Name: Cyprus (Greek: Κύπρος, Kýpros;Turkish: Kıbrıs), officially the Republic of Cyprus

’Cyprus’ has an uncertain etymology. Some suggest it comes from Cupressus sempervirens - Greek for the Mediterranean cypress tree. Others feel it stems from aes Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.

The island of Cyprus is situated in the eastern Mediterranean, south of Turkey, west of the Levant, north of Egypt and east of Greece. It is the third-largest Mediterranean island (after Sicily and Sardinia) and a popular tourist destination. Every year almost 2,5 million tourists spend their holiday on Cyprus.



Cyprus measures 240 kilometres latitudinal and 100 km longitudinally.

The central plain called Mesaoria, is bordered by the Kyrenia and Pentadactylos mountains to the north and the Troödos mountain range to the south and west. The island’s highest point is at the summit of Mount Olympus. It is 1,952 meters above the sea level, in the heart of the Troödos range.

Geopolitically, the island is subdivided into four main segments. The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern two-thirds of the island. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus occupies the northern third of the island. The United Nations-controlled Green Line is a buffer zone that separates the two. Lastly, two bases under British sovereignty are located on the island: Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

The total area of Cyprus is 9,251 km².

The capital city and also the largest city is Nicosia - Lefkosia, Lefkosa (186 000 of population). Other main cities are Limassol (143 000), Larnaka (64,000), Paphos (40,000), Famagusta and Kyrenia.

Cyprus counts 788,457 inhabitants.

Since January 2008, the official currency is the Euro.

Greek and Turkish are the official languages.

Economic affairs in Cyprus are dominated by the division of the country into the southern area controlled by the Cyprus Government and the northern Turkish Cypriot-administered area.

The Turkish Cypriot economy has about one-third per capita of the south. Because it is recognized only by Turkey it has had difficulty arranging foreign financing; foreign firms have hesitated to invest. The economy heavily depended on agriculture. To compensate for this weakness Turkey provides direct and indirect aid to nearly every sector. In January 1997 Turkey signed a $250 million economic cooperation agreement with the Turkish Cypriot area to support tourism, education and industry.

The area of the Republic of Cyprus under government control has a market economy dominated by the service sector, which accounts for 78% of GDP. Tourism, financial services, and real estate are the most important sectors. The economy in the area under government control grew by an average of 3.6% per year during the period of 2000-06, well above the EU average.

Economic summary

The Gross Domestic product counts 21,3 billions USD (2007 est.) and the real growth rate is 4,4%.

GDP per capita counts 46,900 USD (2007)

Nowadays unemployment rate is 3,9%.

Inflation rate is 2,2%.

Exports counts 1,489 billion USD (2007 est.) and the main exports commodities are citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals and clothing. Exports partners of Cyprus are United Kingdom (15,1%), Greece (14,2%), France (7%) and Germany (4,9%).

Imports counts 7,786 billion USD (2007 est.) and the main imports commodities are consumer goods, petroleum, intermediate goods, machinery and transport equipment. The main imports partners are Greece (17,6%), Italy (11,4%), Germany (9%), United Kingdom (8,9%), Israel (6,2%), France (4,3%) and China (4,2%).

Although a small country, Cyprus has an amazing cultural heritage. History in Cyprus dates as far back as 7000 BC. In this time the settlements along the north and south coasts of the island started.

Around 1400 BC, the first Greeks came to the island. They started the Hellenisation of the island.




By 1050 BC Cyprus is considered to be a Greek island, with the language, culture and religion of Greece well established. Cyprus had ten city-kingdoms and by 800 BC it was a flourishing and prosperous country.

Since 750 BC Cyprus has been conquered several times by Assyria, Egypt and Persia. In 333 BC Alexander the Great claimed Cyprus as part of his empire. Cyprus continued to be part of the Hellenist Empire until 58 BC.

In 58 BC Cyprus became part of the Roman Empire.

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After the division of the Roman Empire Cyprus became part of Byzantium, with Constantinople as its capital.

