Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kalimera, Cyprus!

End of May 2013. My first time on the island of Cyprus, altough this place is only an hour flight from Tel Aviv. The wave of heat outside, and the  Mediterranean  beaches make me immediately feel at home.

This little island country has lately been in the world news because of financial restrictions imposed on its citizens. Like  other western or semi-western countries, Cyprus has a lot of rich people, but the country's money bag seems to be empty. How so?

Well, the usual triangle of bankers, politicians, Media . This triangle  generates  financial manipulations which lead to corruption,  and ultimately to the country's high debt and the need for austere measures to prevent collapse. Familiar, isn't it?

There are a lot of foreigners here and  they appear to be doing well, especially the brits and the russians. It seems they have found here, most of the distant world  "paradises" : Canada without the fierce cold, USA without the tornadoes and hurricanes, Australia without its 'end of the world'  location.

Cyprus is a member of the European Union, and the old continent of Europe with all its giant problems is still considered by many the heart and brains of the world.

Cyprus is known for its fine lace and handwork,  best olive oil,  exquisite wines. Also for its beautiful songs and talented singers that participate  at the  annual Eurovision contest. 

However,its most famous icon is the late archibishop Makarios who was the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, a great political and religious personality. Major streets were named after  him, statues erected in his memory.

Nicosia, the capital city, is the last divided capital in Europe. It's divided between  turkish cypriots and greek cypriots. The 'border' crossing in Nicosia between the two parts of the city, located at the end of the pedestrian shopping street, Ledra,  looks kind of strange in the eyes of a tourist.  The impressive Monument, though, near the police station on the greek side of the crossing, is  definitely worth a visit to the spot.