Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nicosia, Cyprus

Since early last fall I've been granted an amazing opportunity- I've been writing and editing for Cyprus "PULSE" Magazine, a new lifestyle magazine on the island published by Pericles Nicolaides. I've written editorials and a few articles about various topics and I have to say that I'm flattered by the opportunity to take part in something so new and exciting. A few months ago I had the opportunity to travel to Cyprus to experience the island for myself, to meet the people and taste the flavors. Cyprus is really a paradise. 

I was received by our friends,  Phivos and Popi Nicolaides, they are the two of the most gracious hosts I've ever visited! 

On the first day of my visit we walked through old Nicosia and I fell in love with the character & charm of the old neighborhood and its buildings. Nicosia has been the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. 

A narrow street in old Nicosia. 

This is the door on the House of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios. This was originally a Venetian Building and it's probably one of the most important 18th century buildings in Nicosia. 

House of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios

Phivos & Popi pose in front of the magnificent door of the House of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios.

A deteriorated balcony. I can only imagine how beautiful this once was. 

These metal plaques are on the street. If you follow them, they will direct you to the city walls. 

 Very quaint & welcoming.

I love taking photos of doorways and windows. It was fairly difficult to take photos of some of the doorways because the streets are so narrow and there isn't much space to work with but I love how quaint the neighborhood is.  This entrance is beautiful. 

 Here's the Famagusta Gate. It's the only one of Nicosia's three old gates within the southern sector. Now it's the Lefkosia Municipal Cultural Centre where it hosts various exhibitions and performances. 

I've read about the Famagusta Gate before and it was almost surreal for me to  actually stand in front of it. A great experience.

Archbishop Kyprianos bust and the Agios Ioannis Cathedral. 

 Another narrow street. 

Eleftheria (Liberty) Monument in Nicosia constructed a few weeks before the Turkish invasion in 1974 and not yet inaugurated, for obvious reasons. 

Hamam Omerye...I didn't have time to experience their services, but one day I will make the time.

Inside Hamam Omerye 

A cafe near the Hamam. 

Inside Agios Antonios church in the old city of Nicosia. Popi is glad to explain details about the church to some English tourists. I was lucky to have the best tour guides as my hosts.  Listening and learning from their personal experiences was intriguing and I learned a lot from them. 

A cat in the garden  just outside of Agios Antonios church. 

Walking along the city streets we found a really cool motorcycle,  a perfect photo opportunity! 

I can imagine this is a fun place...

 Ledra Street off of  Eleftheria Square links the old Nicosia with the modern city. 

Phivos made a new acquaintance while waiting to cross the Green Line.  Another great photo opportunity! 

Later, we crossed the Green Line into the Turkish occupied side of Nicosia. There is a noticeable difference walking from one side to the other. On the Cypriot side there are elegant, modern shops and just beyond checkpoint on the Turkish occupied side is a marketplace. 

Silk cocoons for sale. 

In the courtyard of the Great Inn. This is a beautiful structure with an intriguing history is considered to be one of the finest buildings on the island. 

 A view of the Selimiye mosque, originally the Roman Catholic cathedral of Agia Sofia, is the oldest, and one of the finest examples of Gothic art in Cyprus, the work of the French masons who accompanied the Crusades. 

As we walked back to Ledra Street in Nicosia we stopped to chat with a friend of Popi & Phivos. 

Myself with Molly Zoeller(she graced the first cover of Cyprus Pulse), her fiancée Alkis,  Marios  and his lovely wife, Efi. 

We walked a lot that morning and after enjoying a nice lunch with new friends, we rested and then packed up and drove to Paphos for the weekend. 

While visiting, I was lucky enough to spend some time with the wonderful-sweet dog Buddy
I had a wonderful time in Nicosia, I have nothing but fond memories and throughly enjoyed my experience. I consider it an honor to have such warm and generous friends.