A taste of Cyprus

From a museum village to the last divided city in Europe.
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Fikardou is a medieval museum village in the mountains to the south of Nicosia. Its stone houses are currently home to only 10 residents.  Kakopetra, another village further into the mountains is built from mud and wattle, as are some of the buildings within Nicosia's walls.

Famagusta is on the northern coast of Turkish Cyprus. During the Venetian period it was an extremely rich walled city filled with fabulous buildings.  After the Venetians lost it, the buildings were allowed to fall into ruin.  What is left of the churches and palaces are haunting, not destroyed by war but by time and neglect.

The Green Line divides Cyprus into north and south, Turkish and Greek. There are three crossing points in Nicosia, and every time you go back and forth you have to show your passport. The border controls are Greek and Turkish Cypriot, and the border is maintained by the UN. Along the Green Line you can see bombed out houses, barbed wire, barricades and sandbags, often as a backdrop to the cafe you're sitting in. You have to watch where you take pictures or your camera could be taken away.

The old city of Nicosia, and still the city center for both sides, is a walled city, shaped like a star with 11 points.

Old city Turkish Nicosia is freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, olive cake, neglected buildings, mosques in converted churches, a beautifully restored caravansary where merchants would stable their animals on the ground floor and then stay in inn rooms on the next floor, the old and very grand English law court, lovely old two story houses, the museum of the dervishes, and a shopping and tourist area.

Old city Greek Nicosia has shopping streets, filled cafe-bars and tavernas, a restored neighborhood of one and two story homes, starting to fill with hipster businesses and bars, museums, and street art and graffiti. Outside the walls are neighborhoods of one and two story colonial homes and mansions, a number now housing consulates and businesses.  Their front yards are often palm trees and a riot of other flowering trees, vines, and plants.

Arts and Crafts