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Cyprus Geography

About Cyprus
Cyprus Currency

The geography of Cyprus entails the physical and human geography of Cyprus, an island country situated in the Eastern Basin of the Mediterranean Sea. The third largest island in the Mediterranean (after the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia) and the world's 81st largest, it is located south of the Anatolian peninsula (Asia Minor), or modern-day Turkey, of the Asian (or Eurasian) mainland. As such, it may be included in Western Asia or the Middle East: at a confluence of Western Asia, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa, Cyprus has had lengthy periods of mainly Greek and intermittent Anatolian, Levantine, Byzantine, and British influences. A member of the European Union since 1 May 2004, it is sometimes included in Europe.

Cyprus measures 240 kilometres latitudinally and 100 km longitudinally, with Turkey 75 km to the north. Other neighbouring territories include Syria and Lebanon to the east (105 km and 108 km, respectively), Israel 200 km to the southeast, Egypt 380 km to the south, and Greece to the west-northwest: 280 km to the small Dodecanesian island of Kastellórizo (Meyísti), 400 km to Rhodes, and 800 km to the Greek mainland.

The physical setting for life on the island is dominated by the mountain masses and the central plain they encompass, the Mesaoria. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western portions of the island and account for roughly half its area. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies substantially less area, and elevations are lower. The two mountain systems run generally parallel to the Taurus Mountains on the Turkish mainland, whose silhouette is visible from northern Cyprus. Coastal lowlands, varying in width, surround the island.

Geopolitically, the island is subdivided into four main segments. The Republic of Cyprus, the internationally recognized government, occupies the southern two-thirds of the island. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus occupies the northern third of the island and is recognised only by Turkey. The United Nations-controlled Green Line is a buffer zone that separates the two. Lastly, two bases under British sovereignty are located on the island: Akrotiri and Dhekelia.