A large island located in the angle between Anatolia to the north, and the Levant to the east, Cyprus has always had an important place in eastern Mediterranean culture. To the early Hellenes, it was the birthplace of Aphrodite - to ancient Semitic peoples it was the land of Kittim. The island as a whole is mountainous and fairly rugged, and the ecosystem is fragile - there are, for example, no running rivers, although dry channels provide torrential runoff during rainfall. Inportant both as a major source of copper, and as a strategic jump-off point to the Near East, the place has seen virtually every conqueror, colonizer, and explorer to have been involved in the Middle East, and it continues to this day to be a source of drama and tension. See the Controversy file for details.
Local Cypriot states
ALASIYA (Enkomi) City in eastern Cyprus, near modern Famagusta. There is evidence that in ancient times Alasiya dominated the entire island. It was a prosperous port, protected by massive stone walls, and the rich lived in houses of hewn stone.