The new Nicosia developed outside the walls became a contemporary, business and cultural centre. The architectural style of Nicosia represents a mixture of modern offices, apartment blocks, detached houses and buildings dated by the 16th and 18th centuries erected during Venetian and British rule.
The old walled city of Nicosia is unique and definitely the place to head for first. The central part is dotted with museums, ancient churches and medieval buildings preserving the nostalgic atmosphere of years past. To walk through the old city is to step backwards in time. Narrow streets and old houses with ornate balconies jut from weather beaten sandstone walls, smell of jasmine flowers in those long summer evenings, and craftsmen in small workshops practice trades unchanged for centuries.
The heart of the city is enclosed by the 16th-century wall built by the Venetians to protect the city from the Ottomans. The 4.5 metres thick wall used to have three gates. The Kyrenia Gate in now used as a Tourist Information Centre.
Nowadays the medieval walls represent a border dividing the city into the historical centre and the modern areas which has been built beyond. The centre of the city is the liveliest part of the city crossed by narrow streets, shops, cafes and restaurants.
The walls also reveal a splendid gallery of historical places. Selimiye Mosque representing an outstanding example of Gothic architecture dated by the 14th century, The Great Inn (BŁyŁk Han) dated by the 16th century, looking marvellous especially at the night time.
The Selimiye Mosque (former Cathedral of St. Sophia built between 1209 and 1228 A.D.) is the chief mosque in Nicosia hosting big religious festivals such as Bairam. Other famous mosques of the city are Haydarpasha Mosque, and Arabahmet Mosque.