Aging grand hotel highlights the ethnic division in Cyprus

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Aging grand hotel highlights the ethnic division in Cyprus
This Sept. 19, 1974, photo provided from the Cyprus' press and informations office shows the Ledra Palace Hotel in the background during the exchange captive soldiers and civilians between Turkish and Cypriots after the 1974 Turkish invasion, in the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus. This grand hotel still manages to hold onto a flicker of its old majesty despite the mortal shell craters and bullet holes scarring its sandstone facade. Amid war in the summer of 1974 that cleaved Cyprus along ethnic lines, United Nations peacekeepers took over the Ledra Palace Hotel and instantly turned it into an emblem of the east Mediterranean island nation's division. (Press and informations Office, via AP)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — With Italian chandeliers still hanging in the lobby, the Ledra Palace Hotel in Cyprus still manages to hold onto a flicker of its old majesty despite the shell craters and bullet holes that scar its sandstone facade.

It’s been 45 years since the pitter-patter of glitterati high-heels on the hotel’s floors was replaced by the thud of soldiers’ combat boots.

During the war in the summer of 1974 that cleaved Cyprus along ethnic lines, United Nations peacekeepers took over the hotel, instantly turning it into an emblem of the east Mediterranean island nation’s division.

Now the United Nations says the aging hotel’s rooms are no longer suitable to house military personnel, but says it will still play a key role in peacekeeping efforts in the buffer zone.