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The Cyprus Historic collections Exhibition
|Republic of Cyprus|
|Anthem: Ýmnos eis tīn Eleutherían
(Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν)
Hymn to Liberty1
Location of Cyprus (dark green)– — [Legend]
(and largest city)
|Nicosia (Λευκωσία, Lefkoşa)
35°08′N 33°28′E / 35.133°N 33.467°E / 35.133; 33.467
|Official language(s)||Greek, Turkish |
|Ethnic groups||77% Greek, 18% Turkish, 5% other (2001 est.)|
|Demonym||Cypriot, Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot|
|Independence||from the United Kingdom|
|–||Zürich and London Agreement||19 February 1959|
|–||Proclaimed||16 August 1960|
|EU accession||1 May 2004|
|–||Total||9,248 km2 (167th)
3,571 sq mi
|–||1.1.2010 estimate||798,045 |
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|Gini (2005)||29 (low) (19th)|
|HDI (2010)||0.810 (very high) (35th)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|–||Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Drives on the||Left|
|ISO 3166 code||CY|
|1||Also the national anthem of Greece.|
|2||Before 2008, the Cypriot pound.|
|3||The .eu domain is also used, shared with other European Union member states.|
Cyprus (pronounced /ˈsaɪprəs/ ( listen); Turkish: Kıbrıs, Greek: Κύπρος, Kýpros, IPA: [ˈcipros];, – officially the Republic of Cyprus Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti), (Greek: Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, Kypriakī́ Dīmokratía, IPA: [cipriaˈci ðimokraˈtia]; – is a Eurasian island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, south of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of its most popular tourist destinations. An advanced, high-income economy with a very high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.
The earliest known human activity on the island dates back to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Choirokoitia (also known as Khirokitia), which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the Tombs of the Kings. Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world, and is the site of the earliest known example of feline domestication. As a strategic location in the Middle East, Cyprus has been occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Hittites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Rashiduns, Umayyads, Lusignans, Venetians and Ottomans. Settled by Mycenean Greeks in the 2nd millennium BC, the island also experienced long periods of Greek rule under the Ptolemies and the Byzantines. In 333 B.C., Alexander the Great took over the island from the Persians. The Ottoman Empire conquered the island in 1570 and it remained under Ottoman control for over three centuries.
In 1974, following 11 years of intercommunal violence and an attempted coup d’état by Greek Cypriot nationalists, Turkey invaded and occupied the northern portion of the island. The intercommunal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of ongoing dispute.
The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters except small portions, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, that are allocated by treaty to the United Kingdom as sovereign military bases. The Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts; the area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, comprising about 59% of the island’s area, and the Turkish-occupied area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island’s area and recognized only by Turkey.
The etymology of the Greek name Kypros is unknown. Suggestions include
- the Greek word for the Mediterranean cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens), κυπάρισσος (kypárissos)
- the Greek name of the henna plant (Lawsonia alba), κύπρος (kýpros)
- an Eteocypriot word for copper. Georges Dossin, for example, suggests that it has roots in the Sumerian word for copper (zubar) or for bronze (kubar), from the large deposits of copper ore found on the island.
Through overseas trade, the island has given its name to the Classical Latin word for copper through the phrase aes Cyprium, “metal of Cyprus”, later shortened to Cuprum. Cyprus, more specifically the shores of Paphos, was also one of the birthplaces of Aphrodite given in Greek mythology, who was known as Kupria, since according to Phoenician mythology, Astarte, goddess of love and beauty, who was later identified with the Aphrodite.
The earliest confirmed site of human activity on Cyprus is Aetokremnos, situated on the south coast, indicating that hunter-gatherers were active on the island from around 10,000 BC, with settled village communities dating from 8200 BC. The arrival of the first humans correlates with the extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants. Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old.
Remains of an 8-month-old cat were discovered buried with its human owner at a separate Neolithic site in Cyprus. The grave is estimated to be 9,500 years old, predating ancient Egyptian civilization and pushing back the earliest known feline-human association significantly. The remarkably well-preserved Neolithic village of Choirokoitia (also known as Khirokitia) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to approximately 6800 BC.
The island was part of the Hittite empire during the late Bronze Age until the arrival of two waves of Greek settlement. The first wave consisted of Mycenaean Greek traders who started visiting Cyprus around 1400 BC. A major wave of Greek settlement is believed to have taken place following the Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece in the period 1100–1050 BC, with the island’s predominantly Greek character dating from this period. Cyprus occupies an important role in Greek mythology being the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis, and home to King Cinyras, Teucer and Pygmalion. Beginning in the 8th century BC Phoenician colonies were founded on the south coast of Cyprus, near present day Larnaca and Salamis.
Cyprus was ruled by Assyria for a century starting in 708 BC, before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545 BC. The Cypriots, led by Onesilos, king of Salamis, joined their fellow Greeks in the Ionian cities during the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt in 499 BC against the Achaemenid Empire. The revolt was suppressed without bloodshed, although Cyprus managed to maintain a high degree of autonomy and remained oriented towards the Greek world.
