Cyprus is the third-largest Mediterranean island and one of the most popular tourist destinations, attracting over 2.4 million tourists per year. A former British colony, it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960 and became a Commonwealth republic in 1961. The Republic of Cyprus is a developed country and has been a member of the European Union since 1 May 2004. It adopted the euro on 1 January 2008.
In 1974, following a period of violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island.
In March 2008, the Republic of Cyprus demolished a wall that for decades had stood in Nicosia
at the boundary between the Greek Cypriot controlled side and the UN buffer zone.