Nicosia Airport was the main airport on the island of Cyprus up until the war in 1974. A coup supported by Greece led Turkey to invade the north of the island to protect the Turkish minority living there and protect democracy. Since then, the island has been divided and all efforts to reunite the divided community have failed. Many of the buildings in the buffer zone between the two sides were abandoned and have been decaying since the war. Talks continue to try bring the two communities in Cyprus together but even 40 years later, they remain divided and suspicious of each other.
The airport in the capital Nicosia was built in the 1930s as RAF Nicosia as the island was under British control at the time. The first passenger terminal was built in 1949 and replaced with a new one in 1968. When the war broke out, the Turkish invaders bombed the airport in an attempt to take it out of use for the Cypriot and Greek forces however under a ceasefire negotiated in August 1974, the airport became part of the UN Buffer Zone between the 2 sides and remains so to this day. It acts as a base for the UN in Cyprus. Access to the Buffer Zone is limited to peoples from both sides and a lot of what lay in the strip of land dividing the island is as it was in 1974, now abandoned and forgotten. Nicosia International Airport is one such place. The legendary ghost town of Varosha has also remained abandoned and closed off from the public since the 1974 invasion.
The lack of public access to Nicosia Airport means that international airports are now located in Paphos and Larnaca catering both for the Cypriot population and large number of tourists who visit the island annually. Ercan International Airport also serves the population on the northern part of the island but is in territory that forms part of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and as such is not recognised by the international community. Flights from the North of the island are only to permitted to Turkey and often connect via airports there to other destinations. It has been suggested that the airport may be reopened as part of the reunification negotiations.
Location: Nicosia, Cyprus