The island was brought under permanent Greek rule by Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies of Egypt following his death. Full Hellenization took place during the Ptolemaic period, which ended when Cyprus was annexed by the Roman Republic in 58 BC.
Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus.
When the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western parts in 395, Cyprus became part of the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire, and would remain part of it until the crusades some 800 years later. Under Byzantine rule, the Greek orientation that had been prominent since antiquity developed the strong Hellenistic-Christian character that continues to be a hallmark of the Greek Cypriot community. Beginning in 649, Cyprus suffered from devastating raids launched from the Levant, which continued for the next 300 years. Many were quick piratical raids, but others were large-scale attacks in which many Cypriots were slaughtered and great wealth carried off or destroyed.
No Byzantine churches survive from this period, thousands of people were killed, and many cities – such as Salamis – were destroyed and never rebuilt. Byzantine rule was restored in 965, when General Nikephoros Phokas (later Emperor) scored decisive victories on land and sea. In 1191, during the Third Crusade, Richard I of England captured the island from Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus He used it as a major supply base that was relatively safe from the Saracens. A year later Richard sold the island to the Knights Templar, who, following a bloody revolt, in turn sold it to Guy of Lusignan. His brother and successor Amalric was recognized as King of Cyprus by Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor.
Following the death in 1473 of James II, the last Lusignan king, the Republic of Venice assumed control of the island, while his Venetian widow, Queen Caterina Cornaro, reigned as figurehead. Venice formally annexed Cyprus in 1489, following the abdication of Caterina. The Venetians fortified Nicosia by building the famous Venetian Walls, and used it as an important commercial hub. Throughout Venetian rule, the Ottoman Empire frequently raided Cyprus. In 1539 the Ottomans destroyed Limassol and so fearing the worst, the Venetians also fortified Famagusta and Kyrenia.
During the almost four centuries of Latin rule, there existed two societies on Cyprus. The first consisted of Frankish nobles and their retinue, as well as Italian merchants and their families. The second, the majority of the population, consisted of Greek Cypriots serfs and laborers. Although a determined effort was made to supplant native traditions and culture, the effort failed.
Historic map of Cyprus by Ottoman Empire’s Kaptan Pasha, Piri Reis
In 1570, a full scale Ottoman assault with 60,000 troops brought the island under Ottoman control, despite stiff resistance by the inhabitants of Nicosia and Famagusta. 20,000 Nicosians were put to death, and every church, public building, and palace was looted. The previous Latin elite was destroyed and the first significant demographic change since antiquity took place when Ottoman Janissaries were settled on the island.
The Ottomans abolished the feudal system previously in place and applied the millet system to Cyprus, under which non-Muslim peoples were governed by their own religious authorities. In a reversal from the days of Latin rule, the head of the Church of Cyprus was invested as leader of the Greek Cypriot population and acted as mediator between Christian Greek Cypriots and the Ottoman authorities. Ottoman rule of Cyprus was at times indifferent, at times oppressive, depending on the temperaments of the sultans and local officials, and during this period the island fell into economic decline.
Reaction to Ottoman misrule led to uprisings by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, although none were successful. By 1872, the population of the island had risen to 144,000 comprising 44,000 Muslims and 100,000 Christians. Centuries of neglect by the Turks, the unrelenting poverty of most of the people, and the ever-present tax collectors fuelled Greek nationalism, and by 19th century the idea of enosis, or union, with newly independent Greece was firmly rooted among Greek Cypriots.
In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), administration, but not sovereignty, of the island was ceded to the British Empire in 1878 in exchange for guarantees that Britain would use the island as a base to protect the Ottoman Empire against possible Russian aggression. The island would serve Britain as a key military base in its colonial routes. By 1906, when the Famagusta harbour was completed, Cyprus was a strategic naval outpost overlooking the Suez Canal, the crucial main route to India which was then Britain’s most important colony. Following the outbreak of The First World War and the entry of the Ottoman Empire on the side of the Central powers, Great Britain formally annexed the island in 1914.
In 1915, Britain offered Cyprus to Constantine I of Greece on condition that Greece join the war on the side of the British, which he declined. In 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, the nascent Turkish republic relinquished any claim to Cyprus and in 1925 it was declared a British Crown Colony. Many Greek Cypriots fought in the British Army during both World Wars, in the hope that Cyprus would eventually be united with Greece. During the Second World War many enlisted in the Cyprus Regiment.
In January 1959, the Church of Cyprus organized a referendum, which was boycotted by the Turkish Cypriot community, where over 90%[clarification needed] voted in favor of “enosis“, meaning union with Greece. Restricted autonomy under a constitution was proposed by the British administration but eventually rejected. In 1955 the EOKA organisation was founded, seeking independence and union with Greece through armed struggle. At the same time the TMT, calling for Taksim, or partition, was established by the Turkish Cypriots as a counterweight. Turmoil on the island was met with force by the British.
