According to Assyrian sources from the 7th Century BC, today’s Nicosia then used to be a city named Ledra. In about 300 BC, the son of the Egyptian king Ptolemy, Lefkos, rebuilt the city, and his name is immortalised in the modern local name of Lefkosa (Turkish) or Lefkosia (Greek). Nicosia is the Frankish name of the city, and is thought to have appeared in the late 1100s. The name is mostly used by foreigners. The capital of the island, it is divided into Turkish and Greek sectors by a boundary known as the green Line, which runs in an East-west direction.
The Kyrenia gate in the venetian walls of Nicosia, North Cyprus
The Kyrenia Gate In 1191, Richard the Lionheart, on his way to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade, captured the island as a response to actions against his fleet by the King of Cyprus. It was in Cyprus that Richard married Berengaria of Navarre, who was chosen as his wife by his mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Cyprus remained under Richard’s rule for only a year. In 1192, he sold it to the Knights Templars who ruled the island from Nicosia. Life under the Templars was harsh, and they quickly incurred the hatred of the islanders. Unable to hold the island by force, the Templars begged Richard to take the island off their hands, and he quickly sold it to Guy de Lusignan who had lost his Kingdom of Jerusalem. Nicosia has been the capital city of Cyprus since this time, and it flourished during the Lusignan era. Churches and palaces were built, and Nicosia grew in size and population. This glorious period in the history of the city ended in 1489 when the Venetians captured Cyprus.