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The turbulent history of the island can be traced back over 10,000 years. Like many Mediterranean islands, Cyprus has long been seen as an important strategic base and has suffered a variety of occupations. From 1571, the Ottoman Turks ruled Cyprus for over three centuries, before ceding it to Britain in 1878.

The turbulent history of the island can be traced back over 10,000 years. Like many Mediterranean islands, Cyprus has long been seen as an important strategic base and has suffered a variety of occupations. From 1571, the Ottoman Turks ruled Cyprus for over three centuries, before ceding it to Britain in 1878.

In July 1974, President Makarios was deposed by a military coup (allegedly backed by the military regime then in power in Greece). Within days, Turkish troops arrived on the northern coast of Cyprus, having been ‘invited’ by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, to intervene in order to protect the Turkish community on the island. After the Turkish army had taken control of the northern third of the island, a ceasefire was arranged under UN auspices. The island has remained partitioned ever since and UN peacekeeping forces maintain a truce between the two sides.

In November 1983, the Turkish part of the island proclaimed itself independent. However, formal recognition of the self-styled country only has been granted by Turkey and various other statelets (for example, the Azeri enclave of Nakhichevan). For the vast majority of the international community, the legitimate government of Republic of Cyprus (Kipriaki Demokratia) is the Greek-Cypriot administration in Nicosia. Today, the principal issue for the Greek-Cypriot government remains the same; how to normalise relations with the northern occupied part of the island and reunify the island. Despite its political problems, Cyprus is a modern country that effortlessly marries European culture with ancient enchantment. Here, visitors will discover a compact world of alluring beaches and fragrant mountain peaks, vineyards studded with olive trees and ancient ruins that stir the imagination, citrus groves and old stone villages where sweet wine flows as freely as conversations at the local café.