who hated all Franks. Her ship sat at anchor for a full week before Richard finally arrived on 8 May. Outraged at the treatment of his sister and his future bride, Richard invaded.[12][citation needed]

Richard laid siege to Nicosia, finally met and defeated Isaac Comnenus at Tremetousia and became ruler of the island but sold the island to the Knights Templar.

Medieval passage in Nicosia next to Archbishop's Palace

The Frankish rule of Cyprus started from 1192 and lasted until 1489. During this time, Nicosia was the capital of the medieval Kingdom of Cyprus, the seat of Lusignan kings, the Latin Church and the Frankish administration of the island. During the Frankish rule, the walls of the city were built along with many other palaces and buildings, including the gothic Saint Sofia Cathedral. The tombs of the Lusignan kings can be found there. The exonym Nicosia appeared with the arrival of the Lusignans. The French-speaking Crusaders either could not, or did not care to, pronounce the name Lefkosia, and tended to say "Nicosie" translated into Italian and then internationally known as "Nicosia".[citation needed]

Image of map of Nicosia, created in 1597
Map of Nicosia in Cyprus, created in 1597
Famagusta Gate built in 1567

In 1374 Nicosia was occupied and ravaged by the Genoans and in 1426 from the Mamelukes of Egypt.[citation needed]

In 1489, when Cyprus came under Venetian rule, Nicosia became their administrative center and the seat of the Republic of Venice. The Venetian Governors saw it as a necessity for all the cities of Cyprus to be fortified due to the Ottoman threat.[13] In 1567 Venetians built the new fortifications of Nicosia, which are well-preserved until today, demolishing the old walls built by the Franks as well as other important buildings of the Frankish era including the King's Palace, other private palaces and churches and monasteries of both Orthodox and Latin Christians.[14] The new walls took the shape of a star with eleven bastions. The design of the bastion is more suitable for artillery and a better control for the defenders. The walls have three gates, to the North Kyrenia Gate, to the west Paphos Gate and to the east Famagusta Gate.[14] The river Pedieos used to flow through the Venetian walled city. In 1567 it was later diverted outside onto the newly built moat for strategic reasons, due to the expected Ottoman attack.[15]

Ottoman rule[edit]

View of Nicosia in 1878

On 1 July 1570, the Ottomans invaded the island. On 22 July, Piyale Pasha having captured Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca marched his army towards Nicosia and laid siege to the city.[16] The city managed to last 40 days under siege until its fall on 9 September 1570. Some 20,000 residents died during the siege and every church, public building, and palace was looted.[17] The main Latin churches were converted into mosques, such as the conversion of the Saint Sophia Cathedral.

Nicosia was the seat of the Pasha, the Greek Archbishop, the Dragoman and the Qadi. The Palazzo del Governo of Venetian times became the seat of the Pasha, the governor of Cyprus, and the building was known as the Konak or Seraglio (Saray). The square outside was known as Seraglio Square or Sarayonu (literally front of the Saray), as it is known to the present day. The saray was demolished in 1904 and the present block of Government Offices built on the site.[18]

When the newly settled Turkish population arrived they generally lived in the north of the old riverbed. Greek Cypriots remained concentrated in the south, where the Archbishopric of the Orthodox Church was built. Other ethnic minority groups such as the Armenians and Latins came to be settled near the western entry into the city at Paphos Gate.[19]

The names of the 12 quarters into which Nicosia was originally divided at the time of the Ottoman Conquest are said to be derived from the 12 generals in command of divisions of the Ottoman army at the time. Each general being posted to a quarter, that quarter was known by his name as follows:

1. General Ibrahim Pasha.
2. General Mahmoud Pasha.
3. General Ak Kavuk Pasha. (This is a nickname meaning "white cap.")
4. General Koukoud Effendi.
5. General Arab Ahmed Pasha.
6. General Abdi Pasha, known as Chavush (Sergeant) from which rank he was probably promoted.
7. General Haydar Pasha.
8. General Karamanzade (son of a Caramanian, other names not given).
9. General Yahya Pasha (now known as the Phaneromeni Quarter).
10. General Daniel Pasha (name of quarter changed subsequently to Omerie in honour of the Caliph Omar who stayed there for a night when in Cyprus).
The names of the generals in command of these quarters have been lost:
11. Tophane (Artillery Barracks)
12. Nebetkhane, meaning police station or quarters of the patrol. [18]
Later the number of neighbourhoods was increased to 24. Each neighbourhood was organized around a mosque or a church, where mainly the respective Moslem and Christian communities lived.[20]

British administration[edit]

