Nicosia nĭkəsē´ə [key], Gr. Levkosia, Turkish Lefkoşa, city (1992 pop. 177,410), capital of Cyprus, on the Pedieos River in the central plain of the island. It is also the center of an administrative district, part of which is in the Turkish sector. Nicosia, the country's largest city, is an agricultural trade center and has textile, leather, pottery, plastic, and other manufactures. Copper mines are nearby. Known as Ledra or Ledrae in antiquity, it was the residence of the Lusignan kings of Cyprus from 1192, became a Venetian possession in 1489, and fell to the Turks in 1571. The tombs of the Lusignans are in the former Church of St. Sophia (13th cent.), now a mosque. There also are remnants of the Venetian fortifications and museums with notable collections of antiquities. Nicosia was the scene of bitter strife in the period just prior to Cypriot independence (1960), and since the Turkish invasion (1974) part of the city's northern sector has been inside the boundary of the United Nations' buffer zone. The name is also spelled Nikosia.
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