The recurring topic every August is Nicosia becoming a ghost town. The capital’s inhabitants escape to various sea or mountain resorts on the island and abroad. And of course not many tourists visit Cyprus’ divided town during the summer months.
Nicosia is not suffering from a tourist drought only in the scorching summer. People appear reluctant to see the capital’s attractions during the milder times of the year.
Damaging as it could be, this fact can be justified by realistic analysis. Nicosia is a capital without a centre for some years now.
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Eleftheria Square has been trapped in a long process of reconstruction and, until the project is completed – experts say – the town will remain a city without a heart.
Nicosia’s Tourist Board has made extensive plans to present the capital to different forums abroad in an effort to attract visitors interested in combining business with culture.
These good intentions will not be realised without a new Nicosia Museum complex. There is specific talk to build the complex on the grounds of the old general hospital that now is an ugly empty space just opposite the Parliament building.
The image of the divided capital would also improve significantly if the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot mayors could coordinate and organise common projects and events. Given the current Cyprus talks’ stalemate, however, this appears to be a very ambitious project.
Much more feasible could be a form of coordination between the different municipalities that compose southern Nicosia today. A joint effort to decentralise the tourist effort would attract more people to the capital of Cyprus.