CYPRUS – APHRODITES’ ISLAND OF LOVE
If you are considering relocating with your family to Cyprus, and applying for citizenship through investments, then here are few facts you need to know about this beautiful island in the sun. Strategically situated in close proximity to Asia, Africa, Europe, Turkey, Syria and Egypt, Cyprus is truly an island at the crossroads of 3 continents. As the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, the island covers an area of 9,241 square kilometers and has a population of less than 1 million. The population consists of approximately 78% Greek Cypriots in the South and 18% Turkish Cypriots in the North, and the remaining 4% is made up of other ethnic groups. The official languages of the island are Greek and Turkish. However it must be said that English is the second language in the South and most people speak it fluently, which is due, in part, to the huge tourism industry. Other languages spoken are Russian, German and French.
THE BEAUTY OF CYPRUS
The beauty of Cyprus cannot be denied and there is something magical about this island. Cyprus has the most amazing weather, you can expect at least 340 days of sunshine a year and the natural beauty of the sandy beaches and the clear turquoise waters of the Mediterranean along the magnificent coastline, together with the stunning mountain regions of Troodos in the South and Pentadaktylos in the North are all well worth exploring. A trip to the mountains in summer is a refreshing reprieve from the hot sun, and in winter it magically turns into a snow capped fairy land. With many small picturesque villages in the area you are bound to experience the famous Cypriot hospitality. From beautiful beaches to the mountains and in-between, whether you are a nature lover, an archaeological scholar or a party animal, Cyprus has it all, a relaxed and rewarding lifestyle is guaranteed.
Historically, Cyprus has a rich heritage dating back to the 7th century BC. With many archaeological and antiquities sites scattered throughout the island, you will be able to explore many world famous archaeological sites from the New Stone Age up to the Roman Empire. The influence of these ancient civilizations is prominent in Nicosia, the capital, with the preserved Venetian walls that surround the city and the recently restored Hamam Omerye Turkish Baths which dates back to the 14th century and has recently received the Europa Nostra price for the conservation of Architectural Heritage. Paphos is home to some of the most beautiful Mosaics in the world, and the whole area has been declared a World Heritage site. Paphos is also said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite the Goddess of Love that is why Cyprus is often referred to as the Island of Love. The island has a very long history of being conquered and occupied by various ancient civilizations over the centuries, too many to mention here. In more recent history, Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960 and in 1974 the two communities, the Greeks and the Turks clashed, with the end result being the dividing line which now separates the two communities. Turkey currently occupies 40% of the island to the North and in 1983 declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. There is still a United Nations peacekeeping force and a buffer zone between the two Ethnic groups, but for many years there have been no hostilities between the two sides and since the opening of the borders great efforts have been made to reunite the two communities and hopefully agree on some form of reunification of the two sides. On the 1st May 2004, Cyprus joined the European Union and now has the EURO as its currency. In Northern Cyprus the official currency is the Turkish Lira. The United Kingdom still has two Overseas Territories in the Republic of Cyprus, namely Akrotiri and Dhekelia which they use as military bases.
EDUCATION AND RELIGION
Cyprus has a very high standard of education, apart from the excellent state schools which most of the children attend regardless of nationality; there are a number of excellent private English Medium schools in all the big cities which have an impressive track record in excellence. The main religion on the island is Greek Orthodox, but the Cypriots respect all religions and the practice of all faiths is encouraged and respected. Cyprus is famous for its remarkable historical monasteries and churches which can be found throughout the island.
NICOSIA (LEFKOSIA) - THE CAPITAL
Nicosia is the only divided city remaining in the world, with the so called green line which divides the Greek and Turkish communities, runs right through the city. Now that it is possible to drive across quite easily, on either side, you will find that the contrast between the two sides is amazing and definitely worth visiting. Nicosia is the main administrative centre on the island with all the government departments, legislature, and all foreign embassies forming the centre of government. Over the last decades Cyprus has developed its reputation as an International Business Centre with professional business services and up to date technology and telecommunications. The tax and citizenship incentives that the Cypriot government has in place are set to bring in a lot of foreign investments as they are an attractive package for anyone interested in getting Cypriot citizenship by investment. While being at the centre of the business world, Nicosia also has a lot of places of interest that you have to see. There are impressive museums spanning from the Neolithic to the Roman period, the seat of the Greek Orthodox church, Folk museums and the famous Famagusta gate, to name a few.
