Nicosia is a city of contrasts between a Westernized and developed New city and an old walled Venetian old city. Nicosia is one of the oldest cities in the Western world - "rich in history and culture, and combines its historic past with the amenities of a modern city. The heart of the city, within the 16th century Venetian walls, has a number of interesting Museums and art galleries, Byzantine churches, and a number of medieval and neo-classical buildings, and the narrow streets retain the romantic atmosphere of the past. Much of the charm and beauty of Nicosia is to be found in the old city, with its labyrinthine alleyways and elegant courtyard houses. Outside the walls, the new city, with its modern facilities, is a cosmopolitan centre of a modern European capital.
While the primary language of the country is Greek, English is widely spoken or understood among youth and most major colleges are taught in English. Nicosia is the center of college life in Cyprus, with over 10,000 students, primarily Cypriot and European, studying there at any point in time. Students are drawn to the Nicosia for its international character, fascinating history, and temperate weather. The areas in which students take courses run the gamut from business to international relations to philosophy to the sciences.