Selimiye Camii

Selimiye mosque, Λευκωσία

When you look at ancient maps and images of Λευκωσία, you can see a large church in the center of the city boundaries marked by the Venetian walls protecting the city: the Cathedral of Saint Sophia. It was built from the year 1209 on and the Knights Templar supported the creation during the crusades. The kings of Cyprus were crowned there during the existence of their kingdom (1192 to 1489 CE).

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Liberty monument, Λευκωσία

One of the biggest monuments of Λευκωσία is the Liberty Monument erected in 1973. It honors the EOKA fighting against British colonialism and occupation of Cyprus. EOKA stands for Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters. It was a military organisation fighting for Cypriot independence and for long time it was seen as a right-wing, nationalist organization. Today their work for independence is accepted and it has its fair part in Cypriot history.

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Green line

Λευκωσία is the last divided capital in Europe. When you’re walking through the city, you’ll find barriers made from oil barrels, roadblocks, barb wire and (bored) guards along a no-man’s-land leading from the east to the west of the city. This area is protected by UN forces and even as you’re not allowed to do photographs you can get close to the border pretty easy. It is bizarre to see the empty and deteriorating buildings in the heart of the city.

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Centrum hotel, Λευκωσία

Λευκωσία offers a lot of hotels, for sure. But if you want to stay inside the ancient city walls of the capital city there is only a small selection in the southwest. The Centrum hotel is a viable choice as it is close to the Ledras street leading through the city and to the occupied north and it is surrounded by numerous restaurants and bars.

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Panagia tis Asinou, Νικητάρι

There are many fantastic UNESCO world heritage sites around the world but the Panagia tis Asinou might be my most favorite one – because it is so surprising and so high in contrast to its surroundings. When you arrive at this place belonging to Νικητάρι you’re at the end of the world with nothing else than forests, green fields, and mountains. And then there is a barn made of stone surrounded by a low stone wall.

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Millomeris waterfall, Πάνω Πλάτρες

The Troodos mountains close to mount Olympos are a wonderful green area that in winter is used for skying. The village Troodos itself is a special one: nobody is officially living there, but it is always crowded. In summer, many trails invite you to a long hike and the different waterfalls in this area are often the final destination.

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Hidden gem

Archangelos Michail, Πεδουλάς

Within the Troodos mountains of Cyprus, you can find a special UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, it is a combination of different small sites, of painted small churches distributed throughout the mountains. One of them is the Archangelos Michail at Πεδουλάς, a small church that could easily be overlooked as it looks like a barn. And that is probably the reason why the paintings survived over time: it is a well-hidden church.

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