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History

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THE HISTORY OF LEFKOŞA (NICOSIA)

Ledra was established in about 1050 BC, as an ancient kingdom, located in the centre of Cyprus. Today, it is now known as Nicosia (Turkish: Lefkoşa, Greek: Λευκωσία) and is the island’s capital.

The city was established on the side of the 'Kanlidere' River then known as Pedios Creek. Historically the city's names have included ‘Lefkotheon’ named by Levkos, the son of the Egyptian Ptolemaic King Soter I in the early years of the 3rd century BC.

Nicosia has been the capital city of Cyprus from the time of the Arab raids of the 7th and 8th centuries AD when coastal populations moved inland.  Over the centuries, it has had many rulers including the Ptolemies, the Romans, The Byzantines, the Franks [Lusignans], the Venetians, the Ottomans, the British and finally the Cypriots.

In 1192 AD, the former king of Jerusalem - Guy de Lusignan arrived in Cyprus. He chose to live in Nicosia, and from this point on, the capital city went through its brightest period. Most of the surviving historic buildings were established in the Lusignan period, with the buildings from the Venetian period having been destroyed and their stones used in the construction of the Old City walls still standing today.

After the Ottomans conquered the island in 1571, they used the buildings that remained from the Venetian period and changed their usage, and also built new authentic structures. Nicosia has become a historic city connecting the past to the present with its buildings constructed in different periods, ranging from the ancient times to up to our day. Nicosia is a major tourist attraction due to its rich history, unique architecture, and ability for tourists to visit between both north and south Nicosia by foot or car since the division in 1974.