The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia, with a population of around 245,900. Situated roughly in the middle of the island, it has the unwelcome distinction of being the only divided capital city in the world. Since the Turkish invasion of 1974, its northern part is under occupation and separated from the south by a UN-patrolled buffer zone.
Nicosia is a sprawling cosmopolitan city as well as a commercial centre. The old city is picturesque, surrounded by Venetian Walls built in the sixteenth century, with narrow streets, sidewalk taverns, restored buildings and tourist shops that bring history to life.
The second largest town is Limassol, the main commercial port of Cyprus. With a population of around 184,600, it is also a popular tourist resort and a major business centre.
Limassol, in the south of the island, is a bustling town with ten miles of coastline filled with restaurants, taverns and night spots. It is home to two popular annual events, the Carnival and the Wine Festival.
The coastal town of Larnaka, in the southeast, has a population of 86,400 and is the island’s second commercial port and also a popular tourist resort. The Larnaka International Airport is situated to the south of the city.
Larnaka, the birthplace of the philosopher Zenon, is famous for its Palm Tree Promenade overlooking the sea. It was in Larnaka that Saint Lazarus came to live after his resurrection by Christ. The Church of Saint Lazarus is a magnificent building.
The town is famous for its annual Festival and Fair that commemorates the Kataklysmos (the Biblical Flood) and involves traditional singing, dancing and other competitions.
Pafos in the southwest with a population of 63,900 is a fast-developing tourist resort and home to the island’s second international airport.
With an abundance of historic sites and fine beaches, the whole town of Pafos is included on the official UNESCO world heritage list of cultural and national treasures.
Famagusta (Ammochostos), Kyrenia (Keryneia), Morfou
In the Turkish-occupied areas, Famagusta in the eastern part of the island was the main port and the centre of the pre-1974 tourist industry. Other main towns under Turkish occupation are Kyrenia in the north and Morfou in the northwest.