The walk in Nicosia was unexpected as our intention was actually to go to Famagusta and the ancient city of Salamis nearby. On the way, I got an itch to call the company we had rented the car from, lest we needed something extra for the visit. It turned out that we needed a completely different means of transport because with a car hired in the Cypriot part, one cannot enter the north of the island. This is how the U-turn happened, and here we arrived at the capital of Nicosia.

Central square in Nicosia

The second unexpected thing about this walk was Google’s behavior. I have shared before, I think, my fond love for its Maps, without which scatterbrains like me would be lost forever. From time to time, however, Google tends to surprise me by actually losing me around. This happened to me regularly in Turkey, but I didn’t expect it in Cyprus. The search for a parking place near the old town of Nicosia brought us to this otherwise very nice square, which you see in the photo above. I say “otherwise” because at the moment the high temperatures did not imply pleasant experiences.

The border checkpoint between the southern and the northern parts of the island

Asked to give us a walking route to the Cypriot Museum, Google confidently led us down the main street, where old houses face unsightly socialist-type blocks of flats. And quite unexpectedly, in the middle of the street, you come upon the above barracks with blue and white awnings, which turn out to be the border between the southern and the northern part of the island. Bewilderment, Google reload, doubts if there are, in fact, two Cypriot Museums in Nicosia … In a nutshell, we confided in Google and went in.

An old inn in the Turkish part of Nicosia

In the Turkish part, we got a little confused at first, due to the reason that we abruptly turned off our mobile data. We found the Big Inn (Buyuk Han, on the entry photo) and several smaller ones; the huge old cathedral, turned into a mosque and currently under repair; one hammam, two markets and many old buildings. Some were in extremely good condition – especially those who continued to be in use. We were unable to translate exactly what administration was placed in something like an old monastery, but the building was maintained very well.

Possibly a former monastery in the Turkish part of Nicosia

Unfortunately, we also saw the other side the city – the not-maintained buildings and streets of Nicosia. That was again thanks to our friend Google, who, after multiple “turn left” and “turn right” into the scorching heat, took us straight to a solid wall, crowned with a barbed wire. That was the moment when we realized that we had to go all the way back to the start. We had to follow the barb wire that marked the border and went directly through the abandoned buildings. Look behind the pink bush.

The border between South and North Cyprus

In the end, we found the Cypriot Museum, which turned out to be very close to the parking lot, but in the opposite direction. Google’s paths are unknown. Sometimes it shows you what you have not been looking for, but you should have seen. That’s all I’m gonna say. The museum was a small jewel, or at least it looked small when we stood in front of the facade. Inside, it turned out to be surprisingly long and graciously equipped with air conditioners.

The entrance to the Cypriot Museum in Nicosia

I was struck by the cultures that developed on this small island several thousand years before the new era. I mean, just some 9000 square kilometers! And how people have reached it in the first place, these are not the seeds of plants flying in the wind. We were informed that the first settlers may have come from the lands of present-day Syria and Lebanon. Probably in one-bit boats, though I can’t imagine it at all. But here’s what they made 7500 years BC:

At the Cypriot Museum, 7500 BC

And 2000 years BC, there appeared things which genuinely amazed me. After all, I am quite involved with museums, including professionally, and here many exhibits I saw for the first time. For instance – ceramic works with shapes, decorations and purpose, which make you wonder. And as is the tradition in our part of the world, when one goes impatiently to the annotations list to read what this miracles is, s/he receives a text of the kind: “Ceramic works. 2000 BC.” The Nicosia Museum made no exception.

At the Cypriot Museum of Nicosia, 2000 BC

We were also impressed by the finds from the Agia Irini sanctuary, in the northeast of Cyprus. Used from 1200 to 600 BC, a total of 2000 votive clay figures of different sizes were found in it, only two of which were female. Before I could grin sarcastically, I read that the sanctuary was dedicated to the god of war, and the figures are of warriors who I suppose have sought the protection of the deity. With that I leave you for now, and if you want more from Cyprus, you can read my article about Paphos.

At the Cypriot Museum of Nicosia, 1st Millennium BC