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Cyprus

Despite being almost equidistantly located between Asia and Northern Africa, the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is a European destination with much to offer in terms of history, culture and long golden beaches.

It could be debated extensively as to which destination may be the place to visit in search of the perfect beach. Limassol, located towards the southernmost tip of the island, offers plenty of good contenders. The Akti Olympion beach-side park stretches a total distance of 7km alongside the beach and offers a chance to admire a number of interesting sculptures. Each stretch of sand offers the perfect place to unwind and many areas are fringed by beach cafes.

If you are looking to explore the many fascinating historical landmarks that Cyprus has to offer, you may enjoy a visit to Larnaca. There is evidence suggesting that the city was settled up to 6,000 years ago and this is particularly reflected within some of the religious landmarks. The Church of St. Lazarus, which dates back to the 9th Century, is thought to have been built around the tomb of the biblical Lazarus – brother of Mary. Significantly, Larnaca is also home to the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque, which is reputedly considered to be the location of the tomb of Umm Haram – foster mother of Mohammed.

Another popular coastal area is Paphos, which is located on the western coast of the island. Here, you can wander the grounds of the significant Paphos Archaeological Park, which houses the ruins of two large Roman villas that were famous for their beautiful mosaic designs. Alternatively, you can head to the Tombs of the Kings, where you can find a series of 4th-century tombs and pathways which have been carved out of solid rock. A short journey outside of the city area will take you to the Troodos Mountains, where you can embark on one of the many walking trails and enjoy clear views of the surrounding area

Cyprus is shared between both Greece and Turkey, with the former occupying the south-western regions and the latter staking claim to the north-east. Evidence of this division is clear within the island’s capital of Nicosia - the only split capital city in the world following the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. A buffer zone sits in the centre of the old town, where you will see abandoned streets and walls filled with bullet holes. There are many museums that offer an insight into the various historical eras of Cyprus as a nation, with the Byzantine Museum, Cyprus Museum and Leventis Municipal Museum well worth visiting.

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