Painting, hoisting the British flat in Nicosia
Hoisting the British flag in Nicosia.
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1881 11,536 —    
1891 12,515 +8.5%
1901 14,481 +15.7%
1911 16,052 +10.8%
1921 11,831 −26.3%
1931 23,324 +97.1%
1946 34,485 +47.9%
1960 45,629 +32.3%
Source for 1881-1960.[21]

Nicosia came under the rule of Great Britain on 5 July 1878.[22] The old Ottoman administrative headquarters (the Saray) was replaced in 1904 by a new building containing Law Courts, the Land Registry, and the Forestry, Customs, and Nicosia Commissioner's Offices.[18] Adjacent was the Nicosia Police headquarters, while opposite were the General Post Office and the Telegraph Office.[23] A Venetian Column, previously in a fenced courtyard near the Saray,[24] was restored on a new site in the summer of 1915 in the middle of Saray Square. The Nicosia column was presumably erected in compliment to the reigning Doge Francesco Donati about the year 1550.[18]

Just after the British Occupation a Municipal Council was constituted in Nicosia in 1882 for the general administration of public affairs within the city and for a certain area without the walls, under the presidency of a Mayor.[18] The first municipal offices were in Municipality Square (now the central municipal market), but in 1944 the offices were transferred temporarily to the d'Avila bastion and in 1952 this was made permanent with a decision to renovate the building[25]

Extensions to the Nicosia municipal area
Extensions to the Nicosia municipal area
View of Nicosia in 1914

In 1923 the municipal limits were extended further (see map) and this new area was divided among several of the existing intramural Neighbourhoods.[26] In 1938 the boundary was extended to the present limits in the west and to the boundaries of Ayii Omoloyites, Palouriotissa, Kaimakli and Omorfita.[27] In 1944 the village authority of Ayii Omoloyites was absorbed, then, shortly after independence, Palouriotissa, Kaimakli and Omorfita were annexed to the city in 1968.[28]

In 1955 an armed struggle against the British rule began aiming to unite the island with Greece, Enosis. The struggle was led by EOKA, a Greek Cypriot nationalist military resistance organisation,[29][30] and supported by the vast majority of Greek Cypriots. The unification with Greece failed and instead the independence of Cyprus was declared in 1960. During the period of the struggle, Nicosia was the scene of violent protests against the British rule.[citation needed]

Independence and division[edit]

Ledra Street crossing in the Green Line in Nicosia
Scheme for new pedestrianized streets in old Nicosia implemented after 2004

In 1960 Nicosia became the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, a state established by the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In 1963, the Greek Cypriot side proposed amendments to the constitution, which were rejected by the Turkish Cypriot community.[31] During the aftermath of this crisis, on 21 December 1963, intercommunal violence broke out between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Nicosia was divided into Greek and Turkish Cypriot quarters with the Green Line, named after the colour of the pen used by the United Nations officer to draw the line on a map of the city.[32] This resulted in Turkish Cypriots withdrawing from the government, and following more intercommunal violence in 1964, a number of Turkish Cypriots moved to the Turkish quarter of Nicosia, causing serious overcrowding.[33]

On 15 July 1974, there was an attempted coup d'état led by the Greek military junta to unite the island with Greece. The coup ousted president Makarios III and replaced him with pro-enosis nationalist Nikos Sampson.[34]

On 20 July 1974, the Turkish army invaded the island on the pretext of restoring the constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus.[35] The operation included two phases.

The second phase of the Turkish invasion was performed on 14 August 1974, where the Turkish army advanced their positions, eventually capturing a total of 37% of Cypriot territory including the northern part of Nicosia. The fighting left the island with a massive refugee problem on both sides.[36]

On 13 February 1975 the Turkish Cypriot community declared the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus in the area occupied by Turkish forces.[37] On 15 November 1983, Turkish Cypriots proclaimed their independence as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

On 23 April 2003, the Ledra Palace crossing was opened through the Green Line, the first time that crossing was allowed since 1974.[38] This was followed by the opening of Ayios Dometios/Metehan crossing point on 9 May 2003.[39] On 3 April 2008, the Ledra Street crossing was also reopened.[40]

Local government[edit]

Governance of the metropolitan area[edit]

Presidential Palace in Strovolos area.
Map of Greater Nicosia
Greater Nicosia

Greater Nicosia is administered by several municipalities. In the centre is the city municipality of Nicosia itself (see below). Other municipalities are Strovolos, Lakatamia, Latsia, Aglandjia, Engomi, Agios Dhometios and the newly formed (as of 2011) Yeri & Tseri.

The population of the conurbation is 300,000 (2011 census, plus Turkish Cypriot administered census of 2006) of which 100,000 live within the Nicosia municipal area. Because Nicosia municipality has separate communal municipal administrations, the population of Strovolos (67,904 (2011 Census)) is actually the largest of all the local authorities in Greater Nicosia.

