Since 1974, the Greek island of Cyprus has been a politically divided land. Named the Republic of Cyprus, this small island nation is in the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea near the country of Turkey. A Turkish invasion in 1974 caused a schism to erupt in the nation and ultimately to the displacement of Turkish and Cypriots in the area. This invasion was caused by the earlier coup concocted by Athens, which overthrew the then president Makarios. In the decades since, not much has changed with this situation and that has, in turn, led to border disputes.
Cyprus has a wonderful Greek history and it is unfortunate that this situation has taken focus off a lush and varied background. For history buffs, it is well known that the island of Cyprus is the birthplace of the mythical goddess of love, Aphrodite. Her Roman counterpart is, of course, Venus.
Aphrodite was seen as a vain, arrogant figure of ancient myth and was coveted by many other gods. She married Hephaestus, the taciturn god of smithies. This pleased Zeus for he knew that her beauty and demeanor would infuriate the would be suitors for her hand and there needed to be some control in her placement in marriage. She sought out others, most notably Ares and Adonis for comfort.
The Greek island of Cyprus was the center of much cultural heritage after the fall of the Roman Empire. It became part of the Byzantine Empire near 400 AD. Some eight hundred years later it was captured by King Richard I during the crusades. The Byzantine Emperor fought with King Richard and demanded that he leave the island of Cyprus at once. Richard and his crusaders were victorious.
Many of the inhabitants did not favor Byzantine occupation and were happy when they were under English rule. The Republic of Venice took control of the island in the fifteenth century. It was during this time that the Turks began attacking the island. All the way through the centuries, the Turks continued to attack until finally taking at least some control of the island.
Even as it stands with its somewhat violent history, the Island of Cyprus is still a wonderful tourist attraction for many people. Because of the amazing beachfront areas of this island and the mild warm weather, people from all over the world come to visit and take part in its many attractions. Ancient Greek ruins, including castles, dominate the landscape in a beautiful display of the nation’s artistic strength and varied history.
The borders, mainly the lower standard of living caused by the Turkish invasion near the northern edge, contribute somewhat to strained living and wary traveling. It is dangerous in some places. But even with this situation, the island offers many sites and sounds found no where else in the world.
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