Nicosia is the capital and largest city of Cyprus. It lies roughly at the centre of the island. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nicosia is currently the only divided capital city across the world, with the southern (Greek) and northern (Turkish) portions divided by the cease- fire line came to be known «Green Line», a demilitarized zone maintained by the United Nations.

The northern part  of the city functions as the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus a disputed region recognised only by Turkey, which the international community recognises as Cypriot territory under Turkish occupation since 1974.

In that year Turkey built a barrier along the Green Line, with concrete walls, barbed-wire fencing, military outposts, and some minefields. The barrier is now 300 Km long. Turkey maintains approximately 30,000 troops in the north, many of them stationed along the barrier.

In April 2003, Turkish Cypriot authorities substantially reduced restrictions on travel across the barrier. This was an important step in the thawing of relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots (and, perhaps, between Greece and Turkey). Though the country remains divided, Cyprus is now a member of the European Union (EU); Turkey knows that its involvement on the island will play a role in its own bid for EU membership. To that end, Turkey has agreed to recognize Cyprus as an EU member, while asserting that this will not equal full diplomatic recognition.



Cypriot soldiers in front of a temporary barrier after the wall that divided the Greek and Turkish Cypriot areas of Nicosia was demolished.

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Bridging Cyprus’s great divide by Mark Tran – March 9th, 2007 – The Guardian