Within Nicosia municipality, most of the population resides in the more recently annexed outlying areas of Kaimakli, Pallouriotissa, Omorfita and Ayii Omoloyites.

There is no metropolitan authority as such for Greater Nicosia and various roles, responsibilities and functions for the wider area are undertaken by the Nicosia District administration, bodies such as the Nicosia Water Board and, to some extent, Nicosia municipality.

The Nicosia Water Board supplies water to the following municipalities: Nicosia, Strovolos, Aglandjia, Engomi, Ay. Dometios, Latsia, Geri and Tseri. The board consists of three persons nominated by the Council of each municipality, plus three members appointed by the government, who are usually the District Officer of Nicosia District, who chairs the Board, the Accountant General and the Director of the Water Department. The board also supply Anthoupolis and Ergates, for whom the government provide representatives. Thus the board is in the majority controlled by the municipalities of Greater Nicosia in providing this vital local government service.[41]

The Nicosia Sewerage Board, is likewise majority controlled by the municipalities of Greater Nicosia. It is chaired ex officio by the Mayor of Nicosia and consists of members chosen by the municipalities of Nicosia (6 members), Strovolos (5 members), Aglandjia (2 members), Lakatamia (2 members), Ay. Dometios (2 members), Engomi (2 members), Latsia (1 member). The sewage treatment plant is at Mia Milia. The Nicosia Sewerage System serves a population of approximately 140,000 and an area of 20 km2 (8 sq mi). Approximately 30% of the influent is contributed by the Turkish Cypriot Side.[42]

Public transport is not controlled by the local authorities, but comes under the Nicosia District administration, which is an arm of the Ministry of the Interior. Transport services (primarily bus and taxi) are provided by an agency of the Nicosia District (OSEL) or private companies.[43]

Nicosia Municipality[edit]

Photo of Cyprus Supreme Court in Nicosia
Cyprus Supreme Court in Nicosia
Nicosia Municipality building at Eleftheria Square

The Nicosia Municipality is responsible for all the municipal duties within the walled city and the immediately adjacent areas. The Constitution states that various main government buildings and headquarters must be situated within the Nicosia municipal boundaries.[44] However separate municipalities are prescribed by the constitution for in the five largest towns, including Nicosia,[45] and in the case of Nicosia the separate administration was established in 1958. The Turkish Municipal Committees (Temporary Provisions) Law, 1959[46] established a municipal authority run by a "Turkish Municipal Committee", defined as "the body of persons set up on or after the first day of July, 1958, in the towns of Nicosia, Limassol, Famagusta, Larnaca and Paphos by the Turkish inhabitants thereof for the purpose of performing municipal functions within the municipal limits of such towns".The Nicosia Turkish Municipality, founded in 1958, carries out municipal duties in the northern and north-western part of city.[47] The remaining areas, in the south and east of the city, are administered by Nicosia Municipality.

Nicosia Turkish Municipality[edit]

Nicosia Turkish Municipal building
Nicosia Turkish Municipal building

The first attempt to establish a Nicosia Turkish Municipality was made in 1958. In October 1959, the British Colonial Administration passed the Turkish Municipality Committees law. In 1960 with the declaration of independence of Cyprus, the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus gave Turkish Cypriots the right to establish their own municipality.[48][49][50] As negotiations between the two sides to establish separate municipalities failed in 1962, implementing legislation was never passed.[51][52] Since the complete division of Nicosia following the Turkish Invasion in 1974, the Nicosia Turkish Municipality has become the de facto local authority of northern Nicosia. The Nicosia Turkish Municipality is a member the Union of Cyprus Turkish Municipalities.[53] The current mayor is Mehmet Harmancı from the Communal Democracy Party.

Other municipalities in Greater Nicosia[edit]

Until 1986 there were no suburban municipalities. Then, following the procedures in the Municipal Law 111/1985, Strovolos, Engomi, Ay. Dometios, Aglandjia, Latsia and Lakatamia were erected into municipalities.[54] Each municipal council has the number of members described in the Municipal Law 111/1985 depending on the population figures. All members of the council are elected directly by the people for a period of 5 years.