On August 16, 1960, Cyprus attained independence after an agreement in Zürich and London between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey. The UK retained the two Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia while government posts and public offices were allocated by ethnic quotas giving the minority Turks a permanent veto, 30% in parliament and administration, and granting the 3 mother-states guarantor rights.
In 1963 inter-communal violence broke out, partially sponsored by both “motherlands” with Turkish Cypriots being forced into enclaves and Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios III calling for unilateral constitutional changes as a means to ease tensions over the whole island. The United Nations was involved and the United Nations forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) deployed at flash points.
In 1964, Turkey attempted to intervene in Cyprus in response to the ongoing Cypriot intercommunal violence, but was stopped by a strongly worded telegram from the U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 5, 1964; who warned that the United States would not stand beside Turkey in case of a consequential Soviet invasion of Turkish territory.
A Turkish Cypriot man at the opening of the mass grave containing the bodies of the former Turkish inhabitants of the village of Sandallar in North Cyprus.
Following a coup d’état engineered by the Greek Junta, Turkey launched a full-scale military invasion of the island in 1974. The Turkish air force began bombing Greek positions on Cyprus, hundreds of paratroops were dropped in the area between Nicosia and Kyrenia, where well-armed Turkish Cypriot enclaves had been long-established, while off the Kyrenia coast 30 Turkish troop ships protected by destroyers landed 6,000 men as well as tanks, trucks, and armored vehicles.
Three days later, when a ceasefire had been agreed, Turkey had landed 30,000 troops on the island and captured Kyrenia, the corridor linking Kyrenia to Nicosia, and the Turkish-Cypriot quarter of Nicosia. The junta in Athens, and then the Sampson regime in Cyprus fell from power. In Nicosia Glafkos Clerides assumed the presidency and constitutional order was restored; ostensibly removing the pretext the Turks gave for the invasion. The Turks used a period of negotiations to reinforce their Kyrenia bridgehead and prepare for the second phase of the invasion, which began on 14 August and resulted in the seizure of Morphou, Karpasia, Ammochostos and the Mesaoria. The Greek forces were unable to resist the Turkish advance.
International pressure led to a ceasefire at which point 37% of the island had been taken over by the Turks and 180,000 Greek Cypriots were evicted from their homes in the north. At the same time, around 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to the areas under the control of the Turkish Forces and settled in the properties of the displaced Greek Cypriots. In mid-1975, the United States Congress amongst a variety of sanctions against Turkey, imposed an arms embargo on Turkey for using American-supplied equipment during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
In 1983 Turkish Cypriots proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is recognised only by Turkey. As of today, there are 1,534 Greek Cypriots and 502 Turkish Cypriots missing as a result of the fighting. The events of the summer of 1974 dominate the politics on the island, as well as Greco-Turkish relations. Around 150,000 settlers from Turkey are believed to be living in the north in violation of the Geneva Convention and various UN resolutions. Following the invasion and the capture of its northern territory by Turkish troops, the Republic of Cyprus announced that all of its ports of entry in the north are closed, as they are effectively not under its control.
The last major effort to settle the Cyprus dispute was the Annan Plan. It gained the support of the Turkish Cypriots but was rejected by the Greek Cypriots, who perceived the Annan Plan to be both unbalanced and excessively pro-Turkish.
In March 2008, a wall that for decades had stood at the boundary between the Greek Cypriot controlled side and the UN buffer zone was demolished. The wall had cut across Ledra Street in the heart of Nicosia and was seen as a strong symbol of the island’s 32-year division. On 3 April 2008, Ledra Street was reopened in the presence of Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean (after the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia) and the world’s 81st largest. It measures 240 kilometers long from end to end and 100 km wide at its widest point, with Turkey 75 km to the north. Other neighbouring territories include Syria and Lebanon to the east (105 km and 108 km, respectively), Israel 200 km to the southeast, Egypt 380 km to the south, and Greece to the northwest: 280 km to the small Dodecanesian island of Kastellórizo (Meyísti), 400 km to Rhodes, and 800 km to the Greek mainland.
The physical relief of the island is dominated by two mountain ranges, the Troodos Mountains and the smaller Kyrenia Range, and the central plain they encompass, the Mesaoria. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western portions of the island and account for roughly half its area. The highest point on Cyprus is Mount Olympus at 1,952 m (6,404 ft), located in the center of the Troodos range. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies substantially less area, and elevations are lower, reaching a maximum of 1,024 m (3,360 ft).
Geopolitically, the island is subdivided into four main segments. The Republic of Cyprus, the internationally recognized government, occupies the southern two-thirds of the island (59.74%). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus occupies the northern third (34.85%) of the island and is recognized only by Turkey, as it consists of the Turkish-occupied areas. The United Nations-controlled Green Line is a buffer zone that separates the two and covers 2.67% of the island. Lastly, two bases under British sovereignty are located on the island: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, covering the remaining 2.74%.
