There is an island called Santorini. On the island of Santorini lays an ancient city called Akrotiri. Akrotiri was once home to the Minoan civilization. Today it is home to a large archeological site to unearth the city and find its wonders.
The Sovereign Base Areas were created in 1960 by the Treaty of Establishment, when Cyprus achieved independence from the British Empire. The United Kingdom desired to retain sovereignty over these areas, as this guaranteed the use of UK military bases in Cyprus, including RAF Akrotiri, and a garrison of the British Army. The importance of the bases to the British is based on the strategic location of Cyprus, at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, close to the Suez Canal and the Middle East; the ability to use the RAF base as staging post for military aircraft; and for general training purposes.
In 1974, following a military coup by the Greek-Cypriot National Guard attempting to achieve enosis (union with Greece), Turkey invaded the north of Cyprus, leading to the establishment of the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. However, this did not affect the status of the bases. Greek Cypriots fleeing from the Turks were permitted to travel through the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area, and were given humanitarian aid, with those from Achna setting up a new village (Dasaki Achnas or Achna Forest) which is still in the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area.The Turkish advance halted when it reached the edge of the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area to avoid military conflict with the United Kingdom. In the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area a tented refugee camp was set up at "Happy Valley" (part of the Episkopi Cantonment) to house Turkish Cypriots fleeing from Limassol and the villages surrounding the Area, until in 1975 they were flown out of RAF Akrotiri via Turkey to northern Cyprus. Some Greek Cypriot refugees remain housed on land in the parts of Trachoni and Kolossi villages that fall within the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area.
Akrotiri and Dhekelia cover 3% of the land area of Cyprus, a total of 254 km2 (98 sq mi) (123 km² (47.5) at Akrotiri and 131 km2 (51 sq mi) (50.5) at Dhekelia). Sixty percent of the land is privately owned, either by British or Cypriot citizens. The other 40% is owned by the Ministry of Defence, or is classed as Crown land. In addition to Akrotiri and Dhekelia themselves, the Treaty of Establishment also provides for the continued use by the British Government of certain facilities within Cyprus, known as Retained Sites.
Akrotiri is located in the south of the island, near the city of Limassol (or Lemesos). Dhekelia is in the southeast, near Larnaca. Both of these areas include military bases, as well as farmland and some residential land. Akrotiri is surrounded by territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus, but Dhekelia also borders on the United Nations (UN) buffer zone and the area controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Ayia Napa lies to the East of Dhekelia. The villages of Xylotymbou and Ormidhia, also in the Republic of Cyprus, are enclaves surrounded by Dhekelia SBA. The Dhekelia Power Station, divided by a British road into two parts, also belongs to Cyprus. The northern part is an enclave, like the two villages, whereas the southern part is located by the sea, and therefore not an enclave, though it has no territorial waters of its own.
There are no economic statistics gathered for Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The main economic activities are the provision of services to the military, as well as limited agriculture. On 1 January 2008 Akrotiri and Dhekelia adopted the euro along with the rest of Southern Cyprus, despite not being part of the European Union. The Sovereign Base Areas are the only areas under British sovereignty to use the euro.