Administrative divisions and demographics[edit]

Tower 25 as seen from Nicosia city hall during the Cyprus presidency of the European Union

Nicosia within the city limits is divided into 29 administrative units, according to the latest census. This unit is termed in English as quarter, neighbourhood, parish, enoria or mahalla. These units are: Ayios Andreas (Tophane), Trypiotis, Nebethane, Tabakhane, Phaneromeni, Ayios Savvas, Omerie, Ayios Antonios (St. Anthony), St. John, Taht-el-kale, Chrysaliniotissa, Ayios Kassianos (Kafesli), Kaïmakli, Panayia, St Constantine & Helen, Ayioi Omoloyites, Arab Ahmet, Yeni Jami, Omorfita, Ibrahim Pasha, Mahmut Pasha, Abu Kavouk, St. Luke, Abdi Chavush, Iplik Pazar and Korkut Effendi, Ayia Sophia, Haydar Pasha, Karamanzade,[55] and Yenişehir/Neapolis (separated from Ibrahim Pasha 25 January 2010[56]).Some of the these units were previously independent Communities (village authorities). Ayioi Omoloyites was annexed in 1944, while Kaïmakli and Omorfita were annexed in 1968. Pallouriotissa, also annexed in 1968, was subsequently divided into the neighbourhoods of Panayia, and St Constantine & Helen.[57]

Administrative Divisions (2011 Census)

The municipality of Strovolos, established in 1986, is the second largest municipal authority in Cyprus in terms of population after Limassol and encompasses the southern suburbs of the capital immediately adjacent to Nicosia municipality. Strovolos is divided into six parishes: Chryseleousa, Ayios Demetrios, Apostle Barnabas and Ayios Makarios, Ayios Vasilios, Kyprianos and Stavros.[58]

Beyond Strovolos on the south-western fringes of the metropolis lies the municipality of Lakatamia, created in 1986 out of the two Communities (village authorities) of Lower Lakatamia and Upper Lakatamia. After being declared a municipality Lakatamia was, for administrative purposes, divided into the following four parishes: Ayia Paraskevis, St. Nicholas, Ayios Mamas, Archangel-Anthoupolis. Contrary to other Municipalities, Lakatamia Municipality has its own water supply (Lakatamia Water Board). It has jurisdiction over the water supply and sees to the construction, maintenance and functioning of water supply systems within its boundaries.[59]

South of Strovolos lies the municipality of Latsia, established in 1986. Latsia is divided into three parishes: St. George (covering most of the area of Latsia), Ayios Eleftherios (covering the Ayios Eleftherios refugee housing estate) and Archangel Michael (covering the refugee self-housing estate of that name).[60]

East of Latsia lies Yeri, which became a municipality in 2011. The built up area of Yeri just touches Latsia near their mutual boundary and thus the new municipality is conurbated with Nicosia.

The municipality of Aglandjia, established in 1986, encompasses the south-eastern suburbs of the capital immediately adjacent to Nicosia municipality. The Nicosia-Limassol highway forms the boundary with Strovolos to the west. The name of the municipality has various spellings, but derives from the Turkish word 'Eğlence - Entertainment'. The older English spelling is Eylenja.[61]

Stasinou Avenue within Nicosia Central Business Destrict by night.

The western suburbs are encompassed in the municipalities of Ayios Dometios and Engomi, both established in 1986. The municipality of Ayios Dometios is divided into the parishes of St. George and St. Paul.

The town of Gönyeli is now conurbated with the northern suburbs. Previously a village authority, it now functions as a municipality[62] within the same area[63] Gönyeli is divided into the Neighbourhoods of Baraj (barrage), Çarşı, Baz and Yeni Kent (new town).[64]

The suburbs immediately to the north of the city have not been erected into municipalities. The village authority of Hamitköy (also known as Hamid Mandres) was heavily urbanized[65] and continued to exist until 1 September 2008, when it was included within the borders of Nicosia Turkish Municipality[66] as a Nicosia neighbourhood headed by a muhtar.[67]

Ortakeuy Village authority[68] has similarly been redefined as a neighbourhood of Nicosia Turkish Municipality.

After the invasion the Greek Cypriot inhabitants of Mia Milia were displaced to other parts of Cyprus and the area was resettled by displaced Turkish Cypriots from other areas.[69] The Mia Milia Village Council of the Republic of Cyprus continues to operate in exile,[70] but the Nicosia Turkish Municipality considers it one of its neighbourhooods.[71]

The ethnically mixed Village of Trakhonas has suffered several displacements of both its Greek and Turkish Cypriot inhabitants since the 1960s and since the invasion has been heavily urbanised.[72] It does not currently function as a local government unit[73]

The settlement of Anthoupolis is an enclave created within Lakatamia after the invasion of 1974 and is directly administered by the government and not the municipality within which it is situated.

