12 Best Sights in Nicosia, Cyprus

Cyprus Museum

Fodor's choice

Outside the city walls stands the Cyprus Museum, the world's largest collection of Cypriot antiquities and arguably the most interesting museum on the island. It houses archaeological displays ranging from Neolithic to Roman times, including a fascinating display of 2,000 votive clay figures from the 6th and 7th centuries BC, excavated by the Swedish Mission in 1929, as well as three limestone lions and two sphinxes from the "royal" tombs of Tamassos. Other highlights include a famous statue of Aphrodite of Soli and beautiful mosaics. This stop is essential to an understanding of the island's ancient sites.

Agios Ioannis

Don't miss Agios Ioannis (St. John's Cathedral), built in 1662 within the courtyard of the Archiepiscopal Palace (Archbishop's Palace). The church is small, single aisled and barrel-vaulted, built in the Franco-Byzantine style. Look for the 18th-century murals illustrating important moments in Cypriot religious history, including a depiction of the tomb of St. Barnabas.

Archbishop Kyprianou Sq., Nicosia, 1519, Cyprus
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Rate Includes: Free

Church of Archangelos Tripiotis

Built in 1695, Tripiotis church was built in Franco-Byzantine style and is decorated with an unusually wide and ornately carved golden iconostasis. Constructed of smooth calcarenite stone, it has three naves and a dome, and the rich interior contains an outstanding icon influenced by an Italian painting from the 15th century.

Solonos 47–49, Nicosia, 1015, Cyprus

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Ethnographic Museum of Cyprus

The Ethnographic Museum, located in the 14th-century part of the Archiepiscopal Palace, has demonstrations of ancient weaving techniques and displays of ceramics, pottery, glassware, and Cypriot folk costumes that showcase Cypriot life over last 150 years.

Plateia Archiepiskopou Kyprianou, Nicosia, 1016, Cyprus
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Rate Includes: €2, Closed Sun.

Famagusta Gate

Otherwise known as Pyli Ammochostou, the Famagusta Gate is now also used as a cultural center for screenings and exhibitions, as a lecture hall, and as a theater. One of three gates into the city, the others are the Paphos Gate at the western end and the Kyrenia Gate in the Turkish occupied north. During the Ottoman rule it is said that Turks and Muslims could ride on horseback through the gates while everyone else had to walk.

Fikardou Rural Museum: The Houses of Katsinioros and Achilleas Dimitri

In this museum village, 22 miles south of Nicosia, two rural 16th-century houses with exceptional woodwork and folk architecture are open for visits. They contain the household furnishings used a century ago, including tools and utensils; the ground floor of one residence was used for pressing grapes. The House of Dimitri has been converted into a weaver's workshop and is also used as a scholars' guesthouse. Fikardou village in its entirety has been restored by the Department of Antiquities and has been declared an Ancient Monument.

Machairas Alicosia road, Fikardou, 2623, Cyprus
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Rate Includes: €2,50; included in Dept. of Antiquities 1-, 3-, and 7-day entry cards

Laiki Geitonia

Old City

In the Greek sector Laiki Geitonia, at the southern edge of the Old City, is an area of winding alleys and traditional architecture that underwent a renovation to restore its historic charm. Among its important sites is the Archbishopric, which has several museums. Tavernas, cafés, and craft workshops line the shaded, cobbled streets. Just to the west lies Ledra street, where modern shops alternate with yet more crafts shops. Parallel to this is Onasagorou street, which has come alive with the opening of a number of eclectic bars and bistro-type restaurants and cafés, creating a vibrant old-world atmosphere.

Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia

This museum traces the city's history from 3000 BC to the present through exhibits on crafts and daily life. The permanent exhibition includes important artifacts, as well as an impressive collection of medieval and modern maps illustrating Nicosia's progression, dating from the birth of the region to now.

Municipal Gardens

The lush Municipal Gardens are a well-maintained oasis of greenery in the city, across from the Cyprus Museum. Lofty palms tower over paths and walkways, and there is a playground for younger visitors.

Nicosia, Cyprus
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Rate Includes: Free

Municipal Theatre

The largest theater in Cyprus with a capacity of 1,000 had fallen silent after a roof collapse, but the historic building has been rebuilt and renovated. Hosting both theatrical and musical events, this modern venue has excellent acoustics and comfortable seating.

Mouseiou Avenue 4, Nicosia, 1097, Cyprus

National Struggle Museum

The National Struggle Museum displays photographs, personal possessions, and documents from the 1955 to 1959 Cypriot campaigns against the British. The call for union with Greece grew louder in the 1950's and many on both sides lost their life.

Plateia Archipiskopou Kyprianou, Nicosia, 1016, Cyprus
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Free, Closed weekends

Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre

Housed in the industrial setting of a former power plant, this compact contemporary art museum displays paintings, videos, sculptures, photography, and installations from up-and-coming, as well as established, Cypriot and European artists. Best of all, admission is free. There's also a hip restaurant out back with a leafy courtyard where you can hang with Nicosia's cool crowd.