8. Nicosia: Self-Guided Audio Tour for Your Smartphone
In the last 1,000 years, Nicosia has been conquered by the French, Venetians, Ottomans, and British, leaving the capital of Cyprus still divided to this day. On this walking tour through the old city, I’ll point out several tell-tale clues about the city’s complex past, which are etched into sites like the Venetian coat of arms on Famagusta Gate. Starting next to the Liberty Monument, you’ll follow part of the Venetian Walls before winding your way through the old city centre, to reach the end of our tour in front of the Archbishop’s Palace. Along the way, you’ll hear about the 300-year French reign, why the Venetians sought to take over the island from the French Lusignans, and how Ottoman rule changed the city’s fate and continues to impact it today. On this tour, you’ll see a handful of the dozens of churches that have mushroomed on every corner since the 5th century. I’ll show you the old town where, over the centuries, multifaceted societies developed each of their religions peacefully. I’ll also tell you how a flourishing, newly liberated society suddenly became divided. You can look forward to: • Learning why the city is under military occupation and how this affects it culturally and environmentally • Seeing the Venetian fortress and contemplating its hasty construction • Hearing about the city’s imperfect defenses, which enabled the Ottomans to conquer it • Deciphering architecture to understand people’s mentalities under different rulers • Hearing about the city’s oldest churches with the most precious icons and frescoes • Finding the city’s dividing line, which no other state apart from Turkey recognizes • Walking down narrow streets where you’ll see schools, homes and factories abandoned because of their proximity to a military zone • Finding out about the four-year struggle for independence, and a few other tidbits related to the city’s British occupation Give yourself 75 minutes to make the most of this tour and get a taste of what life in Nicosia was like during the last 1,000 years.