Nicosia (Lefkosia, Lefkoşa), Cyprus

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The capital and largest city of Cyprus since the twelfth century, Nicosia is situated on the Pedieos River almost in the centre of the island on the Messaoria Plain. It has been divided since 1974 into Greek and Turkish Cypriot sectors by the United Nations buffer zone known as the Green Line.


The city dates back to the Bronze Age and was originally known as Ledra. Its Greek name is thought by some to derive from Lefkos, the son of an Egyptian Ptolemy, who rebuilt the city in the third century BC. Others believe the name originated from the white poplar or lefki. Having grown extensively under Roman and Byzantine occupation, the city became a Frankish kingdom under the Lusignan dynasty from 1192 and then a Venetian dependency in 1489. The Venetians erected a circular wall between 1567 and 1570 to defend the city against Ottoman invaders. However, the Turks captured it in 1570 after a bitter siege. There were several revolts against Ottoman rule over the next three...

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