Centred on the Akrotiri Peninsula, the Western Sovereign Base Area is a straightforward exclave containing the southernmost point of the Cyprus. It tapers out westward including most of the coast along Episkopi Bay. The agglomeration of Asomatous to remain within Cyprus proper is one of the salient intruding factors on the WSBA. Akrotiri lies between the geographic coordinates 34°37’N and 32°58’E and is about 0.7 times the size of Washington, DC. With an area of about 123 sq. km, Akrotiri has a larger town of Trachoni within its borders which is just to the north of it.
The completion of the Suez Canal in 1869 by the French took roots for Britain to establish the island of Cyprus. The construction of Suez Canal provided Britain with much shorter sea route to India and hence, it took up this opportunity of expanding its port to Cyprus, which was like Gibraltar and Malta, a link in the chain of communication with India through the Mediterranean. In 1960, UK took complete control over two areas of almost 254 sq. km – Akrotiri and Dhekelia. This was as per the terms of 1960 treaty of Establishment that created the independent Republic of Cyprus. However, now a British Overseas Territory, Akrotiri is the southernmost and smallest sovereign Base Area, which is also referred as Western Sovereign Base Area.
Stretching a coastline of about 56.3 km, Akrotiri enjoys temperate, Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and comparatively cool winters. The island has a number of wells and salt lakes. Hence, there has been hunting activities around these salt lakes. Also, there are extraterritorial rights of the British that are extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus. Out of the total land of the Sovereign Base Area, about 60% of it is privately owned and farmed, about 20% by the Ministry of Defence and the remaining 20% is SBA Crown Land. One may find breeding place for loggerhead and green turtles and only colony of griffon vultures is on the base.
Population of this country is limited to the military people and their families, which might be around 15,700 living at the Sovereign Base Areas, Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Of these 7,700 are Cypriots and 3,600 Service and UK based contract personnel and about 4,400 are their dependents. People here speak either English or Greek. Comparatively, the country ranks 223 in the world.
With an exchange currency of Euro, economic activities are confined to providing services of food and manufactured good that is required to support the military and their families is imported from UK.