Cyprus: on the crossroad of continents


by A.Grzyb

The island where many cultures mixed up creating an interesting mosaic culture, unfortunately it also caused too many political interests to clash resulting in still ongoing Greek-Turkish conflict.

Things you may not know about Cyprus if you just browsed holiday brochure:

  1. In fact the island contains two separate countries: Republic of Cyprus, the only one recognized internationally and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus recognized only by Turkey.
  2. The distinction above led to conflict and 11-year inter-communal violence starting from 1963.
  3. Inhabitants of Cyprus are called Cypriots and they distinguish among each other Greek and Turkish Cypriots though according to DNA test made in 2017 they come from a single paternal gene pool of local origin which makes them really close genetically.
  4. Even though Britain left its colony in 1960 we can still find the signs of their past presence. British left their heritage or maybe something they considered the best meaning: sockets, left side traffic and pub culture.
  5. Cyprus has its own small salt mine, Larnaca’s salt lake during summer season turns into salty dessert covered by thick layer of crystals which from the distance may look like a snow landscape.
  6. Even though Cypriots speak Greek they have their own dialect distinguishing it from continent’s Modern Greek both from geographical reasons as well as different influences caused by multiple invasions.
  7. The cuisine is a mix of Greek and Turkish influence, traditional cheese is halloumi, most of sweets has Turkish origin, Cypriots also produce their own high spirit – zivania – which influence left many tourists hiding in the shadow one day after the consumption.
  8. So called green line or rather United Nations Buffer Zone was opened in 2003, people exiled from their homes 29 years before could finally come back to see their hometowns left in a hurry.
  9. Nicosia is the only capital in the world shared by two countries.
  10. The historic memory is so rooted in the mentality that even second or third generations of exiles call themselves refugees.

Turkish occupation is still ongoing; politics artificially divides one island and people inhabiting it.

by Aleksandra Grzyb

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