Athalassa forest and park area is an oasis of greenery on the southeastern edge of the city. It is a popular refuge for citizens and an ideal place for family outings. A network of trails covering 20 kilometres is perfect for cycling and walking and also includes a special pathway for walking dogs.
Further along lies Dali, an area with signs of human habitation going back about 4.000 years. An ancient city kingdom, currently being excavated, once flourished here as a result of its strategic position and the presence of water and fertile land. Monuments from all periods of Cyprus’ history can be found in the region. Agioi Apostoloi is a superb little Byzantine church, which contains some of the most exquisite 12th century frescoes found in Cyprus, while the ruins of the Gothic church Agios Mamas can be also be seen, which formed part of the royal estate in the Frankish period. Nearby is the cave where the hermit Agios Sozomenos used to live.
Various roads lead out of Lefkosia (Nicosia) into the foothills of the Troodos mountains, through olive groves and orchards, and into the pine forest, ending at the impressive monastery of Machairas. On the way are places of interest like Tamassos, an ancient copper producing city associated with the cult of Aphrodite, and nearby Agios Irakleidios convent, built in honour of Cyprus’ first bishop saint. Fikardou is a beautiful example of a traditional mountain settlement, which has preserved its 18th and 19th century character and architecture and remains in complete harmony with the surrounding countryside.
To the west lies Archangelos, an important monastery, which has recently been expanded and used as a cultural and research centre of Kykkos Monastery. Further along is the village of Peristerona with its five-domed church and one of the most beautiful mosques of the island with a very elaborate minaret.
The charming convent of Agios Nicolaos can be found in the village of Orounda and in Nikitari village the famous Byzantine church of Asinou, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has some of the finest examples of Byzantine wall painting on the island.