NICOSIA, Cyprus — As the world commemorates 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the bullet-riddled sandstone walls of abandoned, crumbling homes and concrete machine-gun nests dotting Cyprus’ no man’s land serve as a jarring reminder of another divided capital — the world’s last — on Europe’s southeastern frontier.
The United Nations-controlled buffer zone that slices across the bustling, medieval centre of Nicosia is the most visible scar of this Mediterranean island nation’s 45-year ethnic division.
The buffer zone mostly traverses mountains and farmland along its 180-kilometre (120 mile) length, but it’s at its narrowest along the tight, winding streets of Nicosia.
Here, it isn’t so much a single wall in Berlin’s mould, but rather a patchwork of concrete-filled oil barrels, barbed wire-topped fences and a network of sentry posts built up over decades.
The Associated Press