Nicosia is the last divided city in Europe – a title inherited when Berlin was unified over 20 years ago. You can step across the Green Line dividing the city without much fuss these days. The authorities on the south side minimise the perception that this is a de facto border. Those on the north side make every attempt to convince you that you have stepped into another jurisdiction. Most of what first hits you in the narrow lanes there are street vendors selling cheap goods of all sorts to attract the southern and tourist euro. But there are some interesting sights to see that have been left over from previous occupations.
Selimye mosque is one such venue. Built by the Lusignans in the 12th century it was subsequently taken over by the Ottomans in the Middle Ages when it became a mosque. But it’s previous life as the cathedral of St Sophia is still very obvious in its architecture and grandeur. It is so traditional in its ‘Frenchness’ and Catholic nature.it serves today as a great reminder that Cyprus, as an international crossroads, has always been a place where large forces have come to reside to seek advantage in their strategic interests. So it has been and perhaps it always will be. Nonetheless each ‘visitor’ has left a lasting mark on this place.