Historic map of the neighbourhoods of Nicosia within the walls in 1930.
Administrative Divisions of Nicosia[20][74][75][76]
Code Name Loc.
1000 Nicosia Mun 55,014 49,868 P P 34,485 60% 30%
1000-01 Ayios Andreas (Tophane) Neigh 5,767 Y 3,012 74% 5% AA/T
1000-02 Trypiotis Neigh 2,158 Y 3,247 92% 1% Try
1000-03 Nebethane Neigh 189 Y 520 84% 4% Ne
1000-04 Tabakhane Neigh 299 Y 757 93% 3% TH
1000-05 Phaneromeni Neigh 512 Y 1,088 98% 1% Ph
1000-06 Ayios Savvas Neigh 581 Y 1,266 96% 3% ASa
1000-07 Omerie Neigh 206 Y 1,193 77% 21% Om
1000-08 Ayios Antonios Neigh 5,801 Y 2,090 98% 0% AAn
1000-09 Ayios Ioannis Neigh 221 Y 1,436 96% 4% AI
1000-10 Taht-el-kale Neigh 826 Y 1,433 63% 36% TEK
1000-11 Chrysaliniotissa Neigh 124 Y 901 96% 3% Ch
1000-12 Ayios Kassianos (Kafesli) Neigh 82 P P 1,177 90% 10% AKs
1000-13 Kaimakli Neigh 11,564 P Un 3,671 98% 2%
1000-14 Panayia[77] Neigh 12,398 Y 2,368 98% 2%
1000-15 St. Constantine & Helen[77] Neigh 3,209 Y
1000-16 Ayioi Omoloyites Neigh 10,528 Y 1,810 93% 1%
1000-17 Arab Ahmet Neigh 50 P S 2,617 22% 32% AA[78]
1000-18 Yeni Jami Neigh 215 P S 2,345 28% 72% YJ
1000-19 Omorfita Neigh 284 P P 2,231 55% 45%
1000-20 Ibrahim Pasha[56][79] Neigh Y 2,334 28% 66% IP
1000-21 Mahmut Pasha Neigh 314[76] Y 875 7% 82% MP
1000-22 Abu Kavouk Neigh 793[76] Y 1,202 9% 91% AK (North)
1000-23 St. Luke Neigh 489[76] Y 806 33% 67% AL
1000-24 Abdi Chavush Neigh 568[76] Y 902 8% 89% AC
1000-25 Iplik Bazar & Korkut Effendi Neigh 229[76] Y 556 21% 42% IPKE
1000-26 Ayia Sophia Neigh 878[76] P P 1,936 33% 64% ASo
1000-27 Haydar Pasha Neigh 155[76] Y 385 12% 87% HP
1000-28 Karamanzade Neigh P P 597 21% 10% KZ
1000-29 Neapoli[56][79] Neigh Y IP
1010 Ayios Dometios Mun 12,456 P P 2,532 95% 5%
1011 Engomi Mun 18,010 Y 1,396 100% 0%
1012 Strovolos Mun 67,904 Y 3,214 98% 2%
1013 Aglandjia Mun 20,783 P Un 2,008 93% 7%
1014 Ortakeuy Vill Y[80] 477 12% 88%
1015 Trachonas Vill M[81] 690 95% 5%
1021 Lakatameia Mun 38,345 Y 1,537 94% 6%
1022 Anthoupolis[82] Set 1,756 Y
1023 Latsia Mun 16,774 Y 179 100% 0%
1024 Yeri Mun 8,235 P Un 655 100% 0%
1031 Mia Milia Vill Y 772 100% 0%
1032 Hamitköy Vill 2,823 Y 361 0% 100%
1251 Gönyeli Mun 11,964 Ind 814 0% 100%

Code: census code.
Loc. auth.: type of local authority (Mun: municipality, Vill: village, Neigh: neighbourhood, Set: settlement).
CY Pop. 2011: population at last census of Republic of Cyprus in 2011
(detailed by neighborhood).
TC Pop. 2011: population at last census of Turkish Republic of Cyprus in 2011
(not detailed per neighborhood).[83]
CY Ctrl.: de facto control of Cyprus Government
(Y: yes, P: partly, blank: no).
TC Ctrl.: Neighbourhood status in Nicosia Turkish Municipality
(Y: yes, S: yes but split in two along Nicosia walls, M: yes but split in multiple neighbourhoods, Ind: Independent municipality, Un: Turkish sector not an administrative unit,P:yes but partial/incomplete control of area,blank: not under Turkish control).
Pop. 1946: population at last census before communal troubles.
GC 1946: % Greek Cypriot in 1946.
TC 1946: % Turkish Cypriot in 1946.
On map: abbreviation shown on historic map in this article section (not specified outside city walls).


In old Nicosia, the Ethnological Museum (Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios Mansion) is the most important example of urban architecture of the last century of Ottoman domination which survives in old Nicosia. Today, the mansion which was awarded the Europa Nostra prize for its exemplary renovation work, functions as a museum where a collection of artifacts from the Byzantine, Medieval and Ottoman era are displayed.

Other museums in Nicosia include the Cyprus Museum of Natural History.

Nicosia offers a wide variety of musical and theatrical events, organized either by the municipality or independent organizations.

