It’s time to explore Cyprus
I am EVS volunteer in Cyprus. Before coming here I only had elementary knowledge about Cyprus, mostly knew the history of 20th century. In fact EVS is a great opportunity to learn and explore the country’s history as you have chance to be inside the country. Already 3 months I am here and of course I got more knowledge with opportunity to visit the cities of Cyprus with EVS friends. For that reason I would like to write here and sharing the knowledge that I got about the history of Cyprus and it’s cities which have long history.
By the way on our organization Facebook page I post videos about the cities where I share the pictures and the videos that I took from our trips. As we live in Nicosia which is the capital of Cyprus we will start from Nicosia.
Nicosia Greek: Λευκωσία, is the largest city on the island of Cyprus. Nicosia is the capital and seat of government of Cyprus, and as such is the farthest southeast of all EU member states’ capitals. It has been continuously inhabited for over 4,500 years and has been the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities of Nicosia segregated into the south and north of the city respectively in 1963, following the crisis from 1955–64 that broke out in the city. This division became a militarized border between the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus after Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus in 1974, occupying the north of the island, including northern Nicosia. Today North Nicosia is the capital of Northern Cyprus, a state recognized only by Turkey, that is considered to be occupied Cypriot territory by the international community.
Nicosia has been in continuous habitation since the beginning of the Bronze Age 2500 years BC, when the first inhabitants settled in the fertile plain of Mesaoria. Nicosia later became a city-state known as Ledra or Ledrae, one of the twelve kingdoms of ancient Cyprus built by Achaeans after the end of the Trojan War.
BC. By 330 BC, Ledra was recorded to be a small unimportant town.According to tradition, the city was rebuilt by “Leucus”, claimed to be the son of Ptolemy I Soter, around 300 BC or 200 BC, and named after him as “Leucoton” or “Lefkotheon”. The main activity of the town inhabitants was farming. During this era, Ledra did not have the huge growth that the other Cypriot coastal towns had, which was primarily based on trade.
In Byzantine times, the town was also referred to as Λευκωσία (Lefkosia) or as Καλληνίκησις (Kallenikesis). In the 4th century AD, the town became the seat of bishopric, with bishop Saint Tryphillius (Trifillios), a student of Saint Spyridon.
After the destruction of Salamis, the existing capital of Cyprus, by Arab raids in 647, Nicosia became the capital of the island around 965, when Cyprus rejoined the Byzantine Empire
The last Byzantine governor was Isaac Komnenos, who declared himself emperor of the island and ruled the island from 1183 to 1191.