One of the unique features of Cyprus’ habitats is the wild and sharp differences in elevations and habitats in different parts of the island as well as different climate conditions, all of which supply a diverse habitat for a unique array of fauna and flora. The number of plant species and sub-species of wild plant in Cyprus is possibly in the thousands, many of them being endemic. Wildlife can be seen in Troodos mountains, Larnaca salt lake, Akrotiri salt lake and undoubtedly Akamas national park. Cyprus is home to Cyprus moufflon which is a national symbol of the country. Moufflon is protected and can be seen in Paphos forests towards branches of Troodos Mountain
Cyprus wild Mouflon is a unique mammal in the island
Cyprus has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate with very mild winters (on the coast) and hot summers. Snow is possible in the Troodos mountains. There is the warmest climate (and warmest winters) in the Mediterranean part of the European Union.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
See also Politics of Northern Cyprus
Cyprus is a Presidential republic. The head of state and of the government is the President who is elected by a process of Universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised by the government with legislative power vested in the House of Representatives whilst the Judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature.
The 1960 Constitution provided for a presidential system of government with independent executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as a complex system of checks and balances including a weighted power-sharing ratio designed to protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots. The executive was led by a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice president elected by their respective communities for five-year terms and each possessing a right of veto over certain types of legislation and executive decisions. Legislative power rested on the House of Representatives who were also elected on the basis of separate voters’ rolls.
Following clashes between the two communities the Turkish Cypriot seats in the House remain vacant since 1965. Turkish Cypriots refused to establish the state of affairs before the invasion of Cyprus as is evident in the Secretary-General of the United Nations who said The Turkish Cypriot leaders have adhered to a rigid stand against any measures which might involve having members of the two communities live and work together, or which might place Turkish Cypriots in situations where they would have to acknowledge the authority of Government agents. Indeed, since the Turkish Cypriot leadership is committed to physical and geographical separation of the communities as a political goal, it is not likely to encourage activities by Turkish Cypriots which may be interpreted as demonstrating the merits of an alternative policy. The result has been a seemingly deliberate policy of self-segregation by the Turkish Cypriots By 1974 the two communities had returned to a more tolerant state of living.
The Presidential Palace (Residence) in Nicosia.
In 1974 Cyprus was divided de facto into the Greek Cypriot controlled southern two-thirds of the island and the Turkish controlled northern third. The Turkish Cypriots subsequently declared independence in 1983 as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but were recognized only by Turkey. In 1985 the TRNC adopted a constitution and held its first elections. The United Nations recognises the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the entire island of Cyprus.
The House of Representatives currently has 59 members elected for a five year term, 56 members by proportional representation and 3 observer members representing the Armenian, Latin and Maronite minorities. 24 seats are allocated to the Turkish community but remain vacant since 1964. The political environment is dominated by the communist AKEL, the liberal conservative Democratic Rally, the centrist Democratic Party, the social-democratic EDEK and the centrist EURO.KO.
On 17 February 2008 Dimitris Christofias of the AKEL was elected President of Cyprus, on AKEL’s first electoral victory without being part of a wider coalition. Cyprus is currently one of only two countries in the world to have a democratically elected communist government (the other being Nepal), and the only European Union member state under communist leadership. Christofias took over government from Tassos Papadopoulos of the Democratic Party who had been in office since February 2003.
|Map of Cyprus||Districts||Greek name||Turkish name|
The island nation Cyprus is member of: Australia Group, CN, CE, CFSP, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ITUC, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO.
Exclaves and enclaves
Episkopi Cantonment in southern Cyprus part.
Cyprus has four exclaves, all in territory that belongs to the British Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia. The first two are the villages of Ormidhia and Xylotymvou. The third is the Dhekelia Power Station which is divided by a British road into two parts. The northern part is an exclave, like the two villages, whereas the southern part is located by the sea and therefore not an exclave although it has no territorial waters of its own.
The UN buffer zone runs up against Dhekelia and picks up again from its east side off Ayios Nikolaos and is connected to the rest of Dhekelia by a thin land corridor. In that sense the buffer zone turns the Paralimni area on the southeast corner of the island into a de facto, though not de jure, exclave.
The constant focus on the division of the island can sometimes mask other human rights issues. Prostitution is rife in both the government-controlled and the Turkish-controlled regions leading to the government being criticised for its lack of controls and for the role of Cyprus in the sex trade as one of the main destinations for human trafficking from Eastern Europe. The Turkish-controlled regime has been the focus of occasional freedom of speech criticisms regarding heavy-handed treatment of newspaper editors.
Domestic violence legislation remains largely unimplemented and mistreatment of domestic staff, mostly immigrant workers from developing countries, are sometimes reported in the Cypriot press and are the subject of several campaigns by the anti-racist charity KISA.