From 1191 AD Cyprus was defeated by the crusader Richard the Lionheart.

From 1192 to 1489 Cyprus ruled under a feudal system and Catholicism became the official religion.

In1489 control of the island passes to the Venetians who took steps to fortify the island and build walls around the towns of Nicosia and Famagusta.

In1571 Ottoman trooped invades the island and Cyprus became part of the Ottoman Empire. Islam was introduced to the island and Catholicism was expelled. The Greek Orthodox religion was restored.

In 1878, under the Cyprus Convention, Britain assumed administration of the island although it remained part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1914 however, when the Ottomans entered the 1st World War on the side of the Germans, Britain annexed the island. In 1923 Turkey relinquishes all rights to Cyprus and in 1925 Cyprus was declared a Crown colony.

An armed struggle breaks out in 1955 against colonial rule, which lasts until 1960 when to the island was granted independence.

Cyprus is divided into six districts, whose capitals share the same name:

  • Famagusta
  • Kyrenia
  • Larnaca
  • Limassol
  • Nicosia
  • Paphos

The districts are divides into municipalities.

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As a result of the division of the island I have already mentioned, the official administrative division into 6 districts is merely formal: the Greek area includes the districts of Limassol, Paphos and all but small parts of Nicosia and Larnaca; the Turkish area includes Kyrenia and most of Famagusta.

Cyprus is an independent sovereign republic with a presidential system of government. The structure of Government is similar to other western democracies where human rights, political pluralism and private property are safeguarded. Cyprus has a multi-party system, with three or four strong parties who generally dominate the political landscape.

The head of state is the President of the Republic (Mr. Demetris Christofias from Progressive Party of Working People) who is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office.

Last national elections: 2006

Last national elections: 2006

Last European Parliament election June 2009


The Council of Ministers, which is appointed by the President, is the executive organ of the Republic. Legislative power lies with the House of Representatives whose members hold office for a period of five years

Main political parties

  • Movement for Social Democracy United Democratic Union of Centre
  • Progressive Party of Working People
  • Democratic Party
  • European Party
  • United Democrats
  • Ecological and Environmental Movement

Cyprus is a divided island. Since 1974, the legal government (The Republic of Cyprus) has controlled the south two thirds, and the separatist Turkish Cypriot authorities the northern one-third. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has continued as the sole internationally-recognized authority on the island, though in practice its power extends only to the government controlled area.

Cyprus is a member of the United Nations, and its specialized agencies, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth. 1st May 2004 Cyprus joined the European Union together with other ten countries. Cyprus is represented through full diplomatic missions in 29 countries, 9 major international organizations and several consulates general around the world.

Famous composers

  • Dr. Stylianos Atteshlis - Στυλιανός Αττεσλής, known as Daskalos) (1912-1995) was born on December 12, 1912 in Cyprus where he spent most of his life. Kyriacos Markides wrote three books about him: The Magus of Strovolos, Homage to the Sun, and Fire in the Heart. In these books, Stylianos Atteshlis was given the alias Spyros Sathi.
  • Nicolas Economou (August 11, 1953 - December 29, 1993) was a Cypriot composer born in Nicosia. His parents, who love classical music, decided to expose him to music as a creative outlet rather than a career. At the age of five, he started taking piano lessons and very soon he revealed his extraordinary talent by improvising on the piano and composing short pieces of music. He studied Special School of Music of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, a preparatory school for youngsters to enter the Conservatory. In December of that year, in Athens, he won the "Keti Papaioannou" Panhellenic Competition for young musicians up to the age of seventeen. Some of his compositions are: "Children Studies", "Sonata for Chick","Cyprus Pictures" and "Cyprus Dances". As a conductor he directed the distinguished Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, Germany’s Youth Orchestra and the La Fenice Opera Orchestra of Venice.
  • Alkinoos Ioannidis (Greek: Αλκίνοος Ιωαννίδης) is a Cypriot composer born in Nicosia on 19 September 1969.He first wanted to study drums. Then he started to study playing guitar. At the age of 23 he recorded his first album called Stin Agora Tou Kosmou. He is one of the author of the album : called Opos Mistika Kai Isicha .At least, in April 2006, he released an album of Cypriot folk songs titled Pou Disin Os Anatolin (Greek:Πού Δύσην Ώς Άνατολήν, From West to East) with his long time violinist Miltiadis Papastamou.

