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A Large-scale Catch-up: Nicosia, Mağusa and Girne

In my defence the reason I haven’t been talking for the last week is because I hit the road.

N.B. What follows is what I have seen and what I have been told by people on both sides of the Green Line, and my interpretations of that.  Remember the disclaimer.  I use the Turkish names for cities in the TRNC as these names are de facto.

Nicosia (Greek: Lefkosia, Turkish: Lefkoşa) is frankly crazy.  The most obvious fallout of the Turkish invasion is here, with the entire city divided by the Green Line, the creation of the UN during pre-war ethnic strife with (yes, you guessed it) a green pen.  Even on the tourist literature the line ‘last divided capital’ is paraded, which frankly strikes me as tasteless.

Your first clue that something is going on would be the mountains on the Turkish side:

 Photo taken from atop the Ledra Tower, looking north into the TRNC across the Green Line

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Intermission: The Hotel of Your Dreams

Back in the days when I and everyone else born in the same year were young, I had a habit of rummaging through abandoned buildings.  This is urban exploration, but in an attempt to make it seem relevant I may also call it ‘initial state archaeology’.  This is what buildings look like before we dig them up.

The Apollo Hotel in Pafos is abandoned, after a fashion. Built illegally, it was repossessed by the government and handed to the Antiquities Department: they use it as a base for the myriad of missions (Polish, Australian, Greek, Italian, French and Scottish by the last count) in Pafos.  This is becoming steadily more difficult, since it turns out it was built of exceptionally poor materials.  Every shower of rain makes it sag a little more: I give it ten years before it collapses entirely, which if I’m right would double its current lifespan.

So I had a stoat around.

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