Arab Community in Cyprus
The Arab community in Cyprus is growing with hundreds of recorded property sales, from investors who come from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Larnaca seems to be the town of choice for most Arab investors due to the harbor, the airport and the marina. Another big attraction is the Hala Sultan Mosque which is one of the holiest places of the Muslim world. Cyprus is also very close to these countries which makes it easy for the Arab community to travel to and from their countries. Unfortunately, the truth is that Cyprus benefits from the ongoing strife in these areas, as many have escaped their war torn countries and settled in Cyprus for safety reasons. Migration from Lebanon in particular started as early as the 13th century and continued after 1975 during the Lebanese Civil war. There are currently over 20,000 Lebanese descendants living in Cyprus. Over the last year more than 2000 Lebanese bought apartments in Cyprus with prices ranging between €100,000 and €300,000. Relations between Cyprus and the Arab world have always been very amicable with historical and political ties playing a huge role in welcoming these communities to the island.
Business forums and co-operations between Cyprus and many Arab countries has led to an increase in investments by wealthy Arabs. The demand on residential apartments from Lebanese and Syrians is also encouraged by the promise of residential permits in Cyprus if they purchase properties for specified amounts. Deteriorating political and security in countries like Syria and Lebanon still remain the biggest incentives for purchases of property in Cyprus. New opportunities in the business sector has also attracted investments in luxury hotels on the island. Investors from the Arab countries are also emerging as property developers in the Cyprus real estate sector. Buyers are building apartment blocks and selling apartments and office blocks to Arab investors. The emphasis is on purchasing well located commercial properties for development, mostly in Larnaca and Limassol.
Cyprus has also attracted a lot of refugees from Syria who have escaped their country and come here to seek a better life. Many of these refugees work in the construction business and many of these labourers are renting low cost apartments all over the island. For all people of Muslim origin it is important for them to have a place of worship. In Paphos there is a house that is used as a mosque which is attended by hundreds of Muslims. There are a number of mosques all over the island with the Hala Sultan Tekke, which is situated on the shore of the Larnaca Salt Lake, being the most important historically. There is also the Djami Kebir Zouhouri Mosque and the Tousla Mosque in Larnaca. Limassol houses a number of mosques like the Cami Ceded Masjid, and Ayia Napa is home to the Masjid Syedna Ibrahim Mosque. These are basically the Mosques that are in use in the Republic of Cyprus, there are many unused mosques that are closed and in desperate need of repair.
It might be a bit difficult to locate restaurants in Southern Cyprus that serve Halal Food but there are some specialty stores that sell Halal products. Moslem tourist to the island will be able to partake in many vegetarian and fish dishes that are served with the typical Cypriot meze meal which also includes popular dips like hummus and tzatziki which are also common in Arab countries. Cypriot food has a lot in common with Arabic tastes and we have many dishes which are enjoyed by both communities.
For more information on settling in Cyprus the following contact details are essential:
Syrian Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus
24, Nikodimou Mylona
TELEPHONE(+357) 22 817 333
FAX(+357) 22 756 963
OFFICE HOURS 08:30 – 14:30
Lebanese Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus
6, Chiou Street
P.O. Box 21924
TELEPHONE(+357) 22 878 282
(+357) 22 878 283
FAX(+357) 22 878 293
WEBSITE OFFICE HOURS08.30-14.00
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Cyprus Official Government website
Cyprus Real Estate Association