Cyprus is a Eurasian island country located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon and north of Egypt. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union.
Cyprus is divided into 6 administrative regions, each named for its administrative capital. Since 1974, the whole of Kyrenia district, most of Famagusta district, and the northern portion of Nicosia district are occupied by Turkish forces.
Temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960. Despite a constitution which guaranteed a degree of power-sharing between the Greek Cypriot majority and the Turkish Cypriot minority, the two populations – with backing from the governments of Greece and Turkey, respectively – clashed vehemently in 1974, with the end result being the occupation of the northern and eastern 40% of the island by Turkey. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". So far, only Turkey recognizes the TRNC, while all other governments and the United Nations recognize only the government of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island. The UN operates a peacekeeping force and a narrow buffer zone between the two Cypriot ethnic groups. Fortunately, open hostilities have been absent for some time, as the two sides (now with the growing involvement of the European Union) gradually inch towards a reunification of some sort.
The culture of Cyprus is divided between the two distinct cultures of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Each community maintains its own culture, linked to the cultures of Greece and Turkey, and there is little cultural interchange between the two groups. The Greek culture first has been present on the island since antiquity.The Turkish culture arrived with the invasion of the Ottoman Empire in 1570, and it was under this rule that the divide between the two communities became prominent and encouraged by government policies. The British did nothing to change this, leaving the island in its divided state with no unified culture.
The many archaeological and antiquities sites scattered around the island, dating from the New Stone Age through to the Roman Empire.
Nicosia, the capital as it has a wealth of history, preserved Venetian walls surrounding the city, some wonderful bars and restaurants within the old walls of the city and of course the 'green line' - the dividing line with the Turkish part of Cyprus, which cuts through the centre of Nicosia, now the only divided capital.