Cyprus as whole is comprised of many different religion. But we can say that there are two main religions – Cypriot Orthodox Church – using the Greek liturgy (78%) in the southern part and Muslims and thus followers of Islam (18%) in the north part of the island. The rest (4 %) are the smaller religious groups of the Anglicans, Roman and Latin Christians, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Evangelic, Jews and others.


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Greek Orthodox Church has been main Cyprus religion from 1. Century. It still plays an important role in society. Family values are alive in Cyprus. However, church attendance is less frequent in cities. For much of the population, religion focuses on rituals at home, veneration of icons, and observance of certain feast days of the orthodox calendar. The majority of Turkish Cypriots are Muslims. They are obliged to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening.

Cyprus boasts a rich history and a varied culture. Ten byzantine churches, cities Kato Pafos and Choirokoitia are on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Everywhere in Cyprus are very strong traditions. Almost every day has some celebration, such as a saint day.


Panigiri is traditional outdoors celebration held on the occasion of a saint’s name day. These celebrations are very popular among tourists.


Easter, a major day in the Greek Orthodox Church, is celebrated with respect, joy and hope. Carnival is of the most famous celebration in Cyprus as well as "Anthestiria" - Summer flower festival and Whitsun feast. During the year there held annually concert, theatre and folk festivals.

Other feast

1.1.New year

6.1. Epiphany Day

Every year different day – Green Monday (50 days before Easter)

25.3. Greek national day

1.4. Greek-Cyprus national day

Every year different day – Big Friday

Every year different day – Easter Monday

1.5. Labor Day

Every year different day – Pentecost Kataklysmos (Festival of the Flood)

15.8. Assumption Day

1.10 Independence Day

28.10 Greek national Day (Ochi Day)

24.12. Christmas Eve

25.12. Boxing Day


The high standard of education is shown by the many schools and colleges existing all over the island. In Limassol there is more than ten private elementary and high schools - most of them English or Russian speaking


Cypriots hospitality is so legendary. Affected from a mixture of nations, Cypriots are open and welcoming to all people. More than just a friendly smile, that really impresses upon visitors every time they come to Cyprus, no matter what their race or creed. In shops, cafes, taverns and bars the atmosphere is very relaxed and easygoing. Cyprus people will always are trying to make you feel at home and they will do their utmost to help you no matter what the situation is happened. Buying your property in Cyprus brings with it the joy of living amongst some of the friendliest people on the earth!

Dress Etiquette

Business dress is similar to most European conventions. Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits. Women should wear a conservative dress or business suit.

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited to a Cypriot’s house: 1) Shake hands with everyone when arriving and leaving the house. 2)  Dress casually but well. 3) Offer to help your host with the preparation or clearing up after a meal 4) Complement the house.

Gift etiquette

Gift giving is not an elaborate event.  If invited to a Cypriot’s house, bring a digestible gift such as pastry. (sweet pastries). Do not give white lilies; these are used at funerals.


Shake hands, smile, and maintain eye contact during your introduction to Cypriots. Many Turkish Cypriots lower their eyes during the greeting as a sign of respect. Very religious Muslims do not shake hands with women. One should wait to be invited before using someone’s first name. At small social gatherings, your hosts will introduce you to the other guests. Say goodbye to each person individually when leaving.

