The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an inter-governmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 20 member states. Its headquarters are in Paris, France. ESA has a staff of about 2,000 with an annual budget of about EUR4 billion in 2013.
ESA's spaceport is the Centre Spatial Guyanais (Guyana Space Centre) in Kourou, French Guiana, a site chosen because it is close to the equator from which commercially important orbits are easier to access. During the 1990s ESA gained the position of market leader in commercial space launches and in recent years ESA has established itself as a major player in space exploration.
ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, and the European Astronauts Centre (PACI), that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany.
, known locally as Lefkosia
is the capital
and largest city of Cyprus
. Nicosia is located at 35°10' north, 33°21' east (35.1667, 33.35). Located on the Pedieos
river and situated roughly in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. Nicosia is the center and capital of an administrative district (Nicosia District
), and after the fall of the Berlin Wall
, it is currently the only divided capital city in the world, with the northern (Turkish
) and southern (Greek
) portions divided by the "Green Line
", a demilitarized zone
maintained by the United Nations
. The 1974 Turkish invasion
and occupation of 36 percent of the island's territory literally cut the capital in half. The population of the part of the city under the control of the Republic of Cyprus is 206,200 (end of 2001
Nicosia is a modern, dynamic capital with lots of shops, restaurants and entertainment.The city is a trade center and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Copper mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the University of Cyprus (UCY) and of all the colleges and institutes of Republic of Cyprus.