Ledra street in the centre of Nicosia is an easy pedestrian crossing point from the south into North Cyprus. If you have chosen to book a cheap Cyprus holiday and ended up in the south or a package holiday to North Cyprus, it matters little if you wish to explore the northern sector of Nicosia.
The place to start is at the Kyrenia gate tourist office. Here you can pick up your Blue Line map which is the perfect guide and all you need to explore Nicosia. A broad blue line painted on the road or footpath takes you on a circuit around the city taking in all the places of interest along the way. The reverse of the map gives you pertinent or historical detail of the twenty places along the route. The walk itself stays within the walls of the old city and can take up to four hours or more depending on your level of fascination with the places visited.
One of the more unusual places of interest is the Mevlevi Lodge, the museum of the Whirling Dervishers, no 20 on the map. First built in the 17th century, it provided some accommodation for the pilgrims when they came to pray. It was closed in 1954 but restored and reopened in 2,000. There are 16 very interesting tombs still in the mausoleum and models showing the Dervishers at prayer. Dervishers still come over from Turkey from time to time and use Mevlevi lodge for prayer. Invited audiences are allowed to witness their whirling in silence with absolutely no clapping.
The Buyuk Han, or the Great Inn, built in the Ottoman period is one of the major attractions. Originally an inn for itinerant traders, there were rooms on the ground floor to house their goods and camels with merchants sleeping quarters upstairs. Nowadays these rooms have been converted into shops, largely selling handicrafts, and some into restaurants.
Few people will want to miss Arasta, the very traditional main shopping street where the traders allow their goods to spill out onto the street creating a colourful and busy atmosphere.
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