Friday, 25 July 2008

British Sovereign Base areas in Cyprus - Akrotiri and Dhekelia

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is unusual in that it is divided not two, but three ways. Many people know about the division between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-controlled northern sector of the island, but two significant chunks of Cyprus are still under the control of the British military. These are the British Sovereign Base Areas.
Akrotiri and Dhekelia were kept by Britain when Cyprus became independent in 1960, partly because of their key strategic location near the Middle East.
Neither is particularly a tourist attraction – army types aren’t renowned for their love of visitors looking for sun loungers – but it is possible to drive through these geographical oddities.
Akrotiri, near Limassol, is hardly on anyone’s way to anywhere, but most tourists will end up going through Dhekelia. The Sovereign Base Area lies between the airport at Larnaca and the major tourist areas of Paralimni, Protaras and Agia Napa.
Aside from the odd bit of barbed wire and sinister-looking building, there’s very little to see, but the fishing villages on the eastern outskirts are quite cute.
Interestingly, Dhekelia contains two Cypriot villages – Xylotombou and Ormidhia – that are completely cut off from the rest of the country.

Getting to the British Sovereign Base Areas
Nearest International Airport:
Larnaca (or Larnaka as it is now officially known).
Using public transport: Public buses go through Dhekelia on their way to Paralimni and Agia Napa from Larnaca.

1 comment:

travelrat said...

>>Akrotiri, near Limassol, is hardly on anyone’s way to anywhere,<<

Hey, Dave!

I know Akrotiri's on a peninsula, but you did once have to pass through Episkopi on the way to Paphos, although there is now a new road that I think by-passes the SBA.

I don't have any maps to check on this, but I think the ruins at Curium are well within the Western SBA ... can't remember whether Kolossi Castle was just inside or just outside.