Nicosia International Airport: The Cypriot airport abandoned for 44 years

A large passenger jet sits silent and still on the edge of a sun-beaten track. It won't fly again -- its engines have...

Posted: Jun 6, 2018 1:03 PM
Updated: Jun 6, 2018 1:03 PM

A large passenger jet sits silent and still on the edge of a sun-beaten track. It won't fly again -- its engines have been stripped down, its wings wrecked and weathered by time.

Nearby, shafts of sunlight pass through the smashed windows of a cavernous hangar. Everything is covered in dust and rust, a jumble of barbed wire, broken glass and sprouting weeds.

On this part of Europe's last divided capital, time has long been frozen.

Frozen in time

For the past 44 years, the once vibrant and state-of-the-art Nicosia International Airport has remained shut, a fading and painful travel relic of the turbulent history of Cyprus.

The Mediterranean island country has effectively been divided since the summer of 1974.

Cyprus, a former British colony, became independent in 1960. Over the years, tensions rose between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority. In 1974, the government of Greece sponsored an attempt to overthrow the elected president of Cyprus. Turkey responded with military intervention and soon controlled more than a third of the island.

The division persists to this day, with a United Nations-patroled buffer zone cutting across the island, splitting the Turkish Cypriot north from the Greek Cypriot south.

Desolate and eerily empty, the airport sits inside the buffer zone, also known as the green line.

Its access to the public is heavily restricted as it forms part of the wider complex housing the headquarters of the UN's peacekeeping force on the island.

This is a far cry from its earlier days. After decades of being used mostly for military purposes, Nicosia International Airport was officially inaugurated in 1968, with the addition of a modern terminal building boasting high-tech facilities and a multitude of restaurants and shops.

Former transport hub

Built to become a major tourism and transport hub in eastern Mediterranean, the airport would welcome robust trade in the coming years. By 1973, it had reportedly served nearly 800,000 passengers. But its bustling life was abruptly cut short.

During the 1974 crisis, Nicosia International Airport became one of the main targets of the Turkish army. and commercial activity was terminated.

A series of air raids were launched on the site, followed by heavy and deadly fighting in its vicinity between Turkish and Greek forces.

UN troops eventually intervened, and when ceasefire lines were drawn in mid-August 1974, the airport was declared a UN Protected Area and became part of the buffer zone.

Deserted aircraft

A new airport, Larnaca International Airport (LCA), was opened in the Republic of Cyprus in 1975 following the closure of Nicosia, while Paphos International Airport (PFO) followed in 1983.

In 1977, the very last commercial flights left the airport under UN Special Authorization, when a trio of aircraft, stranded since the 1974 invasion, was flown to London.

But to this day, a beaten-down Cyprus Airways Trident Sun Jet passenger plane stands motionless between the decaying hangars and terminal building.

According to the UN, the plane's engines were stripped during the 1974 events and used to repair another jet for flight.

Long abandoned, the airport complex has been used as one of the sites for the launch of intercommunal talks in the efforts to find a solution on the island's impasse over the years and acts as the headquarters for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

But as long as peace remains elusive, the airport's crumbling walls and deserted landscape will only serve as a stark emblem of the island's decades-long division.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37624

Reported Deaths: 1503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12150785
Ramsey4805226
Stearns234519
Dakota228690
Anoka2180107
Nobles16626
Olmsted110115
Washington106940
Mower9452
Rice8357
Scott7004
Clay58538
Kandiyohi5701
Wright4565
Blue Earth4532
Todd4002
Carver3641
Lyon3092
Sherburne3075
Freeborn2900
Steele2281
Watonwan2160
Benton2143
St. Louis17715
Martin1635
Nicollet15912
Cottonwood1340
Goodhue1298
Winona12215
Crow Wing10612
Pine1030
Le Sueur981
Chisago971
Otter Tail931
McLeod880
Carlton850
Dodge840
Polk812
Chippewa781
Unassigned7637
Isanti720
Itasca6412
Waseca640
Douglas620
Meeker611
Morrison591
Murray580
Becker550
Faribault550
Jackson550
Sibley542
Pennington500
Pipestone371
Mille Lacs342
Renville322
Wabasha310
Brown302
Rock300
Yellow Medicine300
Beltrami290
Fillmore280
Houston250
Swift211
Norman200
Wilkin203
Redwood180
Cass152
Wadena150
Aitkin140
Big Stone140
Kanabec141
Koochiching141
Roseau130
Marshall120
Grant100
Lincoln100
Pope100
Mahnomen81
Clearwater70
Hubbard60
Lake60
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30377

Reported Deaths: 720
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6332179
Woodbury320644
Black Hawk219658
Buena Vista170711
Linn124282
Johnson12388
Dallas123529
Marshall104119
Story7513
Pottawattamie71911
Scott71910
Wapello70530
Crawford6752
Muscatine62444
Dubuque62122
Sioux4600
Tama46029
Wright3771
Louisa36013
Jasper32117
Plymouth3135
Warren2641
Dickinson2602
Washington2349
Hamilton1871
Webster1712
Cerro Gordo1471
Boone1451
Clarke1292
Clay1280
Allamakee1264
Mahaska11517
Shelby1140
Clinton1051
Poweshiek1048
Carroll931
Pocahontas931
Bremer916
Des Moines862
Henry863
Franklin840
Cedar811
Emmet800
Taylor790
Cherokee751
Monona740
Floyd702
Marion680
Hardin670
Guthrie644
Sac630
Benton621
Jefferson590
Osceola590
Jones560
Harrison530
Humboldt531
Lee532
Butler522
Iowa510
Buchanan501
Monroe506
Hancock490
Calhoun482
Delaware481
Madison422
Lyon410
Clayton403
Davis391
Fayette370
Mitchell370
Winneshiek370
Mills360
Palo Alto360
Grundy350
Kossuth330
Lucas304
Greene290
Howard290
Chickasaw280
Jackson270
Union270
Winnebago270
Ida230
Cass210
Appanoose203
Keokuk201
Page200
Van Buren190
Worth170
Audubon161
Adair150
Ringgold150
Decatur110
Montgomery102
Wayne100
Adams80
Fremont70
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Mason City
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Albert Lea
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 88°
Austin
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 88°
Charles City
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 86°
HOT AND HUMID
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Fans excited for Honkers return

Image

Honkers fall to St. Cloud in home opener

Image

Baseball returns to the Med City

Image

Seans 10pm Weather 7/3

Image

Leaders advocate for the homeless

Image

Fireworks Show During the Pandemic

Image

Pillars of the City Unveiled

Image

A hot day for a bike ride on the Douglas Trail

Image

Sen.Ernst tours homeless shelters, talks challenges

Image

Mask up Roachester Public Service announcement

Community Events