Where is Nicosia, Cyprus? Nicosia, Lefkosia Map

The Archbishopric palace

The Pancyprian Gymnasium. Just opposite the Archbishopric and the cathedral church of Agios Ioannis (St. John) stands the Pancyprian Gymnasium, the oldest and most historic secondary school of Cyprus, still in use. It was originally founded as a Hellenic Secondary School by archbishop Kyprianos in 1812 but developed into a six-grade secondary school, recognized as equivalent to the secondary schools of Greece in 1896, when it was named Pancyprian Gymnasium, a name retained since then.

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The reception room (oda) of the House of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios (Photo, courtesy of the Dept. of Antiquities)

House of HadjigeoBilgilerrgakis Kornesios. Close to the Archbishopric, at Patriarch Gregory Str. stands the two-storeyed, stone-built mansion of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, the famous dragoman (Liaison between the Turkish Government and the Greek community) from 1779 to 1809. The house of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios constitutes the most important building of urban architecture in the 18th century.

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The entrance is through a carved arched door above which a coat of arms portrays the double-headed eagle and the lion of Venice. The arches, the columns that support the first floor, the marble slabs covering the floor as well as the cobbledstone paths of the ground floor, the rooms for the wine and the olive oil, as well as the stable and the rooms for the personnel are other features of the house. A wide staircase leads to the first floor where the reception room (oda) impresses with its decoration and content. Hadjigeorgakis is remembered as a great philanthropist. As dragoman he had the privilege to appear on many occasions before the Sultan in Constantinople. According to sources, subterranean tunnels connect the mansion of Hadjigeorgakis with the Archbishopric, the Pancyprian Gymnasium and the Famagusta Gate.

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The Liberty Monument. It stands about 200 metres east of the Archbishopric and impresses with its composition and artistic detail rather than with its bulk. The marble Monument of Liberty, inspiration and creation of Notaras, lies on a bastion of the medieval walls. Though the monument was erected in 1970, ten years after the independence of Cyprus, it vivifies the heroic efforts of the Struggle of Liberation (1955-59) and immortalises the entire psychological and sentimental world of Cyprus, as centuries of slavery, martyrdom, perseverence and hope have imposed. Goddess Liberty dominates the highest point of the composition, casting her glance at the two soldiers who open the door of prison.

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Fourteen persons, representing different types of Cypriots, from all strata of life, get out from the narrow dark prison and gaze at the light of sun and liberty.

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The Liberty Monument

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

The Archaeological Museum of Nicosia. The Archaeological Museum is most probably the number one place of interest a foreign traveller should visit. A condensed civilization of 9.500 years is exhibited in the 14 rooms of the Museum, situated at Museum Str and built in 1908. Room 1 contains finds from the Neolithic period (7500-3900 B.C.), mainly stone implements from Choirokoitia. In the same room there are exhibits from the Chalcolithic era (3900-2500 B.C.) including decorated pottery, while the presence of obsidian testifies trade relations with neighbouring countries. Room 2 discloses the world of Early Bronze Age (2500-1900 B.C.) exhibiting an economy based on copper production. A clay object from Vounous shows the plough used in the fields in those distant times. Room 3 exhibits pottery of the Middle (1900-1650 B.C.) and Late Bronze Age (1650-1050 B.C.) while other vases from the Mycenean to the Roman period, including attractive Attic ceramic, are also included.

Marble statue of Aphrodite from Soloi (1st c.B.C)

In Room 4 about 2000 terracotta figurines found in Agia Eirini Sanctuary and dating from 700 B.C. are exhibited. In Room 5 one discerns the evolution of Cypriot sculpture on clay, stone and bronze, though a limestone head from Arsos and a Hellenistic Aphrodite from Soloi dominate the exhibits of the room. In Room 6 various Roman bronzes, the sleeping Eros from Pafos and particularly the superb nude bronze of Emperor Septimius Severus dominate the room. Room 7 is devoted to metallurgy. Copper utensils, varied bronze objects as well as ivory artifacts, glassware, scarabs, coins from the Cypriot kingdoms and even the mosaic of Leda and the Swan are included in the room. Jewellery and silverware are also found in the room. Room 8 contains interesting reconstructions of tombs, while Room 9 contains tombstones, stylae, capitals, sarcophagi from the Hellenistic period, etc. Room 10 introduces the visitor to the world of inscriptions where examples of Cypro-minoic as well as of ancient Cypriot syllabary are exhibited. The precious objects found at Salamis and notably the famous bronze cauldron with its iron tripod are exhibited in Room 11. A royal throne, chairs made of timber and covered with ivory are also found in this room. In Room 12 objects of ancient metallurgy have recently been placed, while in Room 13 one sees the marble statue of Asklepios, the marble statue of Aphrodite and the statue of Apollo. In Room 14 one sees, among others, a large number of clay idols.

The Byzantine Museum of the Makarios III Foundation. The museum contains some 150 portable icons of varied colours, shapes and techniques. The museum is rightly called “Byzantine”, since Byzantine technique predominates, even though in some paintings the influence of the various invaders and the Crusaders is obvious. Furthermore, the 12th century is considered the “Golden Age” of Cypriot painting. It is during that time that Cyprus was converted to a historic outpost of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Museum hosts icons spanning a millennium (8th-18th century), a fact which allows visitors to study the development of Cypriot iconography. The oldest painting is one of the Virgin Mary, using encaustic technique characteristic of the 8th and 9th centuries, whereby molten wax was mixed in with colours. The 10th century is represented by an icon of the Saints Kosmas and Damianos, while the 11th by a series of apostolic portraits. Exhibited are many icons dating from the 12th century, a time at which iconography is considered to have reached its zenith. The 13th century is typified by the polymorphous technique, a technique which extended to later centuries as well. The oblong icons, albeit somewhat rare, depicting Jesus, Agios Eleftherios and Agia Paraskevi, date back to the 14th century and have been taken from the Chrysaliniotissa church, while that of the Virgin Mary is from the church of Faneromeni in Nicosia. Among the most impressive icons of the 15th century is the double-faced one of the Virgin Mary and the Lowering from the Cross, from the Church of Agia Marina in Kalopanagiotis. Many are the icons dating back to the 16th century. However, as of the last decade of the 16th century, due to the conquest of Cyprus by the Turks (1571), the icons decrease in numbers. The decline of iconography on the island continued during the 17th century as well, and few examples of this period exist. The 18th century brought with it the last phase of iconography, a representative sample of which is the Burning Bush. It is during this century that the painting of the Cretan Ioannis Kornaros exerts such a great influence, that traditional painting is abandoned.

The Art Gallery of Makarios III Foundation. At the eastern end of the imposing Archbishopric, lies the Art Gallery of the Cultural Center of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation. The inauguration of the Cultural Center was held on January 18, 1982, upon which the Gallery was opened to the public. The first floor of the Gallery features 116 European oil paintings, dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, dominated by scenes from religion and mythology. A number of European schools of art are represented here, such as the French, Italian, Spanish, Flemish, German, and others. The second floor features approximately 80 oil paintings by European artists, inspired mainly by Greek history and more specifically by the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Entry into Jerusalem from the church of Panagia Chrysaliniotissa (Photo, courtesy of Arch.

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