After crossing Ledra Street, both sets of gates are locked and our small group returns once more to 1974
The UN named 'Magic Mansion' was formally a small commercial centre.......shops and offices
Signs for a hunting shop inside the entrance to 'Magic Mansion' and never to be sold slippers
An empty coffee shop, old newspapers and a selection of shirts and collars that were once on sale
Over the years, UN soldiers collected items from the abandoned stores and made displays of the products
The roof of the shopping centre overlooks several sensitive locations and you are requested not to take any further photographs
A typical National Guard post and the 'map of Cyprus'
After an accidental spill of white paint, the Greek soldiers noticed that the shape of the spill resembled the map of Cyprus. Over a period of time, the map was enlarged and modified until the Turkish army complained to the UN. It was agreed that the map could stay but that a blue line would be painted around the perimeter to indicate the flag's maximum size. The map can be seen from one corner of the commercial centre's roof.
The entrance to an underground car storage basement (on the LHS) is guarded by a now deserted Turkish position
This basement is full of new cars with their 'speedos' showing just over 41 miles
An overview of the basement and one of the shipping notices
A small number of cars were removed from the basement by the UN and are better preserved
In mid-1974, these cars were imported through the port at Famagusta and driven to the basement in Nicosia, a distance of around 40 miles.
The drive-in entrance to the basement is in the Buffer Zone but the back windows of the basement can, with some risk, be accessed from the Greek side of the zone. Over the years the cars have been stripped of their internal fittings and smaller engine parts and, although technically 'new' can no longer be described as being in 'mint condition'.
Maple House was a Platoon House for UN troops
Maple House has been described by its occupants, using fairly 'descriptive language' as not a particularly luxurious base . It has been abandoned now for a number of years as part of the general force reduction.
A group of UN escorted visitors cross the "ten minute yard"
This was a sensitive location and there were a number of protests about the amount of time Turkish sentries spent in the area of this yard. It was agreed with the UN that Turkish soldiers would only be visible in the yard for ten minutes in each hour. However, to 'make a point' the Turkish soldiers would appear at 10 minutes 'to' the hour and then continue to stay for 10 minutes of the next hour.....thereby visible in the yard for 20 minutes. This was obviously seen as an important gesture of defiance.
The 'yellow car' and the disputed Cease Fire Line
At the very end of the fighting in 1974 this car was destroyed and both sides dispute the exact position of the Cease Fire Line. The Turks believe that the line should be drawn at the southernmost part of the car and the Greeks believe it should be at the northernmost point of the car. This dispute was only settled by the UN painting two lines; one at the northern end of the car and other at the southern end thereby creating a 'Buffer Zone' within the Buffer Zone.
This final example is useful to indicate the sophistical, captious nature of both sides.
At the end of our tour we left via "Footballer's Gate" and had the pleasure of being driven back to the Ledra Palace in an air-conditioned vehicle
For a series of short video clips, a few additional images and recommendations of other websites.......please click this link