About Cyprus

General Information

Cyprus is the third largest island on the Mediterranean, coming next after Sicily and Sardinia and having an area of 9,251 sq. km.

Cyprus is situated in the north-eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, 75km south of Turkey, 105km west of Syria, 380km north of Egypt and 380km east of Rhodes (Greece).

The population of Cyprus is 837,300 inhabitants (end 2004 figures) of whom 651,100 (77.8%) are Greek Cypriots (including Armenians, Maronites and Latins), 88,100 (10.5%) are Turkish Cypriots and 98,100 (11.7%) foreigners residing in Cyprus.

The History of Cyprus and The Cyprus Problem

Cyprus, according to Mythology, is the birthplace of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The island is both an ancient land, with an eleven thousand year-old history and civilization. Its geographic location at the crossroads of three continents- Europe, Asia and Africa- and at the meeting point of great civilizations has been one of the factors influencing the course of the island’s history throughout the centuries.

Cyprus became an independent Republic on 16 August 1960 on the basis of the 1959 Zurich and London Agreements negotiated by Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

There were sporadic inter-communical clashes in 1963-1967 and threats to invade by Turkey. Turkish Cypriots ceased to participate in the government. During 1968-1974 UN sponsored intercommunical talks to reach a settlement.

Progress was reported in the talks but came to an end due to the Turkish invasion in the summer of 1974.
Cyprus formally joined the European Union as a full member on May 1st 2004 without achieving the desired goal of acceding as a reunited country, but the Cypriots still long for a viable and durable settlement that would enable Greek and Turkish Cypriots to live amicably and enjoy together the benefits of EU membership.

Government / Regim

Cyprus is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government. Under the 1960 constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office. The President exercises executive power through a Council of Ministers appointed by him. Ministers may be chosen from outside the House of Representatives.
Cyprus is a member of the EU (1st May 2004), United Nations and U.N. Agencies. It is also a member of the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and many other international Organisations.


Cyprus has an open, free-market, service-based economy with some light manufacturing. The Cypriots are among the most prosperous people in the Mediterranean region. Internationally, Cyprus promotes its geographical location as a “bridge” between West and East, along with its English-speaking population, moderate local costs, good airline connections, and telecommunications. Throughout the post-Independence period, Cyprus has had a record of successful economic performance, reflected in rapid growth, full employment conditions and external and internal stability. The underdeveloped economy which existed till 1960 has been transformed into a modern economy, with dynamic services, industrial and agricultural sectors and advanced physical and social infrastructure.

In the past 20 years, the economy has shifted from agriculture to light manufacturing and services. The service sector, including tourism, contributes 70% to the GDP and employs 62% of the labour force. Industry and construction contribute 24% and employ 25% of labour. Manufactured goods account for approximately 69% of domestic exports. Agriculture is responsible for 6% of GDP and 12% of the labour force. Potatoes and citrus are the principal export crops.

Cyprus is classified among the high-income countries, with a per capita income of CYP£9,477 in 2004. It has a standard of living that is even higher than some European Union member-states and the performance of the economy compares favourably with that of most EU countries. Cyprus holds 16th place worldwide in terms of per capita income. The average annual rate of growth in the past five years was about 3.8%, while inflation stood at 2.9% and unemployment at 3.4% over that period.

Cyprus has the fourth-largest ship registry in the world, with 2,758 ships and 25.5 million gross registered tons (GRT’s). It is an open registry and includes ships from more than 43 countries, including Greece, Germany and Russia.

On May 1st 2004, Cyprus became a full member of the EU. Eventual adoption of the euro currency is required of all new countries joining the European Union, and the Cyprus government currently intends to adopt the Euro currency on January 1st 2008.

Beaches and Sports

A combination of ideal weather and terrain makes Cyprus a great place for diverse athletics activities all year round.

The clear blue waters of the sea around Cyprus and the long stretches of sandy beaches offer excellent opportunities for swimming and sunbathing.

Cyprus Tourism Organisation (C.T.O.) supervises the beaches and is responsible for protecting the interests of all tourists. The Most of them offer full facilities to swimmers (Blue Flag Beaches)and include beach bars, restaurants, changing rooms, sunshades and sun loungers.

Swimming is particularly comfortable from May to November. On every beach red-buoys indicate the swimmers’ area, where speed-boats etc. are not allowed to enter.

All kind of sea sports and scuba-diving can be easily found on many beaches.

The Wreck of the Zenobia (Larnaca) is the fourth largest wreck dive in the world and is for experienced divers only.

Fishing is another popular activity. For salt-water fishing, no license is required.

Horseback riding is possible year-round at the Lapatsa Sporting Centre, southwest of Nicosia and the Elias Beach Hotel and Country Club, near Limassol.

Although most people consider Cyprus a summer resort, winter sports can also be enjoyed in the brief Cyprus. From January to March there is skiing on Mount Olympus. The Cyprus Ski Cluboperates four runs and offers equipment and toboggan rentals as well as ski instruction.

When travelling throughout Cyprus, you will encounter a variety of golfing opportunities.

Tsada Golf Club

The club is situated near Tsada village 15 minutes drive north of Paphos town. It is an 18 hole, par 72 course all greens and the total length is 6,050m.

The Secret Valley Golf Club

It is located 18 km east of Paphos and 49 km from Limassol (Lemesos), near Petra tou Romiou. It is an 18 hole course, plays to a Par 72 and measures 6,158 m.

