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North Nicosia (Lefkoşa)

Strolling the back streets of the Old City in North Nicosia (Lefkoşa in Turkish) feels like dropping into an earlier era. Its wiggling alleys are home to half-derelict town houses, washing lines strung between window shutters with peeling paint, and the occasional strutting rooster.

The scent of yesteryear is further evoked towards the centre, which is watched over by the Gothic pile of the Selimiye Mosque and the Ottoman bulk of the Büyük Han. The main thoroughfare to the sights, Arasta Sokak, is a brushed-up modern-day bazaar catering to day-trippers, with its glut of stalls selling tacky trinkets. Skate your way through the crowds, though, and you'll find pockets of contemporary cafe-cool breaking out, slowly awakening the Old City from its slumber.

Sit down with a latte as the call to prayer echoes and soak up the merging of old and new that permeates this side of the walled city.

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