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Cyprus, or Aphrodite's Island as it is sometimes called, is approximately 225 km long and 100 km wide and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia. It is tucked away at the extreme eastern end of the Mediterranean, some 75 km south of Turkey and 115 km west of Syria.
The island has suffered considerable strife in its long and chequered history and is currently in two enclaves following partition in 1974 after conflict between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot elements of the population. The border separating The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and The Greek Cypriot Republic of Cyprus is closed, preventing visiting birdwatchers from moving freely between the two Republics.
Despite continuing simmering resentment between the two factions, and occasional demonstrations, a general calm prevails and this situation, which has existed since 1974, has not deterred millions of tourists from visiting the Greek Cypriot controlled area in complete safety in the intervening period. This guide has been written for those who wish to follow suit and enjoy the delights of this bird-rich island. It is a land that, following centuries of British influence, has English as a widely used second language, signs that are in both Greek and English, and vehicles driving on the left-hand side of the road. It is served by two international airports, Larnaca in the east and Paphos in the west, with numerous flights to and from Great Britain and Europe throughout the year.