Welcome to Nicosia (Lefkosia)
Cyprus is a republic with, as I mentioned in the Introduction, a divided capital – Nicosia, the last divided capital in the world, if you discount the chaos that the west has left in Libya.
On the south – the Cypriot part of Nicosia, you can see, not only the remains of the fighting between Cyprus and Turkey, but ancient Venetian walls, left as a legacy from when Venice ruled parts of Cyprus.
There is a Buffer Zone between the Cypriot half of Nicosia, and the Turkish occupied part of the capital. That zone is UN controlled, and you have to go through gates and along a road lined with fences topped with barbed wire. However, the border control is very civilised, the border guards are friendly, and the cost to take your car through the border is currently Euro 10.00. This is for insurance for your car, in case you are involved in an accident. It must be paid in cash. Incidentally, most rental contracts do not allow you to take your rented car north of the border, so you do so at your own risk. That is also usually the case even if you own the car.
To concentrate on the Cypriot part of Nicosia, it is an ancient city, but there are plenty of bars and restaurants, and the streets are lively once you get into the more inhabited parts of the city. Take a map. Or even, park up your car and take a taxi. Doing some research before your visit will make the visit far more enjoyable.
Everywhere you look, there is conflicting culture, the old and the new intermingle. Pubs and cafes are next to ancient mosques and churches, and Nicosia is full of museums, some of which concentrate on the war to defend Cyprus from the Turks. Here and there are plaques and monuments to fallen heroes.
Nicosia really is a place worth exploring. What may see like empty cobbled streets and winding narrow roads often have the most interesting local bars and landmark sights. Be sure to take a good camera along with you on your visit to Nicosia.