Büyük Han - The one place you can't miss in Nicosia!
Nicosia is an incredibly interesting and diverse city, but I have to admit, I fell completely and utterly in love with its Northern side, or as Greek Cypriots call it, the "occupied" zone. I won't go into the political history of this right here, because I want to show you the most amazing little gem I found, hidden within the narrow winding streets of the city - Büyük Han!
Büyük Han literally translates to the Great Inn, and from the outside, it looks like another walled house (admittedly, a large house). However, once you step into its courtyard, you're greeted by one of the prettiest squares I've ever seen.
The inn's been around since 1570, and recent renovations have returned it to its former glory. Today, it's a picturesque meeting place of artisans and local artists. You get a mix of bustling life of people selling their wares and artisans quietly plying their trade, with their families around them. You also spot the occasional curious intruder! *cough*
One thing I absolutely adore about Northern Nicosia is its authenticity - whilst the Southern side is brimming with McDs and Starbucks, once you cross the border you're taken back to a simpler, more natural time. The locals are incredibly friendly too, and chatting with them was a real pleasure. That's something I can never get enough of!
You can find the entrance to Büyük Han in Asmaalti Street, Northern Nicosia. Keep your eyes peeled for it, it's very unassuming and hidden between stalls and pubs! Once you're in there, enjoy some tasty local delicacies and tour the artists' rooms around the courtyard, they have everything - from local soaps to peppers, spices and preserves to the cutest vintage finds and paintings. Can you tell I was in heaven?
Unknown places like this one are the ones worth getting lost for!