Lefkoşa, Nicosia or Lefkosia …all names for the last remaining divided city in the world, located in the centre of Cyprus. Lefkoşa is a large city with many districts, and we’ll give you a brief introduction to the heart of the city and its history.
Lefkoşa has been the capital of Cyprus since the 7th century and was once a prosperous and prominent city for many. Buildings, monasteries and churches have been built in a prolific fashion during the city’s long history, but Lefkoşa has also unfortunately been a place of many conflicts – such as the invasion by the Marmelukes in 1426 and the subsequent arrival of the Venetians. They reduced the city in size and fortified it with the walls that still remain to this day. In the process of altering the city the Venetians also destroyed many fine examples of architecture spanning hundreds of years, including the resting place of the Lusignan monarchs.
The recent history of Cyprus is almost as turbulent as the island’s ancient history, and it has resulted in us living on a divided island to this day. There are many books written about the Cyprus Divide and we can only suggest that knowledge is sought by yourselves in to how this divide came to be. Below we state what is known and agreed upon, but should you be interested to know more and read various individual’s opinions on the complex and highly emotive subject then please visit our books section for some well researched material on the matter. We have gained most of our information from the CIA World Factbook.
Since 2003, the north and south of Cyprus have been accessible to each other via several checkpoints along the Green Line, all of which were opened as part of efforts aimed at reuniting the two Cypriot communities.
Today Europeans and Cypriots are able to use several border crossings in Cyprus, whether it’s to shop, trade or work. Currently there are 9 checkpoints open to pedestrians and/or traffic and below we will detail these for you. It’s worth noting that another checkpoint in Yeşilirmak on the far north-western tip of Cyprus could be set to open shortly and we will keep you up to date on that!
The economy in North Cyprus is severely hampered by its continuing isolation and the embargoes placed upon it. It relies heavily on Turkey for economic and monetary support.
In recent years the construction industry has played in a big part in North Cyprus’ developing fortunes. A building boom started in 2002 – 2003 and created an opportunity for foreign buyers to buy up holiday homes at relatively cheap prices – particularly when compared to other parts of Europe – and this helped the economy in
On Sunday the 19th of April 2009, around 160,000 voters went to the polls in North Cyprus to elect their chosen government. After nearly 5 years in power, CTP (Republican Turkish Party) were ousted in favour of UBP (National Unity Party).
During the election run up, which happens in North Cyprus with much fanfare and hype, with hire cars being used to drive around every city, town and village, horns blaring and slogans being shouted, UBP had been the main party tipped to topple the current leadership. Mehmet Ali Talat, the current President of TRNC, had a key ally in CTP for the ongoing peace negotiations between the north and south of the island, officially separated by a dividing line since 1974.
The last Census to be held in North Cyprus was in 2011, when everyone residing or holidaying in North Cyprus was required to stay at their place of residence so that the population could be counted.
The results of this census gave the total number of permanent residents (defined as those who reside in a place for a year or longer) as 256,644, and the number of people who were on the island on that day as 265,100.