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Believe it or not, but not long ago, Cyprus used to be the only country in the European Union that was governed by a Communist Party. And it was not really too long ago -- between 2008 and 2013.
Also, relatively recently, unification of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish administered northern part of the island, appeared to be achievable.
And when Cyprus, like Greece, almost collapsed financially, it was Russia which offered to bail it out (before the EU did all it could to prevent this from happening).
Now it all seems like ancient history.
The city of Nicosia is still divided, with the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish immigration check-points located right in the middle of an old town. Graffiti painted in 'no man's land' demand an immediate end to the conflict: 'One country; one nation solution'.
The crossing is busy. And to make it all somehow more colorful, perhaps, there is a huge white Pitbull, phlegmatically hanging around the border area. It does not bark; it is just there. Nobody knows whether he belongs to the Turkish or the Greek side, but it appears that he spends more time with the Turks, as, I suppose, they feed him better.
The Greek-speaking side of Nicosia looks like a slightly run-down EU provincial town. On their flank, Turks are smoking shisha (traditional Middle Eastern waterpipe), and their cafes appear to be more traditional, and the old architecture more elegant. In the southern part, freshly brewed coffee is called 'Greek', while a few meters north, you have to order 'Turkish', or at least 'Arabic coffee'. Needless to say, you get the same stuff on both sides.
Otherwise, it is one island, one history and one sad and unnecessary partition.
The division of the nation is not the only madness here. Before you get used to the idea, you may go mental, finding out that there are two British administered territories still engraved into the island.
If you drive around, you will never notice that you are actually leaving Cyprus, and entering the U.K. Some car license plates are different to those regular Cypriot ones, but that's about it.
You cross an invisible line, and you are in the UK; historically the most aggressive (militarily and ideologically) nation on the face of the earth.
You drive through some agricultural fields, but soon you see something very eerie all around the road: a few kilometers after passing the historic Crusader's Kolossi Castle, there is an ocean of masts of different heights and shapes, as well as concrete, fortified military installations. The masts are 'decorated' with strange looking wires. It all looks like some old Sci-Fi movie.
Of course, if you come 'prepared', you know what you are facing: tremendous installations of the BBC propaganda apparatus aimed at destabilizing and indoctrinating the Middle East. But that is not all. This entire enclave - 'Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri' (as well as Dhekelia a few dozens of miles to the east) - is here mostly in order to spy on the 'neighborhood' of the Middle East. While London is some 4 hours flight away, Syria is just a short distance across the water, and so is Lebanon.
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