Lefkosia

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Lefkosia (Greek: Λευκωσία Turkish Lefkoşa or internationally Nicosia) , population 177,410 (1992), 200,686 (2001), is the capital of Cyprus. Nicosia is located at 35°10' north, 33°21' east (35.1667, 33.35). (There have recently been some moves to use the Greek name Lefkosia as the official English name, but this has not been generally accepted.)

Located on the Pedieos river, Nicosia is the center of an administrative district, and it is currently the only divided capital city in the world, with the northern (Turkish-occupied) and southern portions divided by the "Green Line", a demilitarized zone maintained by the United Nations, although unlike Cold War East and West Berlin, few use the terms North Nicosia and South Nicosia.

The city is a trade center and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Copper mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the University of Cyprus (UCY).

As of January 2, 2007, Eleni Mavrou serves as the mayor of Lefkosia and is internationally recognized as the mayor of the entire city. Mayor-elect Konstantinos Georkadjis is slated to take over in 2012.

History

Known as Ledra or Ledrae in ancient times, the city was the seat of the kings of Cyprus from 1192, became a Venetian possession in 1489, and fell to the Turks in 1571, in an orgy of slaughter.

The British maintained Nicosia as the island's capital when they took over Cyprus in 1878. The city was the scene of violence during the EOKA struggle (1955 - 1959), just prior to Cypriot independence in 1960. Since the Turkish invasion in 1974, part of the city's northern sector has been inside the boundary of a United Nations buffer zone.

The tombs of the Lusignan kings are in the former Cathedral of St. Sophia, now a mosque in the northern sector. The city also has well-preserved Venetian fortifications, built in the 16th century, which encircle the old, medieval part of the city.

Mayors of Lefkosia

See also

External links