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Facts you should know about Cyprus

Facts you should know about Cyprus

Facts you should know about Cyprus

Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and north of Egypt. In proximity to Greece it is southeast.

The island is said to be inhabited around the 10th millennium BC and archaeological sites from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia which has some of the oldest water wells in the world. In the 2nd millennium BC Cyprus was inhabited by Mycenaean Greeks, but due to the strategic location of the island in the Middle East it was occupied over the years by major powers including the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians. Alexander the Great seized power in 333BC which was followed by the Ptolemaic Egyptians and then the Roman Empire. After this the island was inhabited by the French and Venetians before being taken over for 3 centuries by the Ottomans who ruled the island from 1571 to 1878.

Cyprus was placed under British administration in 1878 and was formally annexed by Britain in 1914. Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population at this time with the remaining population being Greek Orthodox. Nationalistic violence in the 1950’s resulted in Cyprus becoming an independent country in 1960. In 1963 intercommunal violence between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots resulted in the displacement of thousands of Turkish Cypriots and brought the end of the Turkish Cypriot representation in the Republic of Cyprus. On the 15th of July 1974, a coup d’état was staged by the Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt to overthrow Archbishop Makarios and attempt the unification of Cyprus with Greece. This action unfortunately precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on the 2oth July 1974.  This led to the division of the island into the Northern Turkish sector and the Greek Cypriot side which still stand today. Thousands of people were killed and some are still missing. The displacement of hundreds of thousands of Greek Cypriot led to them being refugees in their own country. A separate Turkish state was established in 1983 on the northern side of Cyprus which is only recognized by Turkey. This has been the status quo to this day and there are still talks on the reunification of the island being argued today.

The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island including its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone with the exception of the sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia which still remain under British control according to the London and Zurich Agreements. Even though the island is still portioned into two parts, the 59% in the south and west of the island is under the rule of the Republic of Cyprus while the remaining 36% to the north is governed by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. 4% of the island is considered the buffer zone between the two communities and is controlled by the UN. The international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union.

The Cypriot government has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and was a founding member in the non-aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on the 1st May 2004. Cyprus officially joined the Eurozone on the 1st January 2008.

Tourism in Cyprus is a significant part of the economy and contributes a large amount of the GDP and the biggest source of employment for the citizens of Cyprus. Cyprus is said to be the 40th most popular tourist destination in the world but per capita of the local population it ranks 6th. Cyprus is a full member state of the World Tourism Organization since 1975, and has a lot to offer with sun, blue flagged beaches, first class hotels and mountainside agro tourism. While Europe represents the lion’s share of arrivals on the island, the United Kingdom which has traditional links and military bases on the island, attracts thousands of visitors a year.

There are also rural retreats and mountainside agro tourism countryside homes that you can rent if the quiet and cool surroundings are what you are looking for.  With all these pleasures to enjoy, you cannot forget the fresh local cuisine which is an important part of the island’s culture. Wherever you go you will find local tavernas that serve authentic Cypriot meals. The meze platters are the perfect way to get a taste of the many dishes that are usually offered in these tavernas. When all is said and done, Cyprus is the ideal destination for families or couples from all over the world, it has a lot to offer, is a safe destination and is famous for the hospitality shown by its citizens in all walks of life. The first class airports, Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport, are fully prepared to welcome the millions of tourists that arrive on the island annually.

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