New look Nicosia

By | Category: Travel destinations
modern Nicosia

modern Nicosia

Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus and the largest city on the island state dates back centuries. One a citadel for the ambitious growth of Venice, for many who have visited it perhaps, twenty years ago, it seemed happy to rely on its past to encourage us to visit it. Two million visitors travel to the island each year but do we visit the capital? No, we head to the beaches to enjoy the sun, sand and sea and, apart from a possible day excursion,  that is where we stay.
But the city is changing and not just by importing international brand coffee shops and retailers it is importing world-renown architects to give the city not just a face-lift but a rejuvenation as well.
Zaha Hadid, probably the most influential female architect in the world today if not for centuries, has designed and started creating a new urban recreation park in Freedom Square in the city.
Another British architect team, Feilden Clegg Bradley has created the A G Leventis Gallery which houses  the art collection amassed by the late Cypriot entrepreneur Anastasios Leventis to the public for the first time. For just €2 visitors can enjoy over 800 works by the likes of Monet, Pissarro, Chagall and Renoir  as well as  a substantial Greek collection of the 19th century and two rooms devoted to famous Greek Cypriot painters born in the early 20th century such as Kissonergis, Diamantis and Kanthos. Three houses have been converted into one to create the Zambelas Art Gallery which has become a home for a series of contemporary and rotating exhibitions.
But not all is new. Some of the things that the tourists who do come to the city to enjoy, still remain such as the city walls which were built by the Venetians in the 16th century to protect against Arab attacks on the city, and which give some of the best views over parts of the city. The Laiki Geitonia still exists, the historic and now pedestrianised area and is home to Nicosia’s main shopping street as well as prettily restored houses, shady restaurants and handicraft workshops.

Whilst new and exciting developments are taking place that will lure the visitors, the older traditional attractions are still there. What the tourist board now needs to do is persuade more of us to leave the beaches and spare more time in the capital.

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