At 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 2, 2021, Ita Airways flight AZ4000, carrying Pope Francis, the papal entourage and accredited journalists, took off for Larnaca International Airport where it landed at 3 p.m. local time. So began the pope’s apostolic journey to Cyprus.
The island marks the border and junction between Europe and the Middle East. Its geographical location has made it, since ancient times, a strategic place of passage for different peoples and civilizations: Hittites, Greeks, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, and then Franks, Venetians, Ottomans and British.
Today the island is divided between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the latter recognized only by Turkey. Nicosia, the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, is the last divided capital on the European continent.