Keeping Cool at the Best Hotels in Nicosia, a Swimming Pool Oasis and Cyprus Oldest Churches

The best hotels in Nicosia are almost certain to have air conditioning. The mercury tends to hit 35 – 40C or more during the height of summer so it’s ‘cool’ for Nicosia accommodation to keep their guests cool inside as the air bakes outside.

The nearest stretch of Mediterranean sea for long cool dips is probably either in Kyrenia, northern Cyprus or Mackenzie Beach some 55 minutes away, south east, near Larnaca. But there is cooling water to be had closer to home at Eleon Leisure Park, Ploutarhou, Egkomi – only a few minutes walk from Hypnos Hotel. The enormous pool, described as a 10,000 square metre oasis shaded by olive trees, Eleon is designed for all the family with a supervised kid’s play area, bouncy castle and inflatable playground.

Tall palm trees for much-needed shade

A little further out beyond the city centre, in Latsia, can be found the Ginger Swimming Pool. A popular spot with local inhabitants, there is also a cocktail bar and a restaurant offering a wide range of dishes. One of the oldest public swimming pools in Nicosia can be found next door to the Olympic Swimming Pool – both built for when Cyprus hosted the 1989 Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE), a biennial multi-sport event for nine EU countries. The main swimming pool and the three smaller pools for children are completely surrounded by tall eucalyptus palm trees and walnut trees for much-needed shade.

Cool shade where the waters of a more spiritual kind may be encountered within a number of historical churches across Nicosia – and just about everywhere throughout Cyprus, of course.

Archangel’s Spear Draws In All the Water

The Church of Panagia Faneromeni – one of the oldest churches on the island – is in the centre of the old city. Founded in 1872 but first constructed in 1222 as part of a Cistercian monastery for women, in 1715 the church was completely rebuilt following an earthquake. The new church was named after an icon of the Virgin discovered among the ruins of the old church. The current church, which dates back to 1872, includes 61 icons and a large silver-framed Cross, containing a piece of the True Cross and depicting scenes from the life of Jesus.

The Church of Archangel Michael Trypiotis, also found in old Nicosia, was built in 1695 on the site of a 13th century monastery. According to legend, Archangel Michael once saved a monastery and its inhabitants from pagans who had diverted the flow of two nearby rivers by striking the ground with his spear and causing a crack to appear to draw in all the water. The church walls are still covered with frescoes created in 1741 depicting Archangel Michael Trypiotis, who is celebrated every year on November 8th.

 

Air conditioned for keeping cool in body and spirit – Hypnos by bed N’mix in the city centre of Nicosia!
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Lefkosia versus Nicosia! A Fascinating History of the Cyprus Capital

Nicosia or Lefkosia? Why two names? Questions that a curious traveller might casually ask at Reception when checking into Nicosia accommodation. As visitors make their way to Nicosia city centre hotels, there might also be some confusion caused by town names and road signs bearing both a Greek and a Turkish name.

Some visitors will know something about events which took place in northern Cyprus in the 1970s. But not everyone can be up to speed with the earlier history between Turkey and Cyprus, especially Nicosia, which is one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean!

Egyptian king forever associated with the city

Nicosia has been continuously  inhabited since 2,500 BC, the beginning of the Bronze Age, when people first settled in the fertile plain of Mesaoria in the northern area of the island. City Kingdoms were established in Cyprus in the first millennium BC, including the Kingdom of Ledra (or Ledrae), between 1050 BC – 330 AD, according to Assyrian (modern day northern Iraq and south-eastern Turkey) sources.

Around 300 BC, the son of the Egyptian king, Ptolemy, Lefkos, rebuilt the city, leaving his name to be forever associated with the city as the name of Lefkosa (Turkish) or Lefkosia (Greek). Originally, the city was called “Leucusia”. By the 9th or 10th century AD, Lefkosia had developed into a key centre of administration, and the island’s capital. Nicosia, which is the Frankish (Germanic) name of the city, is thought to have appeared in the late 1100s.

Three official languages

Fast forward some eight hundred years to February 1995, and a meeting of the Nicosia Municipal Council declares that the city will, henceforth, be identified as ‘Lefkosia’ instead of ‘Nicosia’. The background to this decision is based upon the three languages that Cyprus officially uses on documents and banknotes – English, Greek and Turkish.

During British rule of Cyprus, the capital was called ‘Nicosia.’ After independence in 1960,  ‘Nicosia’ remained in the Latin script used for English-language documentation, but ‘Lefkosia,’ used for Greek documentation. Documents written in Turkish, which use a modified form of the Latin script, identify the city as ‘Lefkos.’

The council’s decision to drop the name ‘Nicosia,’ aims to leave just ‘Lefkosia’ or ‘Lefkos’. However, the city’s name in the Latin script will continue to appear as ‘Lefkosia’ followed by ‘Nicosia,’ in brackets! It seems that visitors to Nicosia are likely to continue being confused by street names, map and documents for the foreseeable future…

All is clear, easy and straightforward at Hypnos by bed N’mix in the city centre of Nicosia!
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Flood Festival Larnaca – Five Days of Water Fun, Greek Music and Dance!

