Along the Haunting Buffer Zone That Divides This City in Two

In Cyprus, capital Nicosia remains split. It's an eerie reminder of a 40-year-old military conflict.

Cyprus has a 112-mile buffer zone, a UN-controlled area that separates the northern portion, occupied by Turkey since 1974, from the rest of the island. 

Nicosia, the island's biggest city, is divided by this so-called "Green Line." On one side, it's the capital of the Republic of Cyprus. The northern part serves as the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a territory recognized by Turkey alone.  

When Britain gave up possession of the island in 1960, political tension grew between Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus. The island was eventually split in two after a failed coup by Cyprus's pro-Greece national guard and the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. Turkey responded with military action. Since a ceasefire, the island remains split in two.

After getting special permission from the UN, Reuters photographer Neil Hall was able to photograph the demilitarized zone in Nicosia where the buffer is most noticeable. There, one sees the remains of formerly bustling homes, shops, cars, and an airport, all left as they were 40 years ago but with few people other than UN patrols in sight:

A military post marking the United Nations buffer zone stands in the Greek Cypriot-controlled area of central Nicosia March 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
A view shows the abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia March 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
A bird flies past an advertising billboard at the abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia March 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
The passenger departure area is seen at the abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia March 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
A Cyprus Airways passenger jet stands in the abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia March 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)
Cars sit abandoned in a former shopping centre in the United Nations buffer zone in central Nicosia March 12, 2014. The cars were imported from Japan to be sold at a Toyota dealership. They were stored here during the 1974 conflict and have not been moved since. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
An import sticker is seen on the window of a car in the United Nations buffer zone in central Nicosia March 12, 2014. The car was imported from Japan to be sold at a Toyota dealership. It was stored here during the 1974 conflict and has not been moved since. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
A former commercial street is seen in the United Nations buffer zone in central Nicosia March 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottles stand on a table at an abandoned cafe in the United Nations buffer zone in central Nicosia March 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 
Old televisions found and collected by soldiers are seen in an abandoned commercial area in the United Nations buffer zone in central Nicosia March 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Neil Hall) 

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