In June 2011, Nicosia launched a failed campaign to become the European Capital of Culture for 2017.[84]

Section of the modern buildings of the University of Cyprus (UCY)


Nicosia has a large student community as it is the seat of eight universities, the University of Cyprus (UCY), the University of Nicosia, the European University Cyprus, the Open University of Cyprus, Frederick University, Near East University, the University of Mediterranean Karpasia and Cyprus International University.


Nicosia is the financial and business heart of Cyprus. The city hosts the headquarters of all Cypriot banks namely the former Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), Bank of Cyprus, the Hellenic Bank. Further, the Central Bank of Cyprus is located in the Acropolis area of the Cypriot capital.

A number of international businesses base their Cypriot headquarters in Nicosia, such as the big four audit firms PWC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young. International technology companies such as NCR and TSYS have their regional headquarters in Nicosia. The city is also home to local financial newspapers such as the Financial Mirror and Stockwatch.

Cyprus Airways has its head offices in the entrance of Makariou Avenue.[85]

According to a recent UBS survey in August 2011, Nicosia is the wealthiest per capita city of the Eastern Mediterranean and the tenth richest city in the world by purchasing power in 2011.[86]


Nicosia has a subtropical-hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh)[87] with long, hot and dry summers. Most of the rainfall occurs in winter.

Climate data for Athalassa, Nicosia, elevation: 162 m (Satellite view)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.6
Average low °C (°F) 5.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 54.7
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 7.3 6.5 5.4 3.5 2.7 1.3 0.5 0.1 0.6 2.8 4.7 7.7 43.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 182.9 200.1 238.7 267.0 331.7 369.0 387.5 365.8 312.0 275.9 213.0 170.5 3,314.1
Source: Meteorological Service (Cyprus)[88]

Another chart with cooler temperatures.[89]


Bus interior of Nicosia transport company
Photo of buses at Solomou Square in Nicosia
Public buses in Solomos Square
Photo of bike-in-action bicycles at Solomou Square in Nicosia
Bike in Action scheme at Solomou Square
View of Solomos Bus Station by night with the financial district in the background
Roundabout in an A1 highway in Nicosia

Nicosia is linked with other major cities in Cyprus via a modern motorway network. The A1 connects Nicosia with Limassol in the south with the A6 going from Limassol onto Paphos. The A2 links Nicosia with the south eastern city of Larnaca with the A3 going from Larnaca to Ayia Napa. The A9 connects Nicosia to the west Nicosia district villages and the Troodos mountains.

Public transport within the city is currently served by a new and reliable bus service. Bus services in Nicosia are run by OSEL.[90] In the northern part, the company of LETTAŞ provides this service.[91] Many taxi companies operate in Nicosia. Fares are regulated by law and taxi drivers are obliged to use a taximeter.

In 2010, as part of the Nicosia Integrated Mobility Plan, a pre-feasibility study for a proposed tram network has taken place and sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Works. The study compared two scenarios, with and without the operation of a tramway in terms of emitted polluting loads.[92]

In 2011, the Nicosia Municipality introduced the Bike in Action scheme, a bicycle sharing system which covers the Greater Nicosia area. The scheme is run by the Inter-Municipal Bicycle Company of Nicosia (DEPL).[93]

There is currently no train network in Cyprus however plans for the creation of an intercity railway are currently under way. The first railway line on the island was the Cyprus Government Railway which operated from 1905 to 1951. It was closed down due to financial reasons.[94]

Mayors of Nicosia[edit]

Eleni Mavrou, Mayor of Nicosia 2007–11, at her office in central Nicosia

Pre-Independence (1882–1959)[edit]

  • Christodoulos Severis, 15 November 1882 – 31 July 1888.
  • Achilleas Liassides, 1 August 1888 – 10 April 1906.
  • Antonios Theodotou, 8 January 1888 – 10 April 1906.
  • Mehmet Şevket Bey, 11 April 1908 – 31 March 1911.
  • Antonios Theodotou, 1924–26
  • George Markides, 6 April 1926 – 31 March 1929.
  • Themistoclis Dervis, 5 April 1929 – 28 September 1946.
  • Ioannis Clerides, 1 June 1946 – 31 May 1949 (last elected Mayor until 1986).
  • Themistoclis Dervis, 1 June 1949 – 18 December 1959.

Post-Independence (1959–74)[edit]

After 1974[edit]


Photo of field club tennis court in Nicosia
Field club tennis courts

Football is the most popular sport in Cyprus, and Nicosia is home of three major teams of the island; APOEL, Omonia and Olympiakos. APOEL and Omonia dominate Cypriot football. There are also many other football clubs in Nicosia and the suburbs. Nicosia is also home to Ararat FC, the island's only Armenian FC.

