The winding streets of Old Nicosia may form a hub of activity with modern eateries, funky bars and a whole manner of shops screaming out for attention, but if you really place close attention, you’ll soon discover that there are plenty of hidden gems that have much to tell about days gone by in the most magnificent fashion. And now, My Cyprus Insider gives you the lowdown on three museums that you may have never been to!
1. The Cyprus Classic Motorcycle Museum
Just a stone’s throw from the busy Ledra Street hub, this museum houses a fascinating collection of two-wheeled machinery from the past, with over 150 motorcycles to have a look at dating between 1914 and 1983.
All of the motorbikes are lovingly cared for in this place established by Andreas Nicolaou with a collection that began years ago. There’s loads to ogle at, from Nortons to BMWs, Moto Guzzis to Triumphs, but there are some really special bikes in the mix that you must keep a look out for, including military motorcycles from the Second World War and Cyprus Police Motorcycles used by the Presidential Guard of Archbishop Makarios.
What’s really great is that a visit to the museum will give you the chance to get better acquainted with the history of the island through motorcycles, while a photo gallery will take you on a great journey down memory lane.
Where? 44 Granikou Steet, Old Nicosia. Tel: (+357) 22-680222. www.museum.motocy.net
2. Cyprus Postal Museum
This most unusual museum has long been luring in philatelists for years, but most people don’t even know about it! Sandwiched between Tripiotis and Ayios Savvas churches (not far from the OHI roundabout) the Cyprus Postal Museum gives visitors a very interesting look at the history of the island through Cyprus stamps and postal memorabilia from the 1800 onwards. Point is, it gives you the chance to really enrich your knowledge of the island through stamps taking you all the way back to Venetian times when postal communications first kicked off in the country.
credit: Ploutis Louizou
The museum may be small, but it’s absolutely jam-packed with anything and everything imaginable related to the world of post, with the main focus on chronological exhibits of postage stamps and rich philatelic material concerning the postal history of Cyprus. And there are some really great exhibits, like the oldest series of Cypriot stamps with the portrait of Queen Victoria overprinted with the word “CYPRUS”.
credit: Ploutis Louizou
Walk into the other rooms of the museum to have a look at first day of issue envelopes and stamps issued since the proclamation of the Cyprus Republic until today. From key personalities that have shaped the history of the island, to monuments of Cyprus and heaps of culture, there’s loads to discover! The museum also exhibits stamp specimens, air letters, insured mail envelopes, newspaper and magazine wrappers and prepaid response postcards.
Where? 3B Agiou Savva Street, Old Nicosia. Tel: (+357) 22-304711/ 22-760 522
3. Cyprus Folk Art Museum
Set in one of the most charming areas of the old town, within the premises of the old Archbishopric, prepare for a brilliant journey back in time with samples of weaving, pottery, embroidery, lace, costumes, metalwork, woodcarving, basketry, leatherwork, naïve painting, silk exhibits and much more. Many of the items of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum were donated, others were bought directly from village folk or from private collections.
But it’s not just the exhibits that are of interest here, but the building itself. Dating back to the 15th century, the Greek Orthodox Church began using it sometime before the Ottoman occupation. Take a good look at the richly decorated Gothic arch with a 16th-century fresco of the Annunciation, uncovered in the building in 1950 and conserved by the Society and the Department of Antiquities.
Where? Archbishop Kyprianou Square, Archbishopric grounds, Old Nicosia. Tel: (+357) 22-432578