Cyprus // Lefkosia (South Nicosia) //

The Shacolas Tower Observatory

The eleven-storey Shacolas Tower, owned by multi-millionaire philanthropist Nicos Shacolas, is the tallest building in Lefkosia. Once used by Cypriots to peer over the Buffer Zone into northern Cyprus (now rendered redundant by the pedestrian crossing), the views from the tower’s eleventh-floor observatory are still remarkable, and detailed information boards tell you precisely what you’re gazing down on (you can borrow binoculars if you want a closer look). It’s the best place from which to view the gigantic and inflammatory TRNC flag painted on the hillside to the north of the city. A fine aerial photo of the city provides orientation, and the whole floor is air-conditioned – that alone is worth the low price of admission. The first five floors are occupied by Debenhams, while on the sixth floor is the Venue Cafeteria, a good place to have a coffee while continuing to enjoy the views. Note that you can’t reach the observatory via the department store – a separate entrance can be found down the side street to the right.