LEMESOS (LIMMASOL) – THE PORT TOWN
Lemesos is the islands second largest city and also the industrial centre for imports and exports through its modern, well-maintained port. The area around Limassol is the center of the wine industry and the beautiful coastline is home to some of the best hotels on the island. With a bustling tourist trade, Lemesos is considered to be somewhat of a party town and it is home to many foreigners that have decided to make Cyprus their home. With the sea on the one side and the Troodos Mountains on the other, Lemesos has a lot to offer as far as sightseeing goes. Take a trip up to the mountains and you will find some of the best wineries on the island, enjoy the Cypriot hospitality and have a meze meal at one of the many little tavernas on the way. Archaeologically Limassol also has a lot to offer, with the ancient kingdoms of Amathous and Kourion well worth visiting.
LARNAKA (LARNACA) – THE AIRPORT TOWN
The city of Larnaca on the southern coast of Cyprus, hosts the islands biggest airport, Larnaca International Airport, and together with the port is a hub of activity with import and export businesses. The mountainous region around the city has many picturesque villages with narrow cobbled streets and stone houses. Many of these villages are famous for producing authentic Cypriot Folk craft, like traditional lace embroideries and filigree silverware. There are also many important religious sites in Larnaka, the mosque of Hala Sultan is considered an important pilgrimage for Muslims and the ancient churches of Angeloktisti (which means built by angels) and St. Lazarus have some of the most remarkable examples of Byzantine art. Choirokoitia boasts the best prehistoric settlement and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
PAFOS (PAPHOS) – THE SEASIDE RESORT
For 7 months of the year, Paphos is truly a ‘Seaside Resort’! Everyone is in holiday mode and for those who enjoy a laid back style of life, this is the place to be. With its beautiful beaches and the tranquil Mediterranean Sea beckoning, you will feel like you are in paradise. Rich in history and with some of the world’s most remarkable archaeological sites, Paphos is a bustling little town of fun and laughter, with hospitable people who will welcome you with open arms. The second airport on the island which is situated on the outskirts of Paphos, sees a lot of charter flights coming in over the summer months filled with tourist who come from all over the world to enjoy the warm weather and the 5 star hotels that line the beachfront. The harbor in Paphos which is said to be built in the Alexander the Great era and rebuilt in 1592 is definitely worth a visit and the numerous monasteries and ancient churches that you will find in the countryside around Paphos town are also of great interest. The Polis area is also worth mentioning, this is a coastal town which has stood still in time and is enjoyed by many during the summer months. Polis is the only town in Cyprus that has specially built apartments and other facilities for the disabled. The Akamas peninsula which is a protected nature resort borders Polis and is reachable by sea or 4 wheel drive vehicles. This magnificent area, with its pristine beaches and sandy caves is a paradise for all nature lovers. You might even get to see the Cyprus Mouflon walking around freely or the famous turtles at Lara’s Beach.
FAMAGUSTA (VAROSHA) – THE FORGOTTEN CITY
The southern part of Famagusta was abandoned after the Turkish invasion in 1974. Prior to this event it was one of the best tourist areas in Cyprus. Now described as a ghost town, all the abandoned buildings and hotels have been deserted for over 40 years. The free parts of Famagusta include the towns of Ayia Napa, Protara, Paralimni and other small villages that have beach front properties. Home too many luxury hotels this areas together with the other seaside towns in Cyprus, are enjoyed by millions of tourists every year. Ayia Napa has the magnificent 16th century Venetian Monastery which overlooks the fishing harbor, and the coastline of the famous Cavo Greco has some of the most amazing seaside views on the island.
GETTING CYPRIOT CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTMENTS?
WHERE TO LIVE IN CYPRUS
Depending on your lifestyle and business interests, any of the towns or cities mentioned above could be a good choice. Bear in mind that the small distances between towns will have you travelling from one side of the island to the other in less than 2 hours. So if you are looking for a home overlooking the sea, there are many high end properties for sale that would please even the most demanding tenants. All the coastal towns, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos and Famagusta have a huge selection of properties for sale, and development, due to high demand, is ongoing. If you want to be where the business action is, then you will find that Nicosia has a lot to offer in luxurious properties as well. Limassol offers both the hustle and bustle of a big city and the beach front properties, so does Larnaca. The choice is yours, wherever you land up staying you will not be disappointed as there is so much to do and explore and everything you want is just a short drive away.