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Frozen In Time: The Cyprus Buffer Zone

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This year marks four decades since the Cyprus National Guard staged a coup that led to Turkish military intervention and escalated the civil war between the Greek and Turkish communities on the island. After the ceasefire, a heavily restricted buffer zone, controlled by the United Nations, was established between the north and south. It stretches 180 km (112 mi) across the whole island measuring 7.4 km (4.6 mi) at its widest and 3.3 m (11 ft) at its narrowest point. The demilitarized zone is restricted to the general public and no Greek or Turkish Cypriots are allowed inside. Reuters photographer Neil Hall recently visited the buffer zone, which still contains crumbling relics of times gone by - abandoned houses, businesses, and even an airport - crumbling snapshots of Cyprus in 1974. [28 photos]

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The abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia, Cyprus, on March 10, 2014. For 40 years now, a buffer zone - a no-man's land controlled by the United Nations - has split Cyprus from east to west, with Cyprus's ethnic Greeks living in the south, and its Turks in the north. The buffer zone still contains crumbling relics of times gone by - abandoned houses, businesses and even an airport. In 1960, a power-sharing government crumbled soon after independence from Britain, and the island has been divided since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish invasion of the north in 1974. (Reuters/Neil Hall)
The abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia, Cyprus, on March 10, 2014. For 40 years now, a buffer zone - a no-man's land controlled by the United Nations - has split Cyprus from east to west, with Cyprus's ethnic Greeks living in the south, and its Turks in the north. The buffer zone still contains crumbling relics of times gone by - abandoned houses, businesses and even an airport. In 1960, a power-sharing government crumbled soon after independence from Britain, and the island has been divided since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish invasion of the north in 1974. (Reuters/Neil Hall)
A Cyprus Airways passenger jet stands in the abandoned Nicosia International Airport near Nicosia, on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Windows of an abandoned Cyprus Airways passenger jet in the empty Nicosia International Airport on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A cafe sign in the abandoned Nicosia International Airport, on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Deteriorating billboards line the walls of the abandoned Nicosia International Airport on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Nicosia International Airport's passenger departure area, photographed on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A pigeon flies past a crumbling billboard at the abandoned Nicosia International Airport on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Decorations on a wall of the Nicosia International Airport, on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A watchtower stands along the United Nations buffer zone in the district of Famagusta, northern Cyprus, on March 14, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A street lies abandoned in the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A sign marks the boundary of the United Nations buffer zone in the village of Pyla, Cyprus, on March 11, 2014. Pyla is one of a few villages in the UN buffer zone, and it is home to a mixed community of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
The kitchen of an abandoned cafe inside the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Old televisions found and collected by soldiers in an abandoned commercial area in the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A former commercial street inside the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Objects found and collected by soldiers in an abandoned commercial area in the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Bottles on a table in an abandoned cafe inside the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
An abandoned house with bullet-holes, defensive sand bags and firing positions, seen behind barbed wire inside the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Cars sit abandoned in a former shopping center inside the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. The cars were imported from Japan to be sold at a Toyota dealership. They were stored here during the 1974 conflict and have not been moved since. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
An import sticker on the window of a car left in the UN buffer zone in Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Cars from 1974 sit abandoned in an underground garage in UN buffer zone in Nicosia on March 12, 2014. Some of the cars, idle for four decades, have only 32 miles (52 km) on the odometer. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A warning sign on a wall marking the boundary of the UN buffer zone in the Turkish Cypriot area of central Nicosia on March 13, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
People sit next to a wall blocking access to the UN buffer zone in the Greek Cypriot-controlled area of central Nicosia on March 14, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
An illuminated flag of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey, overlooks Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Travelers pass through passport control to enter northern Cyprus in central Nicosia on March 13, 2014. Across the island of Cyprus there are six border crossings allowing movement between the north and the south of the island. There are passport controls on the borders, although the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not officially recognized by the UN Security Council. People cross the borders for both work and leisure and both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can move freely. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A man fishes in the sea next to a sign marking the limit of the UN buffer zone in the Famagusta District of Cyprus on March 11, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A cat sits on barrels that block entry into a street which now falls within the UN buffer zone in central Nicosia on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
A view of the divided city of Nicosia, encompassing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot-controlled areas and the UN buffer zone, photographed on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #
Children play in a park next to a fence marking the UN buffer zone in a partially restricted area in the Turkish Cypriot controlled area of central Nicosia on March 15, 2014. (Reuters/Neil Hall) #

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