Nicosia is also the home for many clubs for basketball, handball and other sports. APOEL and Omonia have basketball and volleyball sections and Keravnos is one of the major basketball teams of the island. The Gymnastic Club Pancypria (GSP), the owner of the Neo GSP Stadium, is one of the major athletics clubs of the island. Also, all teams in the Futsal First Division are from Nicosia.

Nicosia has some of the biggest venues in the island; The Neo GSP Stadium, with capacity of 23,400, is the home for the national team, APOEL, Olympiakos and Omonia. The other big football stadium in Nicosia is Makario Stadium with capacity of 16,000. The Eleftheria Indoor Hall is the biggest basketball stadium in Cyprus, with capacity of 6,500 seats and is the home for the national team, APOEL and Omonia. The Lefkotheo indoor arena is the volleyball stadium for APOEL and Omonia.

Nicosia hosted the 2000 ISSF World Cup Final shooting events for the shotgun. Also the city hosted two basketball events; the European Saporta Cup in 1997 and the 2005 FIBA Europe All Star Game in the Eleftheria Indoor Hall. Another event which was hosted in Nicosia were the Games of the Small States of Europe in 1989 and 2009.

Famous Nicosians[edit]

Christopher A. Pissarides, Nobel Prize winner in Economics

International relations[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population - Place of Residence, 2011". Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT). 17 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "KKTC 2011 Nüfus ve Konut Sayımı" [TRNC 2011 Population and Housing Census] (in Turkish). TRNC State Planning Organization. 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Derya Oktay, "Cyprus: The South and the North", in Ronald van Kempen, Marcel Vermeulen, Ad Baan, Urban Issues and Urban Policies in the new EU Countries, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2005, ISBN 978-0-7546-4511-5, p. 207.
  4. ^ "World's richest cities by purchasing power". City Mayors. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "The First Move". Time Magazine. 27 August 1956. Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  6. ^ "War and Politics-Cyprus". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Keshishian, Kevork K. (1978). Nicosia: Capital of Cyprus Then and Now, p. 78-83, The Mouflon Book and Art Centre.
  8. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Saint Tryphillius". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Crusades – home page". Retrieved 10 March 2012. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  15. ^ "Nicosia" (PDF). Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Cyprus – Historical Setting – Ottoman Rule". 17 June 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c d e A description of the historic monuments of Cyprus. Studies in the archaeology and architecture of the island, by George Jeffery, Architect, 1918
  19. ^ "Nicosia". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Coexistence in the Disappeared Mixed Neighbourhoods of Nicosia, by Ahmet An (Paper read at the conference, “Nicosia: The Last Divided Capital in Europe”, organized by the London Metropolitan University on 20 June 2011)
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  23. ^ See map drawn in 1952 published in "Romantic Cyprus", by Kevork Keshishian, 1958 edition
  24. ^ "Levkosia, the capital of Cyprus" by Archduke Louis Salvator, 1881
  25. ^ Municipality web site: retrieved August 2013, section on Municipal Building
  26. ^ Order No. 397 published in Cyprus Gazette No. 1597, 4 August 1923
  27. ^ Cyprus Gazette No. 2676. 23 September 1938, Supplement No.3:The Municipal Corporations Laws, 1930 to 1938 — Limits of the Municipal Corporation of Nicosia
  28. ^ Nicosia Capital of Cyprus by Kevork Keshishian, pub 1978
  29. ^ "EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston)". Retrieved 12 December 2008. 
  30. ^ "War and Politics – Cyprus". Retrieved 12 December 2008. 
  31. ^ Solsten, Eric. "The Republic of Cyprus". US Library of Congress. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  32. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  33. ^ Solsten, Eric. "Intercommunal Violence". US Library of Congress. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  34. ^ "CYPRUS: Big Troubles over a Small Island". TIME. 29 July 1974. 
  35. ^ "Nicosia Municipality". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  36. ^ The Cyprus Conspiracy: America, Espionage and the Turkish Invasion. By Brendan O'Malley, Ian Craig. 25 August 2001. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  37. ^ Malcolm Nathan Shaw, International Law, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-521-82473-6, p. 212.
  38. ^ "Emotion as Cyprus border opens". BBC News. 23 April 2003. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  39. ^ "Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Cyprus". Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  40. ^ "Symbolic Cyprus crossing reopens". BBC News. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  41. ^ See official web site of the Nicosia Water Board, (extract 20/5/13)
  42. ^ See official web site of the Nicosia Sewerage Board, (extract 20/5/13)
