I traveled to this divided country in August of 2009. Southern Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus) is a large tourist destination for Europeans and the area is quite nice. However, the north is frequented mostly by Turks and even requires southern Cypriots to carry a passport when traveling into Northern Cyprus, as a result many Cypriots refuse to go into the north leaving it economically deprived compared to the south. Traveling to the divided city of Nicosia reminded me of my travels to Berlin in 1989.

A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cyprus was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), but it is recognized only by Turkey. In September 2008, the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities started negotiations under UN auspices aimed at reuniting the divided island. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May 2004, although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under direct government control, and is suspended in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots. 


Limassol 2009

Nicosia 2009

Nicosia - The Divided City