Cyprus is located in the north eastern of the east Mediterranean Basin and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia. It is 71 kilometres south of Turkey, 98 kilometres west of Syria and 384 kilometres north of Egypt.
The island's strategic location of North Cyprus has shaped its history and civilization throughout the centuries. For centuries Cyprus has been influenced by the cultures of many different nations, which has led to an island with a richly diverse historical and architectural heritage.
As the third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus has been occupied by a succession of civilizations over the past 2000 years, all of whom have left their mark. History abounds everywhere; from the three great Crusader castles built in the time of Richard the Lionheart, to the Roman ruins at Salamis, each conquering empire has contributed to the beauty and culture of this remarkable island. In the 8th Century BC the island was part of the Assyrian empire, then the Babylonian, Egyptian and Persian. In 58BC the Cyprus Island was seized by the Romans. Richard Lionheart settled on the island in 1191 during the third crusade. Cyprus remained in Lusignan possession until captured by the Venetians in 1489. From 1571 to 1878 the island was ruled by the Ottomans until they leased its administration to Britain.
Cyprus independence was granted in 1960. The Greek Cypriots and the Greek mainland military created a coup in 1974 and Turkey was forced to intervene to safeguard the interest of the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was subsequently proclaimed in 1983.
The main income in North Cyprus is from tourism although Citrus fruits, olives and other crops are widely exported.