The Cypriot National Guard is the main military institution of the Republic of Cyprus. It is a combined arms force, with land, air and naval elements. The National Guard is a required 24 month service for all men upon completing their 18th birthday.The land forces of the Cypriot National Guard comprise the following units:
- First Infantry Division (Ιη Μεραρχία ΠΖ)
- Second Infantry Division (ΙΙα Μεραρχία ΠΖ)
- Fourth Infantry Brigade (ΙVη Ταξιαρχία ΠΖ)
- Twentieth Armored Brigade (ΧΧη ΤΘ Ταξιαρχία)
- Third Support Brigade (ΙΙΙη Ταξιαρχία ΥΠ)
- Eighth Support Brigade (VIIIη Ταξιαρχία ΥΠ)
The air force includes the 449th Helicopter Gunship Squadron (449 ΜΑΕ) – operating SA-342L and Bell 206 and the 450th Helicopter Gunship Squadron (450 ME/P) – operating Mi-35P, BN-2B and PC-9. Current Senior officers include Supreme Commander, Cypriot National Guard: Lt. Gen. Konstantinos Bisbikas, Deputy Commander, Cypriot National Guard: Lt. Gen. Savvas Argyrou and Chief of Staff, Cypriot National Guard: Maj. Gen. Gregory Stamoulis.
The Cypriot economy is prosperous and has diversified in recent years. According to the latest IMF estimates, its per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power) at $28,381 is just above the average of the European Union. Cyprus has been sought as a base for several offshore businesses for its highly developed infrastructure. Economic policy of the Cyprus government has focused on meeting the criteria for admission to the European Union. The Cypriot government adopted the euro as the national currency on 1 January 2008. Oil has recently been discovered in the seabed between Cyprus and Egypt and talks are underway between Lebanon and Egypt to reach an agreement regarding the exploration of these resources. The seabed separating Lebanon and Cyprus is believed to hold significant quantities of crude oil and natural gas. However the government of Cyprus states that the Turkish Navy doesn’t allow the exploration of oil in the region.
The economy of the Turkish-occupied areas operates on a free-market basis although it continues to be handicapped by the lack of private and public investment, high freight costs and shortages of skilled labor. Despite these constraints the economy turned in an impressive performance in 2003 and 2004 with growth rates of 9.6% and 11.4%. The average income in the area was $15,984 (S₣16,289) in 2008. Growth has been buoyed by the relative stability of the Turkish new lira and by a boom in the education and construction sectors. The island has witnessed a massive growth in tourism over the years and as such the property rental market in Cyprus has grown alongside. Added to this is the capital growth in property that has been created from the demand of incoming investors and property buyers to the island.
In Cyprus, the euro was introduced in 2008. Three different designs were selected for the Cypriot coins. The designs were chosen from entrants in a competition in 2005.
The €2 (S₣2.59) coin is a legacy of an old national practice of minting silver and gold commemorative coins.
To commemorate this event, a €5 (S₣6.48) collector coin was also issued. Unlike normal issues these coins are not legal tender in all of the eurozone and so cannot be used in any other country but Cyprus.
According to the first population census after the declaration of independence, carried out in December 1960 and covering the entire island, Cyprus had a total population of 573,566, with ethnic Greeks comprising 77% of the island’s population and ethnic Turks 18% (other nationals accounted for the remaining 5%). According to the last census covering the entire island (April 1973), the population of Cyprus was 631,778 with the ethnic Turkish community estimated at 19% of the total (about 120,000). The subsequent censuses conducted in 1976–2001 after the de facto division of the island covered only the population in the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus government, and the number of Turkish Cypriots residing in Northern Cyprus was estimated by the Republic of Cyprus Statistical Service on the basis of population growth rates and migration data. In the last census of 2001 carried out by the Republic of Cyprus, the population in the area controlled by the government was 703,529. The number of Turkish Cypriots residing in Northern Cyprus was estimated by the Republic of Cyprus Statistical Service at 87,600, or 11% of the reported total.
The latest available estimates by the Republic of Cyprus Statistical Service put the island’s population at the end of 2006 at 867,600, with 89.8% (778,700) in the government controlled area and 10.2% (88,900) Turkish Cypriots in Northern Cyprus. However, the Republic of Cyprus estimate of Turkish Cypriots does not represent the total population of Northern Cyprus. In addition, the Republic of Cyprus Statistical Service also estimated that 150,000–160,000 Turkish immigrants (described as “illegal settlers” in the Republic of Cyprus Statistical Abstract 2007, footnote on p. 72) were living in Northern Cyprus, bringing the de facto population of Northern Cyprus to about 250,000.
