Old and Surrounded by Walls ~ Northern Nicosia

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I am a romantic by nature when we start talking about cities. I love the crowd, the possibilities, and every single person having a story. However, above all, I love how those old buildings have been through all those ages, all the things those yellow, sandy stone walls have seen must be spectacular. The civilisations that used to breath and live in those cities never fail to fascinate me.

Today's Post is about my hometown, Nicosia,more specifically north Nicosia, 

Although I grew up outside of the old walled city of Nicosia, I remember wandering around the city with my parents when I was much much younger. Perhaps that is why I love this place where many civilisations conquered over centuries.

Last Wednesday, 17th of June '17, we got out of bed early to walk around this old city within the walls before sun goes way too up and burns our skin. If you have ever been to Cyprus you would know that after around 11 A.M. it's not really possible to walk around in the sun.

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Anyhow, we pick up my grandmother from her home, which still lives right outside of the walls which was built in Middle Ages by the Republic of Venice in order to defend the city. My grandmother, on the other hand is a bilingual lady who remembers the times when the two communities of the islands used to live together. She speaks both Turkish and Greek, perhaps a true Cypriot (?). She also talks about old times as we walk around, telling us about the little bits of our culture that are fading away with migration of foreigners into the island and migration of locals away from the island.

Here is a little fact I happen to remember;

St. Sophia Cathedral, Nicosia
St. Sophia Cathedral, Nicosia

According to my grandmother if a shop owner placed a chair in front of his/her shop as the photo above that meant the owner is away for some reason during the day and he/she will be back shortly. Hence, no would enter the store and the owner would not even lock the door, because crime rates were really really low. Although they are still low, it's not as good as it used to be....

bandabuliya kibris
bandabuliya kibris

This is the entrance of what I know as the Selimiye Mosque today, which was built by Byzantine church as the Cathedral of Saint Sophia. Over time, with the Ottoman Empire taking over the island, the Cathedral was converted into a Mosque.

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Right next to the Selimiye Mosque, you find the old municipal market, or as commonly known by us locals Bandabulya. After the renovations that were made a few years ago, it's a must see, especially the ceiling is a piece of art some might say, you can also watch an amazing video about it from here. There isn't much to say but lots to see from local grocery stalls to a small exhibition that is ongoing, this time there was an exhibition of sculptures made by recycled materials made in local schools...

You're not a true Cypriot if you don't stop for a coffee, especially the one Cypriots drink a lot, Turkish Coffee. My grandmother chats with an Greek Cypriot lady about wooden basket prices while we enjoy our coffee and appreciate the scenery of Buyuk Han (Great Inn).

You can hear different languages as you walk around the city and I can see the great potential of this old town in the middle of the huge city of Nicosia that still remains the only city divided in Europe. As Cypriots we are longing for the old glorious days of this old walled city. Although new investors and shop owners gives me hope, only time will show us whether if the future of this city will be as beautiful and poetic as it was in the past.

Old man sitting in Buyuk Han (Great Inn)
Old man sitting in Buyuk Han (Great Inn)

There is so much to say, but this post is already long enough. Maybe I'll write another post soon...

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