Divided City

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Cyprus  ,
Thursday, March 20, 2008

It was around 80 K's to get to the spilt town of Nicosia. There were signs everywhere, well that was until the motorway ranout. I knew I was in the outskirts, I just had to find the city centre. Once again, my built in GPS brought me to the walls, actually to the Pathos Gate, which is where I wanted to dump the car. Once done, off I went, to cross a border that really isn't there, into a country that isn't a country.
Northern Nicosia
Border famalities were easy. The Cypriots didn't care, whilst the Northies stamped a piece of paper. And in I went. I had been given a walking tour so I followed it. This part of Nicosia felt funny, and it wasn't danger or anything, it felt like I was in Sarajevo or the shithole that is Skopje, but on a larger scale. It was rundown in some places, but there was so much life. I came across a church, but was unable to go in as the fence was covered in barbed wire. Because of this, it got me thinking, Islam doesn't really promote itself as a friendly religion, either convert or be closed !!! Around the corner was even more evidence of this. The Cathedral in the centre had been converted into a Mosque when the Ottomans had invaded. In some respect, I feel there had been an improvement, instead of hard stones, I was now walking on soft lush carpet. Actually, from the outside, if you took away the minaret, it would actually pass as a church. Next up was the markets, and I noticed a sign for Pide. I have a love for this shit, but when I asked how they make it, I walked out disappointed. Are these people Turkish or Cypriot?. I did manage to find the wall a few times, and I felt sad looking at the decrepit old buildings stuck in no mans land, who owned these and what they had given up. Not long after, well after a Turkish coffee hit, I walked from the country that doesn't exist and into Cyprus
Cypriot Nicosia
The walls here are amazing. First you have barbed wire, and then, as this is a Venetian town, you have walls that are similar to Kotor's or any Venetian city in Croatia, which is to be expected as it is a Venetian city !!!
I found a taverna straight away and ordered some lunch. Once my food arrived, a local came and joined me, spoke Cypriot to me, and as it's all Greek to me, I ignored him, he then asked.
Cypriot Guy - You speak English
Me - Yes
Cypriot Guy - You are eating the chicken
Me - Yes
Cypriot Guy - You are not eating the pig
Me - No
Cypriot Guy - Are you a Muslim
Me - No
Cypriot Guy - Eat the pig to show me
Me - Ok
After that, we became best friends !!!
I moved on, and found the wall again, well actually the opposite side to where I had been. The guards looked bored and were stuggling to stay awake !!! As I moved on, I found some Mosques that were locked up, was this in retaliation for what had happened on the otherside to the churches? In another church, I spoke to a girl and she told me that she had Islamic friends, but no Greek Cypriot would ever marry a Muslim !!! It was beginning to sound like the hardcore Cathoes and Protties of Northern Ireland, so I ran away until I found another Mosque that was open, and just like the Northern one, this too had been converted from a church. I had a look in, and then outside, I saw a guy, gave him the Asalum wallicum. He replied and asked if I was a Muslim, I said no, and then told him that he was from Pakistan. He said yes, so we spoke about cricket (as you do) and also about him being an illegal immigrant !!!
And then it was time to move on and get amongst the traffic.
As I drove, I noticed a sign, so I turned off and and visited the houses of Choirokoitia. It's a Neolithic site and is meant to be around 9000 years old. Realistically, it looked likew a load of od wellish kind of things on the hillside. Was it worth €1.71, well I would have died wondering, so I'm kind of glad I came.
And Finally
And that was the end of day 2 on the island of Cyprus. It had been a good day but should I have gone to Northern Cyprus, a place where the Turks have some of the worst history in human rights? Well I have been to Myanmar/Burma, and I want to go to China, so fuck it I say, I go where my feet will take me


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starlagurl on

That exchange between you and the Cypriot is priceless...

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

thistlemoon on

Those are some stunning mosques. So beautiful inside.

I agree, the exchange about chicken and pork was hilarious! he meant business!

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