Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

World's barrier: Cyprus

Buffer zone in Nicosia, Cyprus
The buffer zone between the two sides of Cyprus is still controlled by the UN

On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC Mundo looks at barriers which are still standing - or have gone up since - around the world.


Intercommunal violence between Turkish and Greek Cypriots in the early 1960s led to UN intervention and the drawing of a ceasefire line.

Turkish forces invaded and occupied the northern part of the island in 1974 in response to a coup by Greek Cypriots backed by Greece. What was known as the green line became a completely impassable barrier.

Barbed wire extends 180km (111 miles) from Kokkina in the north-west, to Famagusta in the south-west of the island.

The exclusion zone between both communities remains under the control of UN peacekeepers.

This "no-man's land" varies in width from 3m in the centre of the capital city Nicosia, to 7.5km at the village of Athienou.

In 2003, the border was finally reopened. Both communities can now cross over to the other side after almost three decades of separation.

Correction 23 November 2009: This story has been amended to make clear that a ceasefire line was introduced in the 1960s, rather than a physical barrier.

Print Sponsor


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific