Perhaps the most important visitor to the island during the nineteenth century was Archduke of Austria Louis Salvador. Impressed by the capital of the island he wrote a book on Nicosia in 1873:
The principal street of Lefcosia, which is naturally the broadest and longest one, is
called Trypiotis, BasΈmahalle. The next in importance is the Tahtakale, which leads from
the Gate of Famagusta to the bazaars, thus forming the main entrance to the city. By the
side of it runs the dry bed of Pedias, with several bridges. Adjoining the Saray are the
goals, serving as a central prison for all Ottoman possessions in Asia. The Christian
prisoners, who are rather numerous are separated from the rest and upon entering they all
addressed me in Italian putting forth their complaints. They had a chain on their right leg
hanging down from a hook at their belt. Not far from the Saray is the telegraph office. The
existing cable was laid down in 1872 by an English company on account of the
Government. By the side of it stands the house of the Cadi.
There are eight hot air baths in Lefcosia: The Bόyόk Hamam, the large bath, the Emir
Hamam, later called Korkut Hamam and the Yeni Hamam being the most frequented.
The hours before noon are appropriated to men; in the afternoon women are admitted, on
Mondays and Thursdays Turkish women and on Tuesdays and Saturdays Greek women.
There is one inn, or hotel called the Locanda della Speranza, belonging to Yiorgios
Christodoulou, and five khans:
the Bόyόk Khan, built by Muzzafer Pasha in 1572 and renown for its tiny door " the hole of the needle", the Kumarcılar Khan, known also as the khan of the Itinerant musicians or the Fiddlers’inn, Tόccarbashi khan, Peşmalcilar Khan, of the vraka, and Ali Effendi Khan.
Yet the bazaars remain the center of the social life in the capital. These are generally open, simply covered with mats and linen rugs, only four and a half of them have regular roof. They amount to twenty-three, taking their names from the articles sold in each one, such as Manufactures bazaar, the Tailors, Ηai (tea) Bazaar, Provisions bazaar, İplik (flux) Pazari. But the most interesting and colourful is the Women’s bazaar, every Friday where all sorts of needlework and everything belonging to it are sold there.
The 'What I saw...' series is made possible with the support of OPAP Cyprus and Active Citizens Fund.