According to the 2006 census carried out by Northern Cyprus, there were 256,644 (de jure) people living in the North. 178,031 were TRNC citizens, of which 147,405 were Cyprus-born (112,534 from the North; 32,538 from the South; 371 did not indicated what part of Cyprus they were from); 27,333 Turkey-born; 2,482 UK-born and 913 Bulgaria-born. Of the 147,405 Cyprus-born TRNC citizens, 120,031 have both parents born in Cyprus; 16,824 have both parents born in Turkey; 10,361 have one parent born in Turkey and the other parent born in Cyprus. The total population of Cyprus is thus slightly over 1 million, comprising 778,700 in the territory controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus and 265,100 in Northern Cyprus.
Cyprus has seen major increases in the numbers of permanent citizens. Sizeable communities from Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, and other Eastern European states exist. By the end of 2007, about 214,000 immigrants settled in Cyprus, the three largest groups being 37,000 Greeks, 27,000 Britons, and 100,000 Russians. The island is also home to a Maronite minority of 6,000, an Armenian minority of around 2,000, and refugees mainly from Serbia, Palestine, and Lebanon. There is also a Kurdish minority present in Cyprus.
Outside Cyprus there is a significant and thriving Cypriot diaspora in other countries, with the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece and Australia hosting the majority of migrants who left the island after the de facto division in 1974. The Cypriot population of the United Kingdom is estimated to number 150,000.
Y-Dna haplogroups are found at the following frequencies in Cyprus : J (43.07% including 6.20% J1), E1b1b (20.00%), R1 (12.30% including 9.2% R1b), F (9.20%), I (7.70%), K (4.60%), A (3.10%). J, K, F and E1b1b haplogroups consist of lineages with differential distribution within Middle East, North Africa and Europe while R1 and I are typical in West European populations.
Most Greek Cypriots are members of the autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, whereas most Turkish Cypriots are adherents of Sunni Islam. According to Eurobarometer 2005, Cyprus is one of the most religious countries in the European Union, alongside Malta, Romania, Greece, and Poland. The first President of Cyprus, Makarios III, was an archbishop.
Given the special legal status of the Church of Cyprus, the country is also one of only six EU states to have an established state church, alongside Finland (Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church and Finnish Orthodox Church), Denmark (Danish National Church), Greece (Church of Greece), Malta (Roman Catholic Church) and the United Kingdom (Church of England (only in England)). In addition to the Greek Orthodox and Muslim communities, there are also small Hindu, Sikh, Bahá’í, Jewish, Protestant (including Pentecostal), Catholic (including Latin Rite and Maronite) and Armenian Apostolic communities in Cyprus.
Hala Sultan Tekke, situated near the Larnaca Salt Lake, is considered by some secular orientalists as the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and an object of pilgrimage for both Muslims and Christians.
Faneromeni School, the oldest functioning all-girl primary school in Cyprus.
Cyprus has a highly developed system of primary and secondary education offering both public and private education. The high quality of instruction can be attributed to a large extent to the above-average competence of the teachers but also to the fact that nearly 7% of the GDP is spent on education which makes Cyprus one of the top three spenders of education in the EU along with Denmark and Sweden.
State schools are generally seen as equivalent in quality of education to private-sector institutions. However, the value of a state high-school diploma is limited by the fact that the grades obtained account for only around 25% of the final grade for each topic, with the remaining 75% assigned by the teacher during the semester, in a minimally transparent way. Cypriot universities (like universities in Greece) ignore high school grades almost entirely for admissions purposes. While a high-school diploma is mandatory for university attendance, admissions are decided almost exclusively on the basis of scores at centrally administered university entrance examinations that all university candidates are required to take.
The majority of Cypriots receive their higher education at Greek, British,Turkish, other European and North American universities. It is noteworthy that Cyprus currently has the highest percentage of citizens of working age who have higher-level education in the EU at 30% which is ahead of Finland’s 29.5%. In addition 47% of its population aged 25–34 have tertiary education, which is the highest in the EU. The body of Cypriot students is highly mobile, with 78.7% studying in a university outside Cyprus.
Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality is said to be born in Cyprus
The art history of Cyprus can be said to stretch back up to 10,000 years, following the discovery of a series of Chalcolithic period carved figures in the villages of Khoirokoitia and Lempa and the island is also the home to numerous examples of high quality religious icon painting from the Middle Ages.
In modern times Cypriot art history begins with the painter Vassilis Vryonides (1883–1958) who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Arguably the two founding fathers of modern Cypriot art were Adamantios Diamantis (1900–1994) who studied at London’s Royal College of Art and Christopheros Savva (1924–1968) who also studied in London, at St Martins School of Art. In many ways these two artists set the template for subsequent Cypriot art and both their artistic styles and the patterns of their education remain influential to this day. In particular the majority of Cypriot artists still train in England although art schools in Greece are also popular and local art institutions such as the Cyprus College of Art, University of Nicosia and the Frederick Institute of Technology are becoming more popular.
