My dear adventurers, how are you today? Welcome to my new post! I’m sure you’ve managed to “get over” this work week and you can now make plans for the weekend. I decided to surprise you with a new post and today we continue with our story about Cyprus. In the previous two posts, you had the opportunity to get to know more about Larnaca and Agia Napa – LINK. Today I will reveal something new to you about the capital of this lovely island country. Welcome to Nicosia!
Cyprus is an island, but unfortunately the capital is not located on the sea side of the island. I know, it sounds weird, but that’s it! Although this time I have no beautiful seascape for you this time, but I am sure that you will find at least 100 reasons to love this nice town that is specific for many things, and you will soon have the opportunity to see it! Before I start with today’s post I would like to say thank you to all of my friends from National Tourism Board of Cyprus for their support and this incredible adventure which I had on this amazing island.
When we talk about religion, the people on this island are very religious, all generations, older and younger are trying to maintain a tradition. In the main capital of Cyprus, Nicosia I had the opportunity to visit two important churches of exceptional importance. The first religious building we had the opportunity to visit in Nicosia is the church of Panagia Chrysaliniotissa, located in the old part of the city.
The most important Byzantine church in Nicosia, the only church in the old part of the city that dates from the Middle Ages – the Byzantine period. The original appearance of the church was very simple with the simple dome, but for a certain period of time the architecture of the church was changed to the original shape of the dome to a great extent has changed. A large number of church icons and frescoes originated from this church are exhibited at the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop of the Makarios III Foundation in Nicosia. Taking photos the interior of the church itself is forbidden, so we respected that.
Thalia, our guide, suggested us that is much better for us if we take a little walk through the old part of the city and see what architecture is in this part of Nicosia, she was sure it will be interesting for my blog. For all those who are not familiar with the current political situation in Cyprus, after 1974, the Republic of Cyprus was violently divided, and therefore the territory of the State of Cyprus decreased considerably. Nicosia remained the capital of the country, although divided into two parts, one belonging to the Republic of Cyprus, while the other part was occupied by Turkey. Because of the sensitivity of the topic, I didn’t ask anything, as this is equally painful for them, as is Serbian vulnerable point is Kosovo. I think it would be better to get to some brighter and more interesting funny topics!
Thalia was right, their architecture is very interesting, true Mediterranean where predominantly bright colors are used, especially white and blue shades of colors that are dominant in their culture. The first thought when we strolled at the neighbourhood was: “Where are the people?” I gently asked our guide all my inquisitive questions, she only gently laughed and assumed that I would ask her at some moment. She knocked at one door and in the Greek language explained that I was a journalist who came to Cyprus, because otherwise I could explain to a woman who was 80 years old who I really am – a Blogger. Lady was delighted and let us in her home.
I learned what had been digging for me a few minutes ago, their life is taking place in a backyard owned by almost every house in Cyprus and therefore have no need to sit in front of the doors and socialize “on the street”. She introduced me with her neighbors, we got a nice and refreshing juice and cakes and we had the opportunity to see how they are actually a communicative people, regardless of the fact that I did not understand the Greek even a word, or Thalia, who is origin came from Cyprus, did not succeed in simultaneous translation, so that in me she translates a moment after the ladies were quite ready for the nice and long conversation. I did what I did best, tried to watch all the participants of the conversation in the eyes and smile, eat the cake and thank for the hospitality.
The fruit cake was refreshing, I learned something new and my heart is always full when I have the opportunity to get to know the local population and feel the warmth of welcome, cordiality and small gestures that can sometimes tell a lot about their culture.
The ladies were willing to talk for a long time, but our dear Thalia explained them that we had to go because we need to visit a lot of places and that we did not have much time. We need to go, Nicosia is waiting for us! After this settled and perfect end we reach the part of Nicosia that connects the old part of the city with the new city – center. This part of the city is the great “shelter” for all those immigrants who have come from other countries and you will notice the people on the street, smiling in addition to all their everyday problems, they are trying to welcome people to their modest restaurants.
After a few minutes of walking, we arrived to another very important religious building in Nicosia – Church of Agios Ioannis tou Theologou. The church is located next to the Archbishop Palace and opposite the Pancyprian Gymnasium, has a very rich collection of frescoes of the 18th and 19th centuries. The next stop is the Byzantine Museum of the ‘Archbishop Makarios III’ Foundation, located precisely next to the Cathedral. Amongst its wonderful exhibits also lie parts of the mosaic of the church of Kanakaria, which date back to the 6th century AD.
I will mention that in Cyprus are only the old Orthodox churches that were built in the new era or in the Middle Byzantine period. After the reign of the Ottoman Empire, certain religious objects were converted into religious objects of Islamic religion.
