Cyprus

Cyprus

Travel to Cyprus for experiencing the aesthetic beauty of the place and exploring beautiful places of attractions, to indulge in several types of activities, museums, etc… You can travel to Cyprus by airways or waterways. Cyprus, a rather extraordinary island of diversity, has as its claim to fame the only divided capital in the world (ever since the Berlin Wall fell). The contentious territorial disagreements between North (Turkish) and South (Greek) Cyprus were brought to UN-led discussions in 2002. In the past visitors had to make a choice which half to visit. Today crossing the border (green line) is easy as long as the visitor has valid visas for both sides.

Seaside resorts, generally lacking in class, cater to the hordes of tourists which flock to the island. The ancient remains of the Roman, Byzantine and Greek empires (all of which invaded Cyprus at some point), make up for this poorly realized development. And away from the coast, Cyprus’ natural attributes stand strong; at Troödos Massif, stunning mountains provide the ideal setting for a skiing trip.

The earliest confirmed site of human activity on Cyprus is Aetokremnos, situated on the south coast, indicating that hunter-gatherers were active on the island from around 10,000 BC, with settled village communities dating from 8,200 BC. The remarkably well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to approximately 6,800 BC.

The island was part of the Hittite empire during the late Bronze Age until the arrival of two waves of Greek settlement. Beginning in the 8th century BC Phoenician colonies were founded on the south coast of Cyprus, near present day Larnaca and Salamis. Cyprus was ruled by Assyria for a century starting in 708 BC, before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545 BC. The island was brought under permanent Greek rule by Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies of Egypt following his death. Full Hellenisation took place during the Ptolemaic period, which ended when Cyprus was annexed by the Roman Republic in 58 BC.
When the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western parts in 395, Cyprus became part of the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire, and would remain part of it until the crusades some 800 years later. In 1191, during the Third Crusade, Richard I of England captured the island from Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus. A year later Richard sold the island to the Templars, who, following a bloody revolt, in turn sold it to Guy of Lusignan. Following the death in 1473 of James II, the last Lusignan king, the Republic of Venice assumed control of the island.

In 1570, a full scale Ottoman assault with 60,000 troops brought the island under Ottoman control, despite stiff resistance by the inhabitants of Nicosia and Famagusta. 20,000 Nicosians were put to death, and every church, public building, and palace was looted. Reaction to Ottoman misrule led to uprisings by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, although none were successful. By 1872, the population of the island had risen to 144,000 comprising 44,000 Muslims and 100,000 Christians. In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), administration, but not sovereignty, of the island was ceded to the British Empire in 1878 in exchange for guarantees that Britain would use the island as a base to protect the Ottoman Empire against possible Russian aggression. Following the outbreak of World War I and the entry of the Ottoman Empire on the side of the Central powers, the United Kingdom annexed the island in 1914.

On August 16, 1960, Cyprus attained independence after an agreement in Zürich and London between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey. The UK retained two Sovereign Base Areas in Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
Following a coup d’état engineered by the Greek Junta, Turkey launched a full-scale military invasion of the island in 1974. International pressure led to a ceasefireat which point 37% of the island had been taken over by the Turks and 180,000 Greek Cypriots were evicted from their homes in the north. At the same time, around 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to the areas under the control of the Turkish Forces and settled in the properties of the displaced Greek Cypriots. In 1983 Turkish Cypriots proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is officially recongnised only by Turkey.
In March 2008, a wall that for decades had stood at the boundary between the Greek Cypriot controlled side and the UN buffer zone was demolished. The wall had cut across Ledra Street in the heart of Nicosia and was seen as a strong symbol of the island’s 32-year division. On 3 April 2008, Ledra Street was reopened in the presence of Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials.

Three states occupy the island: the Republic of Cyprus (a member of the European Union) is a state with wide international recognition. However it only controls territory in the south. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus acts as a de facto separate country. The British military base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, while legally separate from either republic, have open borders with the Republic of Cyprus.

Cyprus is located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and totally surrounded by it. It covers about 9,250 square kilometres (including the north) and has about 1 million inhabitants, 200,000 of which live in the north. The nearest land masses are Turkey to the north (75 kilometres), Syria and Lebanon to the east (over 100 kilometres)), Israel (200 kilometres) to the southeast, Egypt (380 kilometres) to the south, and Greece to the northwest: 280 kilometres to the nearest island and 800 kilometres to the mainland. Two mountain ranges form much of Cyprus: the Troodos Mountains and the smaller Kyrenia Range. The encompass and the central plain, called the Mesaoria. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western portions of the island and account for roughly half its area. The highest point on Cyprus is Mount Olympus at 1,952 metres, located in the centre of the Troodos range. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies substantially less area, and elevations are lower, reaching a maximum of 1,024 metres.

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