Contrary to how most people travel into Turkey, i.e. entry through Turkey’s commercial hub, Istanbul, then travel from north to south; we did just the opposite. After resting for 3 days in Cyprus, we booked a taxi to drive us to the border at Nicosia (or known as Lefkosia) aka world’s last divided capital. Before going to Cyprus we already heard all sorts of horror stories about how tourists/foreigners were detained/deported because of crossing the border; so we were pretty anxious when we decided to fly into Turkey via Ercan airport in North Cyprus (which belongs to Turkey). And for your information, if you ever decide to fly into Turkey via Antalya (like me) choose Pegasus Airline (Turkish airline) as it is the cheapest flight available, costing us around 30£ per person!
|No Man’s Land. A divided capital is what’s left in the aftermath of the war-torn country :(|
|Banner put up by peace activists|
The infamous border (the Green Line) which separates southern part of the city where the Republic of Cyprus rules and the other side of the capital which belongs to the Turkish Republic of Cyprus; ironically both states proclaim the city as their respective capital! Ledra Street is where the taxi driver dropped us as that is the furthest he could bring us to. I had the impression that the Green Line would be a war-torn, run-down place surrounded by tall gates and barbed wires. Boy was I soo wrong! The place was nothing like what I had imagined previously; sure, there was a UN peacekeeping unit (which was closed), a small stretch of road known as the buffer zone where peace activists pulled up banners and signs, and finally comes the immigration control hut of the TRC. Since the TRC is still not recognised as an independent country by the UN and most parts of the world, except Turkey, you will have the option of choosing either to have the immigration stamp on your passport or on a immigration form where you need to fill up your basic details. I opted for the latter. Few minutes later, we were officially on the other side of Cyprus without any problems! We then quickly proceeded to the Ercan airport where we were the only Asians there and of course on the flight as well!
We couldn’t care less about it as we are about to embark on our journey to Turkey; the only country which spans across the European and the Asian continents!