Nicosia, emerged from the sea 1,8 - 5 million years ago.During the first millennium BC,Nicosia enjoyed neither the power nor the prosperity of other City-Kingdoms,most of wich lay on the coastline.The first trace of its current name appeared in the 3rd century BC,when Lefcus,the son of Ptolemy rebuilt Ledra,renaming it Lefkothea(,,white goodess").
Built as a fortress,it has wathered a long list of conquerors. Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians, Romans, arabs, the Templars,the Frankish lusignan dynasty,Venetians and Ottomans all held sway over Cyprus before British colonial rule in the 19th century.All,and to varying degrees,have left their mark on the city.
The most significant influences on modern Nicosia date from the 15th and16th centuries.Under the Lusignans,the capital saw the construction of a number of palaces,mansions,churches and monasteries.The first Lusignan castle was built during the reign of King Henry I,in 1211 and later Peter II fortified the entire city.
The Venetians ruled the island from 1489-1571 with Nicosia as the seat of the Venetian Governor.Faced with the threat of an Ottoman invasion,the Venetians decided to withdraw from the Lusignan period,were torn down and the stoneswere used for the new defensive wall.Julio Savorgnano.a Venetian architect and engineer,designed the new walls of Nicosia wich are considered as the prototype of the renaissance military architecture.
Impressive as Nicosia's defenses were,however,they were unable to keep out the Ottomans.After a siege of seven weeks Mustafa Pasha entered the city on September 9,1570 and a period of Ottoman rule followed lasting until the arrival of the British in 1878.
Cyprus gained its independence in 1960 and Nicosia officially became capital of the Republic of Cyprus.Since then Nicosia has grown into a bustling cosmopolitan European city yet it remains compact enought to be explored on foot.
Since the Turkish invasion of 1974,Nicosia has been a divided capital, the Buffer Zone patrolled by UN troops,the infamous"Green Line",disrupting its cohesion,its continuity.