A river once ran through Nicosia old city, following almost exactly the same route as the Green Line – the UN buffer zone, which now separates the north from the south of the capital. Many of the Nicosia city centre hotels, including Hypnos bed N’ mix will not be far from this ancient river path, known today as Ermou street.
But wherever your Nicosia accommodation is located, the culturally curious and those happy to leave their sunloungers for a while may wish to step back in time and walk down Ermou Street to discover arts, crafts and culture dating back two centuries.
Diverted around the city walls
At a total length of 98 km, the Pedieos is the longest river in Cyprus. Its source may be found high up in the Troodos Mountains, at an altitude of about 900m, close by to the 12th century Machairas Monastery. From where it flows northeast across the Mesaoria plains of central Cyprus, and onto Nicosia. Up until the time when Cyprus was part of the Republic of Venice (1489 – 1571), the river ran straight through old Nicosia before it was diverted around the present city walls, heading east to join the sea at Famagusta Bay near the ancient city of Salamis.
Ermou street – or Hermes street – was originally called by its Turkish name Chinar (“plane tree”). It runs from the north end of Ledra Street and into Ektoros Street to the east, and was also once the backbone of the city’s key marketplaces. During the 1940s and 50s, the thoroughfare was the capital’s centre of trade, filling every space with all types of manufacturers and small businesses, such as shoe shops, car repairs, carpenters, factories, dyes and textiles shops.
Preserved cultural heritage
After a period of decline, in more recent times the area has been given a makeover with many of its old buildings restored along with several stores, bars and bookshops. Once again, it’s possible to see and be immersed in the many small and diverse workshops where craftsmen are once again busy working with traditional materials and tools.
A significant new building is the Centre of Visual Arts & Research, opened in September 2014, which offers visitors an opportunity to explore in fascinating detail the preserved cultural heritage of Cyprus and its communities between 18th-20th century through art, books and photographs. More than 5,000 books on Cyprus and the Near East are available in many different languages, and thousands of unpublished photos from 1880-1950, plus the development of Cypriot costumes alongside Ottoman and British memorabilia.
Discovering the capital, or simply taking in the sights?
Hypnos by bed N’mix in the city centre of Nicosia!
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