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Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Photos of Akrotiri and Dhekelia

The Sovereign Base Area of Akrotiri juts into the Mediterranean Sea in this astronaut photo from 2003. The salt lake appears green in this image; the gray area further north is the Cypriot city of Limassol. Image courtesy of NASA.



By terms of the 1960 Treaty of Establishment that created the independent Republic of Cyprus, the United Kingdom retained full sovereignty and jurisdiction over two areas of almost 254 square kilometers - Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The southernmost and smaller of the two is Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area, which is also referred to as the Western Sovereign Base Area.  The larger area is the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area, which is also referred to as the Eastern Sovereign Base Area. (2024)

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Eastern Mediterranean; Akrotiri is on a peninsula on the southwest coast of Cyprus; Dhekelia is on the southwest coast of Cyprus near Famagusta

Geographic coordinates

Akrotiri: 34 37 N, 32 58 E
Dhekelia: 34 59 N, 33 45 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 254 sq km

Akrotiri:  123 sq km, includes salt and wetlands
Dhekelia: 131 sq km, area surrounds three Cypriot enclaves

comparison ranking: total 213

Area - comparative

Akrotiri:  about 0.7 times the size of Washington, DC
Dhekelia:  about three-quarters the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

border countries: Akrotiri: Cyprus 48 km
Dhekelia: Cyprus 108 km


Akrotiri: 56.3 km
Dhekelia: 27.5 km


temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters

Geography - note

British extraterritorial rights also extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus; of the Sovereign Base Area land, 60% is privately owned and farmed, 20% is owned by the UK Ministry of Defense, and 20% is SBA Crown land

People and Society


approximately 18,195 on the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia including 11,000 Cypriots and 7,195 Service and UK-based contract personnel and dependents (2020)


English, Greek

major-language sample(s):
Το Παγκόσμιο Βιβλίο Δεδομένων, η απαραίτητη πηγή βασικών πληροφοριών. (Greek)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Greek audio sample:


Environment - current issues

Akrotiri: hunting around the salt lake; note - breeding place for loggerhead and green turtles; only remaining colony of griffon vultures is on the base

Dhekelia: netting and trapping of small migrant songbirds in the spring and autumn


temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Akrotiri and Dhekelia

etymology: Akrotiri: named for the village that lies within the Western Sovereign Base Area of Cyprus

Dependency status

both are a special form of UK overseas territory; administered by an administrator who is also the Commander, British Forces Cyprus


name: Episkopi Cantonment in Akrotiri (base administrative center for Akrotiri and Dhekelia)

geographic coordinates: 34 40 N, 32 51 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: + 1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: "Episkopi" means "episcopal" in Greek and stems from the fact that the site previously served as the bishop's seat of an Orthodox diocese


history: presented 3 August 1960, effective 16 August 1960 (The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Order in Council 1960 serves as a basic legal document)

amendments: amended 1966

Legal system

Laws applicable to the Cypriot population are, as far as possible, the same as the laws of the Republic of Cyprus (ROC); however, the SBA Administration has its own court system to deal with civil and criminal matters, its own police force responsible for civil law enforcement, and a Cyprus Joint Police Unit responsible for military law enforcement; SBA Police coordinate closely with ROC police and UN Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP); the SBA Police force is composed almost entirely of Greek Cypriots in ROC regions of the SBAs, and Turkish Cypriot officers in the small portion of Dhekelia administered by the Turkish Cypriots

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022)

head of government: Administrator Air Vice-Marshall Peter J.M. SQUIRES (since 1 September 2022); note - administrator reports to the British Ministry of Defense and is also Commander, British Forces Cyprus (BFC); the chief officer, an appointed civilian, is responsible for the day-to-day running of the civil government of the Sovereign Base Areas

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Senior Judges' Court (consists of several visiting judges from England and Wales)

judge selection and term of office: see entry for the United Kingdom

subordinate courts: Resident Judges' Court; Courts Martial

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description

the flag of the UK is used

National anthem

note: as a UK area of special sovereignty, "God Save the King" is official (see United Kingdom)


Exchange rates

note: uses the euro


Broadcast media

British Forces Service (BFBS) provides multi-channel satellite TV service as well as BFBS radio broadcasts to the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area

Military and Security

Military - note

Akrotiri: defense is the responsibility of the UK; Akrotiri (aka the Western Sovereign Base Area) has a full Royal Air Force base, headquarters for British Forces Cyprus, and the Episkopi Cantonment
Dhekelia: defense is the responsibility of the UK; Dhekelia (aka the Eastern Sovereign Base Area) includes the Dhekelia Garrison and Ayios Nikolaos station connected by a roadway

Transnational Issues