Cyprus is a small island country that sits in the Mediterranean surrounded by Greece from the west, Turkey from the north and east, and Egypt from the south. This country has been conquered and occupied by many empires that came and went. Empires such the Greeks, Romans, Egyptian, French, Ottoman Turks, and British have controlled the land. The country gained independence from the British in 1960. Even though the country received independence, the country consist mainly Greeks and Turks who wanted respectively the country to become either part of Greece or Turkey. Turkey- fearing that Greece would seize the country as its own state- decided to invade and occupy 37% of island in 1974. This move by Turkey almost led to another World War, but because the two countries are part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO, NATO countries intervened to reduce tensions between the two countries. Today, the island country is two countries in one: The eastern part of the island is occupied by Turkey whereas the western part of the island is the independent Cyprus. A demilitarized zone separates both parts that splits the island starting from the capital Nicosia. While Turkey is the only country that recognizes the Turkish-occupied part of the country, the rest of the world recognizes the independent Cyprus.
Today, Cyprus- shockingly enough- is a diverse country with a mixture of not only Greeks and Turks but many people from all over Europe, especially from Russia. Many rich Russians invest their money into Cyprus because the island is a tax-free haven. Even so, when I visited the island, the country was in financial crisis as the country struggled to pay its debt before it received a bailout from the Euro countries.
What makes a Cypriot? I had the pleasure to visit the western part of the country to find the answer to this question. In Cyprus, it is very diverse in culture that it is a blurry line to make out a true Cypriot; however, it is this clash of diversity that I learned eventually who makes a Cypriot. In fact, many mosques and churches are next door to one another in the country. I learned that the mixture of cultures, the beautiful lands, and delicious food makes this country a vacation spot for many Europeans and should be for anyone looking for somewhere unknown to visit