Facts about Cyprus

Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

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Border Crossing between South and North Cyprus

It was once believed that the two sides that live on the island of Cyprus did not, and would not talk to each other. Without talk peace would be impossible and thus the unification of the island would be impossible. But what is peace or more specifically what is peace for the Cypriot community as a whole.

One could look up the meaning of the word peace in a dictionary, but that would fall far short of the expectations that the word has generated over the years. As grudges have been compounded and people have gotten stuck in the endless game of, they did that, and they did this, the word peace has grown to mean much more. It is a growth that in many cases has arisen not only out of want, but need.

There has to be a healing based on understanding and compromise. There has to be understanding and compromise based communication. There has to be communication based on talk, honest, not for the game sort of talk. The game, perhaps a cynical way of describing the Cyprus problem does not seem to spark humour due to the simple fact that it has become merely a game to some with Cyprus as whole being a pawn.

Crossing the Border

While such crossings were impossible or considered illegal in the past it has now become common place. Many have bought insurance for their cars so that they may cross to the other side (which ever side that may be) in the comfort of their own cars. If you do not own a car and would like to rent one please note that you may not cross the border to the South with a rented car from the North. However, you may cross to the North with your rented car from the South. If you cross with a car the only requirements are that you have all your papers, the cars papers, and insurance purchased on the side that you will cross to. Insurance issued on either side is not valid in the other side. There are places where insurance can be purchased at the border crossings. Crossing the border is not limited to vehicular traffic, if you do not have a car and wish to cross you may do so on foot or as part of a tour by bus. The process has become quite hassle free since the joining of the E.U. Most countries including E.U. members and the U.S. may cross the border in either direction. Only citizens of countries that would normally require a visa to enter Cyprus may not cross the border from the North. Also please note that there are allowances to the quantities of cigarettes and liqueur that you may transport to the South from the North. In addition only 50 Cypriot Pounds worth of goods are allowed to cross the border per person, in either direction.

With this opening of the border both sides, and now the world can freely cross the border and see how things are on the other side. There has been some shock at how much things have changed, as it is the case people are often of the belief that if they are not there to see it, time will stand still. For the most part people were happy to see places that they had not seen in 30 some years. Although there have been the occasional fights and vandalizing of private property, those are said to be isolated incidents that do now reflect the general will of the people on both sides.

A general will that while no one should expect will turn rivals into best friends over night, is an important step in the process of bringing the Cypriot community back together. There must be action that is productive and not done merely for the sake of taking action. Each side must pick up a stone which can be found in abundance on this island and trust that the other side will not throw it at them but instead use it to build a bridge where they will one day meet at the middle.

Border checkpoints in Cyprus

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