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Beyond the museums and picturesque cafes of the busy Ledras and Onasagorou streets in Nicosia, lies a treasure trove of local street art; and though it rests quietly on the capital’s walls, it makes a loud statement. Here’s your ultimate guide.
Displayed publicly for passersby to enjoy, following the trail of street art in Nicosia leads to a unique a exploration of the Old Town.
The street art scene is relatively fresh in Cyprus and has spread mainly across the old walled town of Nicosia. Carrying cultural and socio-political messages, the street art here will give any curious traveler an insight into the country’s culture, while also showcasing the city’s edgier side.
If you want to see Nicosia beyond its main attractions, hunt down these pieces for an insight into the local underground art scene and hidden streets of the city.
Just before entering the Old Town, on Stasinou Street, is this large piece which brings to life the tall white buildings that surround it. Though nearby streets have been filled with roadworks, this wall art brings more colour into the area and sets the mood for discovering Nicosia through its street art.
Life in the Old Town is vibrant, with markets, shops and cafes filling every corner. Discover some of the local faces of the walled town via this large two-wall art piece, and perhaps try to see if you can spot some of them in the area. You can find the painting just off Onasagorou Street in one of the little alleys (Pithonos Street) rich in cafes, where you can have a drink with Nicosia’s characters on display.
Nicosia is all about the details: the crunch of cheese pie, the swirl of cream in a coffee, and the flashes of inspired art. This framed piece of street art is easily overlooked as it’s tucked away in an alley between Aishilou and Trikoupi Street. Once there, you’ll discover a quirky cafe/bar serving refreshing lemonades and afternoon drinks.
This artwork is one of the older pieces found in the Old Town, and one to have been painted over numerous times due to its social and political message. Found at Vasiliou Voulgaroktonou Street, right on the Green Line, ‘Break down the wall’ refers to the division line that’s been separating the island since 1974. The constant re-birth of this piece is said to reflect society’s frustration with living in two half communities, and the unease with the situation. The wall is constantly being updated with new pieces, so each visit brings something new.
This beautiful project by a female street artist is displayed on Trikoupi and Areos Streets, and acts as a real life map should you lose yourself in the winding streets of the capital. The neighbourhood is mapped out on a few walls as a means to get to know the town better, for those with heads lifted from screens and eyes wide open. Try to find yourself on the map and see where the roads may lead.
The walls of old Nicosia are a distinctive feature and a symbol of the town, found in various forms of art. Made up of eleven bastions, they’re still a popular attraction and source of inspiration. This wall art on Thiseos Street depicts a map of old Nicosia with special embellishments. Take a closer look to distinguish all its different aspects.
Artist: Twenty Three
Buried at the end of Talou Street along the Green Line sits another big street art piece inviting visitors to dig deeper through the town’s corners. To find it, you have to head towards the craft-worker’s area, pass by an unconventional bar and so experience a real local feel of the region. From there, head to Ermou Street to interact with the few remaining craftsmen of the Old Town and see artists at work.
Artist: Twenty Three
One of the most intriguing additions to Nicosia’s street art gallery is a project by NGO Urban Gorillas and a local street artist. Perfect for curious minds, the piece is a visual riddle split across two walls of the Green Line, one in the southern part of town (near Thiseos Street) and one in the northern. For a complete image, visitors must travel to both locations in hidden parts of the city, crossing the checkpoints along the Green Line and unraveling more of Nicosia.
Street art is still an emerging art form in Cyprus, and exploring the town’s street gallery can prove to be a unique way to see the capital and learn about local culture and society. So if you’re looking for an alternative tour of the city through its ins and outs, follow its urban art.