The Flood Festival, “Kataklysmos”, takes place every year around May / June in Larnaca – 50 days after Orthodox Easter – and only a 45 minute drive from Nicosia city centre hotels. Distance is no object for a new “curious” generation of holiday adventurers”, who often define themselves by their search for small but meaningful places, customs and traditions. The “boutique” experience is tied in with the desire for authentic, cultural knowledge and insight.

Today, ‘luxury holiday’ often means the best hotels in Nicosia have genuine historical ties with their location and local community. They are also likely to be no more than a short walk or drive away from the genuine heart of the Cypriot way of life, which throughout the year is celebrated in towns and villages across the island with traditional customs and festivals, such as the Flood Festival.

Water is a key symbol of the festival

Larnaca is situated on the coast, so it’s no surprise that water is a key symbol of the festival, which is being held Friday 14th to Wednesday 19th of June. Kataklysmos – ‘Cataclysm’ or ‘Deluge’ or in Greek – is a celebration of Noah and his salvation from the biblical Flood.

Included on the UNESCO National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Flood festival is the biggest event on the island. Huge numbers of Cypriots come together to mark the Christian feast of Pentecost with religious ceremonies and traditional cultural and sporting activities.

Illusionist, known as “The Godfather”

Over five days along the Larnaca seafront, the Finikoudes Promenade will be filled with a full programme of concerts, boat races, wind-surfing and swimming competitions. Many participate in boisterous, often prank-filled activities with water to symbolise the “purification of body and soul”.

The Opening Parade on the Seafront Central Stage will be addressed by the Mayor of Larnaka, Mr Andreas Vyras, to be followed by a rich and varied display of Greek and Cypriot musical ensembles, folk singing and traditional dancing, and a mind illusionist, known as “The Godfather”.

Displays of traditional Cypriot craftsmanship

Further Greek traditional music and dancing  acts – including contributions from several youth drama groups –  can be enjoyed on The Europe Square Stage. Meanwhile ‘shadow figure’ theatre and poetry are the main events on the Medieval Fort stage. Highlights of the festival are set to be concerts by popular singers from Greece and Cyprus.

Along the length of the Promenade, a line of kiosks will be selling traditional food, jewellery, novelties, toys and souvenirs. Festival visitors will also have a rare opportunity to see displays of traditional Cypriot craftsmanship, including embroidery, rosary and shepherd-flute making, hand milling – and creating silkworm cocoon artefacts!

Discover a great cultural experience at Hypnos by bed N’mix in the city centre of Nicosia.
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Cyprus Summer Vibes at Nicosia Beer and Music Festivals!

A Beer Festival in Nicosia? With wine making in Cyprus going back nearly 6,000 years, its dominance in Mediterranean culture is so complete that it may be hard to imagine that the fermentation of the hop would get a look-in. Yet visitors staying at Nicosia city centre hotels are definitely spoilt for choice when satisfying their thirst!

Did you know… beer was only introduced to Cyprus during the late 19th century, and the first commercial brewery, ‘Leonbeer’ founded in 1937.

Exciting new beers

On nearly every street, there are a countless number of bars offering drinks and refreshments catering to every taste. From traditional Cypriot bars to latest on-trend cocktail bars, lounge bars to live music bars. The best hotels in Nicosia often offer their own exclusively stocked bar, serving residents and non-residents, alike.

In a thriving international metropolis such as Nicosia, the serving of beers and ales is definitely on the drinks menu! It’s therefore, no surprise that the  6th annual outing of the Full Pint Homebrew Festival returns to Nicosia on Saturday June 8th at Nicosia’s Municipal Gardens (17:00 – 22:00).

Cultural explorers have a splendid opportunity to discover exciting new beers from a small but thriving industry of independent Cyprus brewers offering their unique fermented blends. More than 40 different beers may be sampled from nearly two dozen 20 local homebrewers, along with ‘live’ music and food.

A beach is brought to Nicosia

An evening at the beer festival is always likely to put a Cyprus holidaymaker in the mood for a party. The Nicosia Beach Party vol.2, sponsored by Bacardi, on Sunday 9th June is sure to put out the exactly the right kind of chilled out music vibe for party-goers of all ages to enjoy a weekend with a twist.

The concept is straightforward. Nicosia has no beach so a beach is brought to Nicosia! Following the success of last year’s Nicosia Beach Party, this time a space near Ledra Street in Old Nicosia – at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation – will be transformed with umbrellas, deckchairs and all types of beach holiday accessories. Located in the Faneromeni area, the Square was the centre of Nicosia before Eleftheria Square took on the role in the 1970s.

Between 5.00pm and Midnight, a selection of summer hits, Greek and international music will be played by some of the island’s popular DJs, and special cocktails mixed by the beach party bartenders.

Summer in Cyprus is party time! Relax at Hypnos by bed N’mix in the city centre of Nicosia.
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