Tsada and Secret Valley offer a unique way to experience the natural beauty of the island as they blend in well with their surroundings.

The Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Golf is designed around a ‘village square’, which forms the heart of the complex and provides extensive shopping and entertainment opportunities. Golf enthusiasts will be attracted to the World Class 18 hole par 71 golf course, the largest on the island complete with a 3-hole golf academy and clubhouse.

Food and Drink in Cyprus

You are welcome to Cyprus, the perfect island where food is ambrosia and wine is nectar.

Food in Cyprus

Fresh local ingredients are an important part of the Cypriot cuisine..

Everyone knows that Cyprus is famous for its food; the cuisine is a blend of flavours gathered from all over the Eastern Mediterranean. Cypriots cook with less oil than their Mediterranean neighbours. The cuisine is healthy apart from their love of syrup soaked pastries.
One of the most popular ways to eat in this part of the world is to have a Meze; you are served a rich collection of appetizers and savouries in up to 20 saucer like dishes.

Some of the most popular local starters and Main courses found nearly in all restaurants and Tavernas are the following:

Feta Cheese made from goat’s milk
Talattouri Salad dressing or dip based on yogurt
Halloumi Salty white cheese, made from lambs’ milk
Koupes Fried meat rissoles enclosed in pastry
Lounza Smoked pork tenderloin
Tahini Sesame ‘dip’ popular in eastern Mediterranean
Bourgouri Wheat porridge, a substitute for rice
Keftedes Spiced meat balls
Colocasi Sweet potato, having a gastronomic affinity with the turnip
Kleftico Lamb or goat roasted with vegetable in an outside oven
Small Moussaka Moussaka, slaps of aubergine and potato overlaid with mince and ‘Bechamel’ sauce
Souvla Lamb or goat cooked on a rotisserie
Souvlaki Pork grilled on a skewer
Sheftalia Rissoles of mince, onions and spices wrapped in a ‘skin’ of gut
Glyko Sweet consisting of fruit preserved in syrup

Other famous dishes include grilled or fried fresh fish, such as synagrida, fagree, red mullet, vlachos, trout.

Visit any open-air marketplace, in the villages or in towns to see the natural bounty of the island on glorious display: giant eggplant and lustrous red tomatoes, artichokes, beets, garlic, basil, rosemary, olives, pimentos and nuts; for fruits, there are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, melons, pomegranates, peaches, pears, apricots, apples, numerous varieties of grapes, cherries, figs and bananas. There are numerous varieties of natural herbs, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary and so many others you’ll just have to sample them for yourself.


Drink in Cyprus

Cyprus wines, famous since ancient times, are more than maintaining their tradition by becoming increasingly competitive in the International market. The quality of Cyprus table wines features amongst the best in the world and the great variety provides a match for every kind of food and every palate.

Cyprus produces a wide range of Wines red, white, sweet; dry as well as Sherries, Vermouth, and Ports.

Commandaria, the rich sweet dessert wine of the Crusaders, is in fact, the oldest wine known in the world. Its fame is wide and takes pride of place.

Most vineyards in Cyprus are small and in some places still ploughed by donkeys and oxen. The major vine-growing areas are on the sunny southern and south-western slopes of the Troodos Mountains

Zivania is another strong distillation. The pink cinnamon flavoured variety is a specialty of the Kykko Monastery in the heart of the Paphos Forest.

Cyprus Brandy is excellent, and is available everywhere. The famous brandy sour has established itself as the Cyprus drink par excellence.

Cyprus Coffee of course is an integral part of Cyprus life, ‘Glikis’ with sugar, ‘Metrios’ little sugar or ‘Sketos’ without sugar. It is also called Byzantine or Greek coffee.



Cypriot lacework is prized for its quality and artistry and it is one of Cyprus’ most famous exports. The village of Lefkara is particularly well-known for its embroidery, called Lefkaritika, take a wander around the streets and you will be invited into many of the shops. Embroidered lace, worked on off-white linen or cotton, makes for highly decorative tablecloths, curtains, doilies, placemats and dresser sets. A specialty of Paphos is Pafitika, fabric embroidered with geometric designs.

Pottery has been made in Cyprus continuously for thousands of years. Attractive pots come in all shapes and sizes. Terra cotta pieces with white decorations, copies of museum pieces, are popular gifts, as are copper wares, hand-painted gourds and handmade baskets, and jewellery with motifs from antiquity.

Zenon Kiteos Street is the main shopping district of Larnaca. It is a bustling road of small shops and has a colourful market selling fresh produce at one end. Shopping is good in Limassol as it is a tourist city. For a village of its size, Pissouri is good for shopping. The smaller villages of Cyprus are the best places to pick up handcrafted Cypriot lace at a decent price. You will find most of the shops and services on Pl. Kennedy in Paphos.

Other than souvenirs from Protaras, the best place to shop in this part of Cyprus is in near by Ayia Napa. Jewellery, leather goods and designer goods (at tax free prices) are some of the bargains you will find in Ayia Napa.

Airports and Ports

Travellers may enter the Republic of Cyprus only through the legal ports of entry – Larnaca and Paphos International Airports and the ports of Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos. The ports of Famagusta, Keryneia and Karavostasi, as well as the airports in the part of the island illegally occupied by the Turkish invasion forces have been declared by the Cyprus government as prohibited ports of entry and exit and no passenger should enter or leave the Republic through these ports.

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