  43. ^ See the official web site of Organisation for Communications of Nicosia District. ,
  44. ^ e.g. Constitution of Cyprus Article 153, s2 - "The seat of the High Court shall be in the capital of the Republic."
  45. ^ Constitution of Cyprus Article 173 - "Separate municipalities shall be created in the five largest towns of the Republic, that is to say, Nicosia, Limassol, Famagusta, Larnaca and Paphos by the Turkish inhabitants thereof"
  46. ^ Law 1959 c3
  47. ^ Phoebe Koundouri, Water Resources Allocation: Policy and Socioeconomic Issues in Cyprus, p. 70.
  48. ^ Phoebe Koundouri, Water Resources Allocation: Policy and Socioeconomic Issues in Cyprus, Springer, 2010, p. 70.
  49. ^ The Middle East: a survey and directory of the countries of the Middle East, Europa Publications., 1966, p. 171.
  50. ^ "The Constitution – Appendix D: Part 12 – Miscellaneous Provisions" (in Greek). Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  51. ^ "The Issue of Separate Municipalities and the Birth of the New Republic: Cyprus 1957–1963 (University of Minnesota Press, 2000)". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  52. ^ "The Library of Congress – Country Studies: Cyprus – Ch. 4 – 1960 Constitution". 27 July 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  53. ^ Reddick, Christopher G. Comparative E-Government. ISBN 1-4419-6535-1. 
  54. ^ Official web site of Engomi municipality, history section (Greek version),
  55. ^ Census of Cyprus (available from Statistical Service, Nicosia). Document: Population - Place of Residence, 2011, Table C. Municipality/Community, Quarter and Street Index published by Ministry of Information (CILIS_streets_022011)
  56. ^ a b c Official Gazette of the Republic No. 4341 and dated 25.01.2010
  57. ^ Official web site of Nicosia municipality andΟι-ενορίες-της-Λευκωσίας
  58. ^ Official web site of Strovolos municipality, history section (English version),
  59. ^ Official web site of Lakatamia municipality, history section (English version),
  60. ^ Official web site of Latsia municipality, history section (English version),
  61. ^ Official web site of municipality
  62. ^ Municipal web site, August 2013:
  63. ^ The authority has the population, economic viability and consent of the (original) inhabitants prescribed in the Municipalities Law (see Law 11/1985), without having been formally recognised as a municipality under that law. See also retrieved August 2013
  64. ^ See Municipal web site and postcode publication tk cyp Posta Kodları.pdf (May 2013)
  65. ^
  66. ^ (retrieved August 2013)
  67. ^ retrieved August 2013
  68. ^
  69. ^ (August 2013)
  70. ^ (retrieved August 2013)
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^ Nicosia Turkish Municipality treats it as four neighbourhoods, see
  74. ^ "Population Enumerated by Sex, Age, District, Municipality/Community and Quarter, 2011 – (2011 Census of the Republic of Cyprus, Statistical Service)" (in Greek). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  75. ^ 6th edition of the publication “Statistical Codes of Municipalities, Communities and Quarters of Cyprus” (publ. Statistical Service of Republic of Cyprus); Census of Cyprus 1946; List of Mahalla Mukhtars Nicosia Turkish Municipality
  76. ^ a b c d e f g h Census organised by the Turkish Cypriots in the occupied area retrieved October 2013
  77. ^ a b Pallouriotissa was split into Panaya and St. Constantine & Helen after 1968 .
  78. ^ Keushk Chiftlik (Kösklüçiftlik) is the area outside of the walls in Nicosia Turkish Municipality
  79. ^ a b The neighborhood of Neapoli was separated from the neighborhood of Ibrahim Pasha 25 January 2010.
  80. ^ Small part in Göçmenköy neighbourhood
  81. ^ Divided into 4 new neighbourhoods
  82. ^ The settlement of Anthoupolis is an enclave created within the municipality of Lakatameia after 1974.
  83. ^ "TRNC General Population and Housing Unit Census – (TRNC State Planning Organisation)" (PDF). Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  84. ^ "Nicosia-Cyprus presents candidacy for European Cultural Capital". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  85. ^ Addresses Cyprus Airways
  86. ^ "The most expensive and richest cities in the world – A report by UBS". 18 August 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  87. ^ Map
  88. ^ "Meteorological Service – Climatological and Meteorological Reports". August 2011. 
  89. ^ a b "Climate: Nicosia - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  90. ^ "Οργανισμός Συγκοινωνιών Επαρχίας Λευκωσίας". Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  91. ^ "Kurban bayramı yarın başlıyor". Star Kıbrıs. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  92. ^ (Greek)$file/IMMP%20Final%20Report%20Appendices.pdf
  93. ^ "Ποδηλατο Εν Δρασει / Home". Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  94. ^ "Study underway for Cyprus railway network". Famagusta Gazette. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  95. ^ "Twinnings". Nicosia Municipality. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  96. ^ "Collaborations". Nicosia Municipality. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 

External links[edit]