In 2014 and 2015 I was privileged to be able to walk through the buffer zone in central Nicosia with a UN guide.
It is tempting to think that you are walking through a kind of bizarre theme park where 'whacky' soldiers did 'zany' things to each other.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth..........the walk is actually through an open wound which is a symbol and reminder of death, destruction, despair and displacement.
In recent years, all parties (Greek, Turkish & UN) have reduced the number of troops manning the buffer zone area. A large number of bunkers, gun positions and sentry posts are now empty. However, at the height of tensions, this was a highly militarised area......some reports claim it was the most densely manned zone in the world.
When all the postions were occupied this must have been a very tense and scary place to be.
The author and his wife with Padre John Duncan who was serving with the UN and based at the Ledra Palace Hotel
Each guide seems to favour certain locations and the descriptions vary a little with each telling. However, what follows is a composite of my two visits with some of the less serious stories included.
I didn't take notes and always assumed I would remember the details exactly.....however, this wasn't the case!
If you know some of the stories are inaccurate then I would be pleased to hear from you.
The photographs are by the author and courtesy of David Pentecost, Geoff Cosson, May Brooke and Marion Campey.
Clicking on the majority of photographs will load a larger image (in a new window).