One of the features of Cypriot art is a tendency towards figurative painting although conceptual art is being rigorously promoted by a number of art “institutions” and most notably the Nicosia Municipal Art Centre . Municipal art galleries exist in all the main towns and there is a large and lively commercial art scene. Cyprus was due to host the international art festival Manifesta in 2006 but this was cancelled at the last minute following a dispute between the Dutch organizers of Manifesta and the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture over the location of some of the Manifesta events in the Turkish sector of the capital Nicosia.
Other notable Cypriot artists include Rhea Bailey, Mihail Kkasialos, Ioannis Kissonergis, Theodoulos Gregoriou, Helene Black, George Skoteinos, Kalopedis family, Nicos Nicolaides, Stass Paraskos, Arestís Stasí, Telemachos Kanthos, Konstantia Sofokleous and Chris Achilleos.
The traditional folk music of Cyprus has several common elements with Greek, Turkish, and Arabic music including Greco-Turkish dances such as the sousta, syrtos, zeibekikos, tatsia, and kartsilamas as well as the Middle Eastern-inspired tsifteteli and arapie. There is also a form of musical poetry known as chattista which is often performed at traditional feasts and celebrations. The instruments commonly associated with Cyprus folk music are the bouzouki (pictured), oud (“outi”), violin (“fkiolin”), lute (“laouto”), accordion, Cyprus flute (“pithkiavlin”) and percussion (including the “toumperleki“). Composers associated with traditional Cypriot music include Evagoras Karageorgis, Marios Tokas, Solon Michaelides and Savvas Salides.
Popular music in Cyprus is generally influenced by the Greek Laïka scene with several artists including Anna Vissi, Evridiki, and Sarbel earning widespread popularity in Cyprus, Greece and parts of the Middle East. Hip Hop, R&B and reggae are also very popular genres on the island and have been supported by the emergence of Cypriot rap and the urban music scene at Ayia Napa. Cypriot rock music and Éntekhno rock is often associated with artists such as Michalis Hatzigiannis and Alkinoos Ioannidis. Metal also has a small following in Cyprus represented by bands such as Winter’s Verge and Quadraphonic.
Literary production of the antiquity includes the Cypria, an epic poem, probably composed in the late seventh century BC and attributed to Stasinus. The Cypria is one of the very first specimens of Greek and European poetry. The Cypriot Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoic philosophy.
Epic poetry, notably the “acritic songs”, flourished during Middle Ages. Two chronicles, one written by Leontios Machairas and the other by Voustronios, refer to the period under French domination (15th century). Poèmes d’amour written in medieval Greek Cypriot date back from 16th century. Some of them are actual translations of poems written by Petrarch, Bembo, Ariosto and G. Sannazzaro.
Modern literary figures from Cyprus include the poet and writer Kostas Montis, poet Kyriakos Charalambides, poet Michalis Pasiardis, writer Nicos Nicolaides, Stylianos Atteshlis, Altheides, Loukis Akritas and Demetris Th. Gotsis. Dimitris Lipertis, Vasilis Michaelides and Pavlos Liasides are folk poets who wrote poems mainly in the Cypriot-Greek dialect. Lawrence Durrell lived in Northern Cyprus from 1952 until 26 August 1956 and wrote the book Bitter Lemons concerning his time there which won the second Duff Cooper Prize in 1957. The majority of the play Othello by William Shakespeare is set on the island of Cyprus. Cyprus also figures in religious literature such as the Acts of the Apostles according to which the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached on the island.
Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus and was initially made during the Medieval Byzantine period, subsequently gaining popularity throughout the Middle-East. Halloumi (Hellim) is commonly served sliced, either fresh or grilled, as an appetiser.
Seafood and fish dishes of Cyprus include squid, octopus, red mullet, and sea bass. Cucumber and tomato are used widely in salads. Common vegetable preparations include potatoes in olive oil and parsley, pickled cauliflower and beets, asparagus and Taro. Other traditional delicacies of the island are meat marinated in dried coriander, seeds and wine, and eventually dried and smoked, such as lountza (smoked pork loin), charcoal-grilled lamb, souvlaki (pork and chicken cooked over charcoal), and sheftalia (minced meat wrapped in mesentery). Pourgouri (bulgur, cracked wheat) is the traditional carbohydrate other than bread, and is used to make the Cypriot delicacy koubes.
Fresh vegetables and fruits are common ingredients in Cypriot cuisine. Frequently used vegetables include courgettes, green peppers, okra, green beans, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and grape leaves, and pulses such as beans, broad beans, peas, black-eyed beans, chick-peas and lentils. The commonest among fruits and nuts are pears, apples, grapes, oranges, mandarines, nectarines, mespila, blackberries, cherry, strawberries, figs, watermelon, melon, avocado, lemon, pistachio, almond, chestnut, walnut, hazelnut.
Cyprus is also well-known for its desserts, including lokum, also known as Turkish Delight. This island has protected geographical indication (PGI) for its lokum produced in the village of Geroskipou.
