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This ancient church is the chief mosque in the northern state of Cyprus, and the great festivals of Bayram and other Moslem gatherings are conducted here. It was formerly the cathedral of St. Sophia which was built in the period 1209 A.D. to 1228, over the ruins of a previous building. Only recently, in 1976, have the ruins of the ancient building before 1200 A.D. been discovered, on the southern side. In style of architecture, St. Sophia resembles the famous mediaeval cathedrals of France.
Nicosia, known locally as Lefkosia (Greek: Λευκωσία, Turkish: Lefkoşa), is the capital and largest city of Cyprus. It is located on the River Pedieos and situated almost in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. Nicosia is the capital of the Nicosia District. Following the intercommunal violence of the 1960s, the capital was divided between the island's Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in the south and north respectively. An attempted coup to unite the island with Greece in 1974 led to a Turkish invasion, leaving the capital divided since then, with Turkish Cypriots claiming the north as the capital of their own state, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (recognised only by Turkey). On 3 April 2008, as part of efforts to reunify the island, a symbolic wall dividing the two communities at Ledra Street was opened. South of the Green Line, the population of the city is 270,000 (late 2004), while a further 84,893 live in the north. Nicosia is important commercially with many shops, two modern shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment. The city is a trade centre and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Copper mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the University of Cyprus (UCY) and four other universities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicosia