Lefkosa is the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Turkish side of the Republic of Cyprus's capital Nicosia. A historically important centre, the city is filled with monuments and museums that are a testament to its rich past, making it a fantastic place to explore.
Visitors can also delve into the surrounding mountains and coastline for a true Mediterranean experience.
When flying in you should consider Lefkosa car hire and pick up at Ercan International Airport (ECN), the main civilian airport. Though car hire is advisable to explore the island, the capital itself is navigable on foot and visitors should take the chance to see all the sites on offer. This includes a large number of museums and ancient buildings.
Among the top museums to visit is Lefkosa's Turkish Museum, a former monastery from the 17th century dedicated to the Islamic sect known as the Mevlevi Order, or the Whirling Dervishes. Another is Dervish Pasha Mansion, the former home of the first Turkish newspaper in Cyprus, which today has been restored and converted into an ethnographic museum.
Evidence of Cyprus's more recent ethnic violence can be found in the Museum of Barbarism, a house that has been turned into a shrine in memory of those who died there in a 1963 attack.
Visitors should also take time to visit Selimiye Mosque, also known as Agia Sofia Cathedral, the main mosque of the city. It is also the oldest surviving and largest gothic church on the island.
Nestled next to Selimiye Mosque is the Bedesten, one of the city's most historic buildings. It was originally built in the 6th century as a small Byzantine church and evolved over time into an important market place, although today it is preserved as an ancient monument for visitors to enjoy.
Buyuk Han is another of the finest buildings on the island of Cyprus. Built by the Ottomans in 1572, it is the largest caravanserai (inn) on the island and is today a thriving centre of art and galleries. Another Ottoman creation, the Buyuk Hammam Baths, a fully functioning traditional hammam situated in what was originally a 14th-century church, is also well worth a visit.
Beyond Lefkosa, you can visit the stunning countryside and mountains where there are many wooded trails for hikers to enjoy.
Drive the length of the Karpaz Peninsula, one of the most prominent geographical features of the island. On the way, stop off in the coastal resort of Kyrenia, famous for its historic castle and harbour. Visitors can enjoy a range of water sports and sailing activities during the hot summer months on the Mediterranean island.
Alternatively, visit Famagusta, just outside Lefkosa on the eastern coastline. The walled city is a big tourist attraction and it is also home to the deepest harbour on the island and an annual Arts and Culture Festival.
To explore further afield, you can even check if you can take the car over the border into the Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus, though you may find it easier to cross the border on foot.
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