CYPRUS – AS IT ONCE WAS is the ultimate book about the island that «once was» – one undivided country gaining its independence from centuries of being occupied by near enough every power in its vicinity as it lies there exposed in the far eastern corner of the Mediterrenean sea close to Turkey ,Syria and Libanon, as well as Israel and further south Egypt.
Its position is unique along the ancient route to Rome with wheat and precious oils from the Far East westward on the Silk Road and ships to Europe - adding its own costly wares like copper and wine, its rich soil producing citrus fruit and olives – ceramics and lace which became famous throughout the ages !
This island has since mythical times been the victim of warring factions from the Trojan Wars to present days friction between its own divided population and this book is a lingering «window» into those few short years from 1960 till 1964 before troubles broke out and culminated in a devastating war in 1974 which effectively split the island in two .
The United Nations Forces has been present right from the start of the unrest, and is today an important part of keeping law and order on both sides of the «Green Line» - at the same time as negotiations are continuously going on to settle the differences between the two communities and heal the wounds left from years of hostilities.
This book is the memory of that short wonderful time the island lived through and the beginnings of the tourist-industry, which later has taken off in a big way .
Ingrid Birkeland as guide and organizer was responsible for creating the right conditions for expanding this exciting way of life and income for the locals all over the island and this is her personal story as well as the history of those happy, glorious days before disaster put paid to the adventure. It is a fascinating view of how this country tried so hard but sadly failed to acchieve that «paradise»-state which it should have been !
This is a «Biography of a State» – of what it once was and hopefully again could become !
born March 14 1933 in Norway, spent 14 years in Sweden before joining a travel agency in Malmø in 1961, and was «head-hunted» to Cyprus in October 1962 to work as a guide and tourist-organizer for charter-travellers from mainy Sweden and eventually from Finland. She worked exstensivily all over the island and was instrumental in arranging tours to all important sites and gained a wide knowledge of this enchanting islands past and present before returning to Sweden when the troubles started in December 1963.
After a carrier in travel industry in Sweden and England,with a short spell in Norway before again spending nearly 12 years in and around London doing extensive studying of literature and history before finally settling in Norway where she now lives and writes poetry as well as the history of her Danish side of the family.
Ingrid Birkeland is a widow with one son.