Cyprus is one of the most beautiful islands in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea situated south of Turkey, west of the Levant, north of Egypt, and east southeast of Greece. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily and Sardinia), with an area of 9.251 square kms (roughly 3.570 miles). A full member of the European Union since year 2004, Cyprus’ infrastructure is of a high standard with excellent utility, medical, vehicular roads and telecommunications services. Commuting is made easy by the two airports in Cyprus -Larnaca International Airport and Pafos International Airport. Cyprus established itself as a international business centre because of his strong financial system. Cyprus has 9.000 years of legend and history. It is a land of beauty and vivid contrasts; from pine-clad mountains to sunny beaches and small villages to cosmopolitan towns. Its beautiful scenery and enviable climate, along with European culture and ancient enchantment beckon many to its shores. Cyprus has been at the crossroads between Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa , with lengthy periods of mainly Greek and intermittent Anatolian, Levantine and British influences. Though these influences may cause some to consider Cyprus as a transcontinental island, such a term is properly applied only to nations whose boundaries straddle more than one continent e.g. Turkey, Russia and Egypt. The major cities in Cyprus are the capital Nicosia (Lefkosia in Greek, Lefko?a in Turkish), Limassol (Lemesos in Greek), Larnaca, Paphos, Famagusta (Gazima?usa or Ma?usa in Turkish, Ammochostos in Greek), and Kyrenia (Girne in Turkish, Kerynia in Greek).

Cyprus is part of the Mediterranean climate zone, and so benefits from short mild winters and long dry a warm summers. The island is famed for its sunshine and its long swimming season. In the Troodos Mountains, the temperature regularly falls below freezing near the mountaintops.


Limassol is the largest seaside report and important centre of Cyprus, about 70 km from Larnaca. It is the island’s second largest city with a population of 135.000 and largest seaside resort spreading ten miles along the south coast. Acting as a magnificent backdrop to the city are the Troodos mountains, in whose fertile foothills most of the country’s grapes are grown making Limassol the centre of the island’s wine-making industry. The town’s carefree holiday atmosphere, seafront promenade and bustling streets, is matched by the friendly and lively character of its people. It offers the full gamut of shopping from impressive international boutiques to traditional handcraft centres. The city is renowned for its long cultural tradition and hosts a wide spectrum of activities. A fort was constructed in the 14th century, replacing a Byzantine castle.


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Larnaca is the biggest city of the eastern part of Cyprus. Larnaca is famous for its history. Its Neolithic archaeology stands out in the eastern Mediterranean. In the surrounding of the centre you can find a lot of beautiful mountain villages, old-time churches and original developments. Larnaca also attracts tourists due to its lovely sandy beaches, limpid sea and charming vegetation.


This tourist resort is situated on the southwest part of island and it is famous for its archaeological finds from 3.-5. Century. Paphos is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. In the harbour is a dominating stronghold (formerly part of castle system), where Richard the Lionheart stayed. Interesting are the tombs of Kings in Kato Pafos. The city’s climate favours banana cultivation. Nearby is a Petra tou Romiou beach where Aphrodite is said to have been born from the waves.

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A one time Famagusta was one of the richest cities in the world. The town lies on a destitute peninsula; there are beautiful 16th century temples.


This northern coast town is renowned for it natural beauty. One finds the ruin of the 10th century Sant Hillarion castle, and the ruin of Buffavento stronghold.


Agia Napa is the favourite seaside resort with amazing sandy beaches (where is a possibility to try a lot of water sports), full of restaurants, disco clubs, typical taverns with local kitchen and shops. Airport in Larnaca is not so far away (about 40 km).

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Cyprus’ sea water ranks among the cleanest and hottest waters in the Mediterranean. Many local beaches have been awarded. Probably, the most beautiful beaches are those in Agia Napa and Protaras. Even the hotel beaches are public.


The crime rate in the Cyprus is low in comparison with other Mediterranean countries. Cyprus crime rate is only one tenth of the average rate of the other European countries. You will find that people rarely lock their cars, often, doors and windows are left open. The local population is friendly and honest, offering a feeling of security to the visitor.


Cypriots are said to regard food as their hobby. Eating out is part of their entertainment. Restaurants offer a variety of tastes from international cuisine including Japanese, Russian, Mexican. The local taverns offer Greek meze dishes and local live music.

Tourism dominates Cyprus’ economy.

In 2006 around 2.400.000 people visited Cyprus – most of them from the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Russia and Sweden.

Some guiding web pages on tourism: Cyprus Vacations