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Frozen in time: The Cyprus buffer zone

A Cyprus Airways passenger jet stands in the abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia March 10, 2014. (Neil Hall /Reuters)

The Cyprus buffer zone remains frozen in time, a testimony to the nation’s turbulent past. This year marks the 40th anniversary of a conflict that divided the island nation in two.

After gaining its independence from Britain in 1960, tension simmered between Cyprus’s Greek and Turkish communities. In 1974, the Cyprus National Guard staged a coup. This ignited a military invasion of the north by Turkey. After a ceasefire, a buffer zone was established splitting Cyprus east to west, with the country’s ethnic Greeks living in the south and its Turks in the north.  A demilitarized zone, also known as “the green line,” is controlled by the United Nations. It’s approximately 110 miles long and takes up about three percent of the island.

According to Reuters photographer Neil Hall, “Photography is not allowed in or along the Green Line.”  With special permission from the UN, he shows us a portion of the buffer zone.

To read more visit Neil Hall’s blog.

This article has been updated to fix a statement regarding access to the buffer zone. 




Nick Kirkpatrick is the foreign photo editor at the Washington Post. Follow him on Instagram or Twitter.



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