Governing bodies of sports in Cyprus include the Cyprus Football Association, Cyprus Basketball Federation, Cyprus Volleyball Federation, Cyprus Automobile Association, Cyprus Badminton Federation, Cyprus Cricket Association and the Cyprus Rugby Federation.
Football is by far the most popular spectator sport. There have been many accomplishments on the European scale by several teams, but most importantly the entrance in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage as firstly achieved in 2008 by Anorthosis Famagusta FC and APOEL FC in 2009. The Cyprus League is nowadays considered as quite competitive and includes notable teams such as AEK Larnaca FC, Nea Salamis Famagusta FC, AC Omonia, Apollon FC and AEL Lemesos. Stadiums or sports venues in Cyprus include the GSP Stadium (the largest in Cyprus), Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Ammochostos Stadium, Neo GSZ Stadium, Tsirion Stadium, and Makario Stadium. Cyprus, also has a football national team which in the last decade has evolved to a promising squad within the European rankings.
Apart from the main interest in football, Cyprus has exhibited certain accomplishments in other sports. Marcos Baghdatis is one of the most successful tennis players in international stage. He was a finalist at the Australian Open in 2006, and reached the Wimbledon semi-final in the same year. Also Kyriakos Ioannou a Cypriot high jumper achieved a jump of 2.35 m at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in Osaka, Japan, in 2007 winning the bronze medal.
Newspapers include Phileleftheros, Politis (Cyprus), Simerini, Kıbrıs, Cyprus Mail, the Cyprus Observer, Cyprus Today, Cyprus Weekly, Halkın Sesi, Havadis, Haravgi and Kathimerini (in a special Cypriot edition). TV channels include ANT1 Cyprus, Alfa TV, CNC Plus TV, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, Mega Channel Cyprus, Bayrak and Sigma TV.
There are nine churches and one monastery in Troodos that are counted among UNESCO‘s World Heritage Sites and several other monasteries, of which the Kykkos monastery is the richest and most famous. The churches are:
- Stavros tou Ayiasmati
- Panayia tou Araka
- Timiou Stavrou at Pelendri
- Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis
- Panayia Podithou
- Ayios loannis Lampadistis
- Archangel Michael at Pedhoulas
The area has been known since ancient times for its copper mines, and in the Byzantine period it became a great centre of Byzantine art, as churches and monasteries were built in the mountains, away from the threatened coastline.
Interior View of Kykkos Monastery
Three prominent ancient mosques in Cyprus:
Limassol‘s old mosque
The Cyprus Government Railway ceased operation on the 31st December 1951, the remaining modes of transport are by road, sea, and air. Of the 10,663 km (6,626 mi) of roads in the Greek Cypriot area as of 1998, 6,249 km (3,883 mi) were paved, and 4,414 km (2,743 mi) were unpaved. As of 1996 the Turkish Cypriot area had a similar ratio of paved to unpaved, with approximately 1,370 km (850 mi) of paved road and 980 km (610 mi) unpaved. Cyprus is one of only four EU nations in which vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road, a remnant of British colonisation, the others being Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom.
- A1 Nicosia to Limassol
- A2 connects A1 near Pera Chorio with A3 by Larnaca
- A3 Larnaca to Agia Napa
- A5 connects A1 near Kofinou with A3 by Larnaca
- A6 Pafos to Limassol
- A9 Nicosia to Astromeritis
|Light trucks (lighter than 40 tonnes)||107,060||106,610||107,527||105,017||105,327|
|Heavy trucks (over 40 tonnes)||10,882||11,182||12,119||12,808||13,028|
|Motorcycles (2 wheels)||12,956||14,983||16,009||16,802||16,836|
|Motorcycles (3 wheels)||42||41||43||55||558|
In 1999, Cyprus had six heliports and two international airports: Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport. Nicosia International Airport has been closed since 1974 and although Ercan airport was still in use it was only for flights from Turkey.
Public transport in Cyprus is limited to privately run bus services (except in Nicosia), taxis, and interurban ‘shared’ taxi services (referred to locally as service taxis). Per capita private car ownership is the 5th highest in the world. In 2006 extensive plans were announced to improve and expand bus services and restructure public transport throughout Cyprus, with the financial backing of the European Union Development Bank. The main harbours of the island are Limassol harbour and Larnaca harbour, which service cargo, passenger, and cruise ships.
Cyta, the state-owned telecommunications company, manages most Telecommunications and Internet connections on the island. However, following the recent liberalisation of the sector, a few private telecommunications companies have emerged including MTN, Cablenet, TelePassport, OTEnet Telecom, Omega Telecomand PrimeTel. In the Turkish-controlled area of Cyprus, three companies are also present. These are Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom.
Makariou Avenue in Nicosia
Petra Tou Romiou -Rock of Aphrodite
the edn@copyright Dr Iwan suwandy 2010