City life in Nicosia seems to surround itself around the Square of Faneromeni in the heart of the capital and within the historical Venetian walls that surround the city.
Adorned with the majestic church of Faneromeni, the Faneromeni Square has historically always been considered as a meeting point and a hangout hub for Nicosians and visitors alike. The Square is surrounded by several neoclassical buildings and monuments featuring predominantly Greek, as well as, local Cypriot architectural influences a including the Faneromeni School, the Faneromeni Library, and a Marble Mausoleum.
The Faneromeni Church is one of the capital’s biggest churches and it dominates the centre of the square. It was built in 1872 on the site of an ancient Orthodox nunnery. Dedicated to Holy Mary it is the largest church within the city walls of Nicosia. Architecturally the Church edifice features a mixture of Neoclassical, Byzantine and Medieval Latin styles. A building directly next to the church contains the relics of the bishops and priests who were executed by the Ottomans in 1821.
Faneromeni School, founded by Archbishop Makarios I (Greek Orthodox Church) and especially the Faneromeni Church located right in front of the school in 1857, was the first all-girls school in Cyprus in an attempt to combat the then high illiteracy rates across the island. The School
Initially used as a Girls Only School, the school had 115 students but only one teacher who used the help of older children as teachers-assistants for younger students.
As from 1903 Faneromeni School was also used for the training of female teachers. The school took its΄ present form in 1924, yet again with the financial assistance of the Faneromeni Church. Nowadays the school is a public school for boys and girls who live within the old city, including a nursery school, a primary school and a high school.
The Marble Mausoleum on the eastern side of Faneromeni Church is situated on the front of the building and was built in memory of four clerics executed by the governor in 1821, following the Cypriot revolt due to the newly declared Greek War of Independence.
There are a number of cafes, bars, shops and restaurants located around the Faneromeni Square, as well as picturesque pedestrian roads taking you into the realms of the last divided capital of Cyprus and along its dividing line (see our blog post Walking along the Demarcation Line in Nicosia).