THE COLOURS AND CULTURE OF THE CAPITAL, NICOSIA.
There is a market in North Cyprus which one of the most colourful places to visit when you are on holiday in North Cyprus. Arasta market in Nicosia is actually a street surrounded by magnificent historical sites such as the Bedesten and the Selemiye Mosque.
What makes this market street totally unique is the Lokmaci Border located at the bottom of the street. This is the border crossing between North and South Cyprus. Nicosia is the last divided capital of the world, an imaginary green line cutting the city in half with Turkish Cypriots living in the North and Greek Cypriots living in the South.
The difference between the two sides cannot be more stricking. Remember your passport when visiting Nicosia and walk over the Lokmaci border to experience the difference. Macdonalds, Starbucks and Debanhams await you in the European side. Whilst the colourful , hotch potch of small unique clothes and souviner shops, and inexpensive but delicious kebab houses are a welcome retreat from mass commercialism in Arasta street. Arasta street is a cultural hub of this part of Nicosia. The shop keepers chatter and play backgammon, and extend their friendship to unsuspecting tourists, offering them Turkish tea or coffee when they make a purchase.ide of it is Sarayonu, to another
Asmaaltı and Buyukhan (the Great Inn),
and to another side of it is the Selimiye
Mosque and the Municipal Market or as a
Cypriot would say “Bandabuliya”…
To add even more magic to the Arasta experience are the amazing historical buildings located in the surrounding area. The Buyuk Khan – The Great Inn dates back to 1572. As with all the historical buildings it has been lovingly restored and is now home to largest collection of Turkish Cypriot handicrafts. The atmosphere is outstanding.
The Bedestan is a beautiful 14th Gothic Church, standing in the grounds of the Selimiye mosque. It has been recently renovated and is now used as cultural venue. Be sure to stop and watch one of the daily performances of the Whirling Devishes, a mesmorising expereince.
Next find the Municipal Market or as a Cypriot would say Bandabuliyia. Packed full of local produce and home to Sweeties Turkish Delight, wonderful Turkish Delight made on the premises.
Other historical buildings located close by include the Buyuk Hammam- Grand Baths. The impressive Selimiye Mosque – St Sophia Catherdral. The Sultan’s Library and Lapidary Museum and the Eaved House and Lusignan House.
With so much sight seeing to do, make sure you leave yourselfs enough time to shop aswell! Joın the Cyxp Travel – half day tour to Nicoisia or ask us about hiring a car. Every holiday to North Cyprus should include a visit to Nicosia.