Nicosia Journals

Games Without Frontiers

Best of IgoUgo

A May 2008 trip to Nicosia by Liam Hetherington

Selimiye Mosque Photo, Nicosia, Cyprus More Photos
Quote: A weekend of fun and frolics in Europe's last divided capital.

Games Without Frontiers

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Selimiye Mosque Photo, Nicosia, Cyprus
Quote:
Berlin is entire once more, its wall consigned to the dustbin of history. The gable-end murals of Belfast remain more as tourist attractions than as a sign of physical separation. Yet tucked away in a corner of the Mediterranean the capital of the idyllic isle of Cyprus is still split by its 'Green Line' of sentry-posts, barbed wire, bombed-out shells of buildings, and patrolling UN peacekeepers.However, as I write moves are afoot in both the south (ethnically Greek and a member state of the EU) and the north (ethnically Turkish and with a government whose independence from Turkish military occupation is only actually recognised by Ankara itself) to look at reconciliation and - just maybe - ...Read More

Sabor Latino (El)

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "El Sabor Latino"

Sabor Latino (El) Photo, Nicosia, Cyprus
Quote:
So there I was with a party of Brits, eating Japanese noodles in a Spanish-Portuguese restaurant in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, while a Bolivian played pop hits on a pan-pipe. Never before have I been so unsure what to pick for 'Type of Cuisine'!This schizophrenia is perhaps symbolic of its location. It throws light from its windows across a picturesque square nestled under the walls of the Selimiye Mosque. This building used to be St Sophia's Cathedral, and its butresses and narrow arched windows are the sort of Gothic edifice you would find in northern France. Its peaked roof is missing though, and two tall minarets flank its facade.The Portuguese chef runs an impressive op...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

Sabor Latino (El)
Selimiye Meydani No: 29 Nicosia
Nicosia, Cyprus
+90 392 228 8322

Quote:
Despite being located in 'Greek' south Nicosia, the Syrian Arab Friendship Club transports you across to the Levant with its carefully prepared Arabic food. Tasty, healthy, memorable - and surprisingly good value for money!The eating area surrounds an open-air courtyard decoarated with plants and a water-wheel that some children were having fun with. There was also a cat or two snoozing - whether that's a good thing or not is up to you. Personally I'm not a cat person, and suddenly finding one twining itself around my calf as I ate nearly made me bite my tongue!The menu details a range of dishes in English, explaining precisely what is the difference between your hummus, your tahin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

Arancia Nargile Cafe Bar

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

A Dancefloor SOS Photo, Nicosia, Cyprus
Quote:
The best live venue in northern Nicosia has to be the Arancia Nargile Cafe Bar. Located in the former 1930's Peoples' Covered Market (the etching in both Greek and Turkish can still be seen above the entrance) this large space has now been brilliantly converted into a throbbing nightspot, devoted to live music. The 'L'-shaped building still is not fully utilised down one end, but it has three bars, and two stages for live bands (with two balconies looking down over them). Because of the prevalence of Mediterranean cafe culture, seating is at tables, rather than being jammed together in a sweaty mosh-pit crowd as you might expect in the UK. However, this does not make the experience any less ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

Club Corado

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
It was late at night (or very early in the morning depending how you look at it) that we headed back towards the Ledras Street Crossing after our night out at El Sabor Latino and Arancia Nargile Cafe Bar. As we headed through the dark and deserted bazaar towards the crossing we could not fail to hear music echoing from a street off to our left. Intrigued, we investigated. Through a doorway where we negotiated a reduced entrance fee a flight of stairs lead down into Club Corado. At first we were nervously seated at a table right at the back near the air conditioner (I can understand their concern - eight tipsy British lads turning up on their doorsteps at 2am is maybe something they would be ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

Ledra Observatory

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Selimiye Mosque Photo, Nicosia, Cyprus
Quote:
For basic orientation around Nicosia you can do worse that then Ledra Observatory, up on the twelfth floor of the Shakolas Tower. This gives a view across the city... and for many Greek Cypriots across to the parts of the island they used to call home until the '70s.Entered by a short street off to the right of Ledras Street, the main pedestrianised street of the south, at first you may wonder if you are in the right place. The lobby is shared with Debenhams - the only give away is the large illustrations blown up on the walls. These are drawings from the Illustrated London News, depicting the island at the moment the British took control in the 1870s. Lots of stately bewhiskered tricorn-we...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

Nicosia Race Club

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Nicosia Race Club Photo, Nicosia, Cyprus
Quote:
I'm not sure if Nicosia can give you a night at the opera, but it can certainly give you a day at the races. The Nicosia Race Club, the only venue licensed to hold horse racing meets on the island, is located in the western suburb of Ayios Dometios, easily reachable with a car.Races take place on Sundays and Wednesdays in winter / spring, and Wednesdays and Saturdays in summer / autumn. We attended on a Sunday, and if the day we saw is typical, they have eight races of twelve horses each spread over the period from 14:00 to 18:00 (roughly every half hour or so).We had bought €20 tickets in advance, which allowed us through to the marquee. This was a shaded tent with its own stand ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

Nicosia Race Club
10-12 Grigori Afxentiou Street - Suite 102, Ayios Dometios
Nicosia, Cyprus
+357 22 782 727

Plato's Bar

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Plato's"

Quote:
Located in the narrow streets of the old town, I'm not sure I would ever be able to find Plato's again. All that mark's its location is a high hanging sign - entry is through unmarked double doors. This is because Plato's is converted from an old house. Traces of its former use can still be discerned in the intricate floor tiling, and the fact that the tables sprawl through a cluster of rooms. The tables themselves are sizeable - perfect for large groups... or for getting to know your neighbours. The denizens are approachable, and willing to offer advice on where else to go, though it is not party central, despite the warning on its website that consumption of alcohol may actually result in ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

Plato's Bar
Platonos St. No 8-10
Nicosia, Cyprus
+357 22 666552

Sfinakia

Attraction

Quote:
Despite living in Nicosia for two years my friend had never heard of Sfinakia. The club's owners must be very disappointed in this, as it is apparently one of Nicosia's premier nightclubs/bars (though I'll admit the competition is pretty thin on the ground), and has been around since the '90s. We were directed here by a couple of girls we met in a bar and asked where to go to continue the night; they showed up themselves later. Indeed, the bar did have a very 'local' feel, where everyone seemed to know everyone else.Sfinakia stays open late - we got there at 2am on a Sunday night, and it was another hour before they stopped serving from the two bars. Sfinakia means 'shots', though we opted f...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 12, 2008

About the Writer

Liam Hetherington

Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom