Also referred to as Lefkosia, the bustling city of Nicosia in the northern interior has been the capital of Cyprus since the 12th century. It stands today as the world's only divided capital and is split in two by the Green Line, a United Nations buffer zone that divides the government-controlled Republic of Cyprus in the south from the Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.
Elegant tree-lined suburbs surround Nicosia's modern city centre, but the favoured tourist sector is the Old Town, which is being extensively renovated. The Old Town is a picturesque fusion of 16th-century walls, pedestrian precincts, pavement cafes, and squares, brimming with charm, character, and sightseeing opportunities. There are many things to see and do in Nicosia, with a variety of museums, performance venues, cinemas, restaurants, bars and nightclubs to choose from.
The city, on the Mesaoria Plain, is the centre of the Nicosia District that includes the valleys of Solea and Pitsilia and parts of Marathasa, with its mountain villages, orchards, hill resorts, and a plethora of Byzantine churches and monasteries. These are within easy reach and make for pleasant day trips from the city.
While Nicosia doesn't have the stunning Mediterranean beaches to offer visitors, it is a great base from which to explore the mountainous regions of Cyprus, which are very beautiful in their own right and offer numerous hiking trails.