The new part of the city, the heart of the city is a small, modern bohemian quarter. Most visitors coming to Nicosia are asking for a graphite that can be seen in the picture above. The artist who painted the wall of the building in the center of Nicosia is unknown to the public, although residents say it is known who did it, but they do not want to reveal. The artist had a vision to make a remake of an old masterpiece in which the artist wanted to show the society that was in that time. An unknown street graffiti artist who designed this graffiti just wanted to illustrate today’s society in Cyprus and in the world as well. The building was old, but now it got a new “artistic” value.
The time has come to move on, our adventure in Nicosia was short, but sweet and educational. I will remember this trip as one of the best organized trips in my blogging career. In the picture above you have the opportunity to see the monument – the Statue of Liberty that was built in honor of the victory and independence of the Republic of Cyprus. Freedom is the most valuable thing a state or individual can provide for itself. It’s time to move on before it’s getting dark! Next station: Lefkara.
Sights which you should visit, when your way takes you to Nicosia:
- Cyprus Museum
- Venetian Fortifications
- Büyük Han
- Makarios Cultural Foundation: The Byzantine Museum
- The Cyprus Handicraft Centre
- The Fairytale Museum
- Leventis Museum
- Old Town of Nicosia
After almost 30 minutes of driving, we come to a small town in Cyprus, famous for handicrafts and handmade jewelry. Welcome to Lefkara! Lefkara is the cradle of folk art, where the art of sculptural folk “needles” was born – the famous “lefkaritiko” – whose reputation surpassed the borders of Cyprus and became famous in most European countries and around the world. Lefkara can thank for this prosperity owed to this art of needles and trade that was established at the end of the 19th century, which experienced its peak during the first thirties years of the twentieth century.
In addition to these wonderful handmade artworks that have made this little lovely village known in the world, their fame is also worth the jewellers who daily make real small pieces of art, made of precious metal. The place is so quiet, there are interesting stores in whole village, at least 20 jewellery shops and studios, then imagine how much this place has craft shops. The employment rate in this place is extremely high, say even over 90% of the population is working.
Walk through this small lovely town was more than pleasant. Lefkara is such a quiet place, clean and fresh air. People have a sense of closeness and security, and even to that extent they leave the doors of their homes open and of course, the cats that rest on their home thresholds. Lefkara is one of the fairy tales places in the world, who knows I may someday also come here to live my golden ages.
This place has one very important landmark, a church with a small part of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The magnificent church in Lefkara is dedicated to the Holy Cross and dates from the 14th century. According to Byzantineologist Athanasios Papageorgiou, the eastern part of the church dates from the 14th century. This date is confirmed by the metric inscription “Olivianos” appearing at the bottom of the golden cross in the church in Lefkara. There is written evidence that Olivianos was a bishop in this church in 1307 during the Occupation Period by the Franks.
This fact has been confirmed by the 14th-century written note which is kept in the safe of the Church. At the end of this manuscript, which is a valuable evangelist, it was noted that it was written in 1345/46 and that the monk Gabriel, who was the monk and founder of the “Holy Cross” Monastery, paid all the expenses of the Church. The church in Lefkara was restored in 1740, and then it was a wooden curly iconostasis which was made by the sculptor from Rhodes.
Iconostasis has an invisible cavity. It is a tomb in which a large wooden cross is dedicated to this church. According to tradition, the part of the Lord’s cross is located at the very center of this cross. The circle is a small, thin silver metal. Fourteen cut out pictures from the life of the Lord, the angel and Jesus’ apostles Constantine and Helen can be seen on the main cross. The process of crucifixion is shown at the center of the cross and covered with two sides, on which the Theotokos (Mother of God) and Joanis (John) are presented.
The central picture of Jesus is surrounded by four angels. Constantine the Great, “The Betrayal of Jesus”, “Golgotha” and Saint Helena are illustrated horizontally on the cross. The “throne of the second coming” and “the Resurrection of Jesus,” as well as the presentation of the “deposition” and “the burial of Jesus” are illustrated vertically on the cross from above. The Olivian picture with the relevant metric inscription is located on the lower edge of the cross. According to belief, the cross is part of the Holy Cross of the Lord.
My dear travellers once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! Don’t worry in a couple of days I will publish a new post where we will continue together to enjoy the charms of traveling and we will continue our adventure in Cyprus.
How do you like this post about Nicosia and Lefkara? Have you ever visited Cyprus? Did you have chance to enjoy in the magic of the Cyprus? I would like to share with me your experience! If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.
As I promised we’ll see again in a couple of days, so if something new and interesting happens to me, I promise, I will write to you!