A Stroll in the Old City of Nicosia -Ledra Street.
Trip Start Mar 03, 2010
145Trip End Feb 06, 2011
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Foreigners can get confused as one place can have several different names. You see, Greeks call the capital Lefkosia, the British call it Nicosia, and the Turks call it Lefkosa.
What hurts most for us Cypriots is the fact that it is not only Cyprus that is a divided country, but the capital city is also divided between North and South.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is currently the only divided capital city in the world! It is a city which is full of ancient and medieval remains, with a nice selection of Venetian, English and Ottoman architecture. I plan to visit again shortly and spend some days here. I will do this probably in October on my coming trip
Michali drops me at Makariou street not very far from the main square near Eleftherias Street and from there I walk all the way to Ledras to the checking point which has been opened since 2008. I have a few questions to ask the police there before a stroll for pictures. A friend of mine who is not a EU member wants to visit the north and wants to hire a car so I need to find out if this is possible.
For people wishing to visit the north side,- if a EU national there are no formalities as Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and they can easily pass through the Greek checking point.
People though who are non European Nationals and want to cross the line have to get themselves stamped out because on the way back in the south side they will have to prove that they did not enter the island illegally from the north side.
When reaching the Turkish Cypriot checkpoint you will have to present your passport, wherever you come from and you will obtain a visa on a separate piece of paper. (You do not want to stamp in your passport because this will cause problems on the way back into the south)
Another thing that people should have in mind is that bringing a hired car from the north to south is not possible.
When you return from the north you have to give back your visa, so make sure you keep it safe and return it to the people at the Turkish Cypriot checkpoint.
You then proceed to the Greek Cypriot check point and your passport will be scrutinized. If you are EU National you gain entry automatically, if not it is important you were stamped out.
Every time I come to the Old city and see the buildings on the Turkish side that belonged to Greek Cypriots I am so moved. It is horrible to be on the south and see your house a few metres away and cannot have access to it. I never dared to walk to the opposite side from this specific checkpoint. Homes that Turkish people now live in used to be homes of Greek Cypriots. I have acquaintances whose houses can be seen from the checkpoint and now they are either abandoned or Turkish families live in.
I cannot remember of a single time in my life of ever walking on the other side when it was still open before 1974, and I might do this on my coming trip out of curiosity. It all depends on my mood those days!
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