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19 Jan

An international trade embargo restricts Turkish Cypriot exporters to the limited Turkish market.As a result, the economy of northern Cyprus is largely dependent on annual cash handouts from Ankara.Today the island is shared between Greece and Turkey, divided by a United Nations buffer zone known as the Green Line.Limassol, Cyprus’s largest port, is on the Greek side, nestled between the sprawling Akrotiri Bay and the dramatic foothills of the Troodos Mountains, where Cypriot wines are produced.In the expectation that life in the northern part of the island will only get worse, more Turkish Cypriots are weighing up their options. Chronic inflation over the last year has reduced his teacher's salary to less than half its value."The other thing," he says, "is the isolation.After a while it really gets to you."Turkey is the only country that recognises the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

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According to the most recent census, mainland Turks - known by Turkish Cypriots as "settlers" - now make up nearly half the population, not to mention 35,000 Turkish troops based here.

Centuries of history have unfolded here, much of it during the era of the Crusades, as the island-nation’s castles will attest.

In one of these historic edifices, Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen of England.

European finance ministers (collectively known as Ecofin) set fixed rates of one euro to 0.585274 Cypriot pounds and euro is the official currency used in Cyprus since January 1, 2008.

The design of the Cypriot euro coins: 7000-3900 BC NEOLITHIC AGERemains of the oldest known settlements in Cyprus date from this period.