Cyprus is a small island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is neighbored by Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. This small island country has a dramatic and vibrant cultural, political and social history, punctuated by wars, violence, attempts at unification, and ultimately acceptance within the European Union in 2004.
Cyprus is the third most-populous island in the Mediterranean, and a popular tourist destination due to dramatic scenery, astounding archeological remains, and ancient villages. History buffs delight here, as artifacts of human civilization date back to the 10th century.
However, Cyprus' history has not been all idyllic. Due to its strategic location in the Middle East, it has been occupied and fought over by numerous world powers over the last several centuries. A great deal of conflict and bloodshed occurred until 1974, when tension between Greek and Turkish Cypriots came to a head. Ultimately, thousands of Turkish Cypriots were displaced to the northernmost region of the country, and the political dispute continues to this day.