North Nicosia

North Nicosia
North Nicosia
Turkish: Lefkoşa
North Nicosia is located in Cyprus
North Nicosia
Location in Cyprus
Coordinates: 35°10′37″N 33°21′48″E / 35.177011°N 33.36324°E / 35.177011; 33.36324Coordinates: 35°10′37″N 33°21′48″E / 35.177011°N 33.36324°E / 35.177011; 33.36324
Country De jure  Cyprus
De facto  Northern Cyprus
District De jure Nicosia District
De facto Lefkoşa District
 - Mayor of North Nicosia Cemal Metin Bulutoğluları
Population (2006)
 - Total 84,893
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

North Nicosia or Northern Nicosia (Turkish: Lefkoşa Greek: Λευκωσία), is the capital and largest city of the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It is the northern half of Nicosia, and governed by the Nicosia Turkish Municipality. Located on the River Pedieos and situated almost in the center of the island, it is the host for the seat of the government as well as the main business center.

Following the intercommunal violence of the 1960s, the capital of Republic of Cyprus was divided between the island's Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in the south and north respectively in 1963.[1][2] An attempted coup by the Greek military-junta to unite the island with Greece in 1974 led to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

84,893 people live in North Nicosia.[3] North Nicosia is important commercially with many shops, two modern shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment. The city is a trade centre and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Nicosia is the seat of two Turkish Cypriot Universities.



The Büyük Han.
Kyrenia Gate.
Ledra Street.

Nicosia was a city-state known as Ledra or Ledrae in ancient times. The king of Ledra, Onasagoras, was recorded as paying tribute to Esarhaddon of Assyria in 672 BC. Rebuilt by Lefkos, son of Ptolemy I around 300 BC, Ledra in Hellenic and Roman times was a small, unimportant town, also known as Lefkothea. By the time it received its first Christian bishop, Trifillios, in 348, the town was called Lefkousia or Ledra.

Still known as Lefkosia, the city became the island's capital around the 10th century. It had grown in importance because of threats to the coastal cities Paphos and Salamis, which made many people flee to the centrally located Lefkosia.

The seat of the Lusignan kings of Cyprus since 1192, it became a Venetian possession in 1489, and fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1571. Ledra is now the actual name of the most popular commercial street. The tombs of the Lusignan kings are in the former Cathedral of St. Sophia, now a mosque in the North Nicosia.

The exonym "Nicosia" appeared with the arrival of the Lusignans. The Frankish Crusaders either could not, or did not care to, pronounce the name Lefkosia, and tended to say "Nicosia". In this era of the Franks, the city expanded culturally, and in the 15th and 16th centuries, saw the erection of a number of palaces, mansions, churches and monasteries.

Some 20,000 residents died as a result of the Ottoman siege of 1570. Man-made and natural disasters further struck the city during the 19th century. The Turks crushed the 1821 anti-Ottoman revolt in blood.

Cholera hit the city in 1835, and fire destroyed large parts of Nicosia in 1857. The British Empire gained control over the island in 1878, with Nicosia serving as the capital of the new British possession.

Nicosia was the scene of extreme violence in the period just prior to Cypriot independence in 1960. Since the Greek supported coup and Turkish invasion which followed it in 1974, part of the Turkish occupied city has been inside the boundary of a United Nations Buffer Zone.

The core of the city also has well-preserved Venetian fortifications, built in the 16th century, which encircle the old, medieval part of the city.


As the capital of the republic, North Nicosia is North Cyprus's political, economic and cultural center. North Nicosia hosts the headquarters of the ministries of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The city is governed by Nicosia Turkish Municipality, which is recognized by the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus.[4]

The Municipality of North Nicosia is now headed by the Mayor, who is Cemal Bulutoğulları.

The Mayor and the Councillors exercise all the powers vested in them by the Municipal Corporation Law. Sub-committees consisting of members of the Municipal Council act only on an advisory level and according to the procedures and regulations issued by the Council.

Mayors of North Nicosia

Post-Independence (1959-Present) (All Turks)

  • Dr. Tahsin Gözmen: 1958-1962
  • Cevdet Mirata: 1962-1962
  • Dr. Fuat Celalettin: 1962-1968
  • Dr. Ziver Kemal: 1969-1976
  • Mustafa Akıncı: 1976-1990
  • Burhan Yetkili: 1990-1994
  • Şemi Bora: 1994-2002
  • Kutlay Erk: 2002- 2006
  • Cemal Metin Bulutoğluları: 2006–present.


Nicosia lies roughly at the center of the island, with a history that can be traced back to the Bronze Age. It became capital of the island in the 11th century AD. The Lousignians turned it into a magnificent city with a Royal Palace and over fifty churches. Today, it blends its historic past brilliantly with the bustle of a modern city. The heart of the city, enclosed by 16th century Venetian walls, is dotted with museums, ancient churches and medieval buildings preserving the nostalgic atmosphere of years past. Yet this old heart is split in two, leaving Nicosia the only capital city in the world to remain divided by force.

Although the city has been destroyed more than once by conquerors, there are still enough vestiges to enjoy the past. History is most strikingly experienced at the Venetian city wall, which was built between 1567 and 1570 by Giulio Savorgnano. The 4.5 metres thick wall has three gates, but only the Kyrenia Gate is in North Nicosia. The Nicosia Walls served as the prototype for the Palmanova walls built afterwards by the Venetians. The historic heart of the city is clearly found inside the walls, but the modern city has grown beyond. The heart of the city is Atatürk Square, while the centre of entertainment is Mehmet Akif Avenue (Dereboyu).[5]


Ercan International Airport has been used for international flights. There is no train or metro system nor plans to develop one. But between 1905 and 1951, Nicosia was a prominent station of the Cyprus Government Railway.


Twinnings and Sister Cities

Famous Nicosians

  • Fazıl Küçük former vice president of the Republic of Cyprus (1960–1963).
  • Ferdi Sabit Soyer, prime minister of TRNC (2005).
  • Serdar Denktaş former TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Okan Ersan, guitarist.
  • Acar Akalin, singer, guitarist.
  • Hüseyin Cakmak, cartoonist, writer.
  • Alparslan Türkeş, a Turkish nationalist politician, who served as a Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
  • Hussein Chalayan (Hüseyin Çağlayan), a British Turkish Cypriot fashion designer
  • Fatoş Tozaki, basketball player

See also


External links

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