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Easter in Cyprus

Easter in Cyprus

Easter is celebrated throughout the Republic of Cyprus and is considered to be the most important religious holiday of the year. Unlike other holidays, Easter is not on a set date every year, and this is set according to the Orthodox Calendar which places the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs at the spring equinox as Easter Sunday. Although there are church services for the whole week before Easter, public holidays are observed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. In days gone by most of the Orthodox population would fast for up to 50 days before Easter. Nowadays most families are known to fast for a week by not consuming any meat or dairy products before the Easter Sunday celebrations. The holy week usually sees most household preparing the traditional ‘flaounes’ which are unique to Cyprus. These are delicious bread pastries filled with an aromatic mix of cheese and mint which are sometimes baked in traditional outdoor wood ovens. The preferred sweet pastries are ‘tsourekia’, a rich leavened pastry which is formed into a plaited loaf and sprinkled with slithered almonds and baked until golden. Another tradition is the painting of boiled eggs in red which symbolises the blood of Christ. These are made during the week and eaten on Easter Sunday after a competition to see who has chosen the strongest egg.

Christmas in Cyprus

Christmas in Cyprus

The Republic of Cyprus is predominantly Greek Orthodox and they celebrate the birth of Christ on the 25th December like all Christians around the world. The Russian Orthodox, who take their calendar from the Julian calendar celebrate on the 6th January. Although most Cypriots are very traditional, they have not remained untouched by the commercial side of Christmas and this is evident in stores and in all walks of lives. Traditionally gifts are exchanged on the 1st of January which is the feast day of Agios Vasilios, or St Vasilios. A Christmas tree is usually erected in homes at the beginning of December and only taken down after the Epiphany on the 6th January. The streets in all large cities are decorated with Christmas lights and there are many events planned around the holidays which include carol singing and other celebrations. For those who prefer to be in a winter wonderland, the Troodos Mountains have magical accommodation in hotels and agro tourism cottages that you can rent and enjoy the festivities in the snow covered areas of Platres, Pedhoulas, Agros and Kalopanayiotis. You can spend the days skiing and enjoying winter sports and the nights around a fireplace taking in the delicious authentic Cypriot cuisine.

Skiing in Cyprus

Skiing in Cyprus

Cyprus is an unlikely destination for skiing as it is known worldwide as a summer destination with pristine beaches and glorious sunshine all year round. However there is a short period between January and April that sees many visitors in the Troodos Mountains enjoying winter sports. These mountains that are 2,000 meters above sea level, offer excellent skiing at this time of the year. The area has 2 hotels and some unique agro tourism cottages which are located in the mountainous region of the Troodos Mountains. A ski centre is based on Mount Olympus which is the highest peak and you will find four ski lifts and eight alpine ski runs for amateur and professional skiers.  A ski school is also in operation during the winter months offering lessons on the cross country ski tracks. The ski centre has a restaurant and cafes that are situated in the white covered picturesque ski resort.

Destination Weddings in Cyprus

Destination Weddings in Cyprus

Cyprus is one of the leading wedding destinations in Europe. The island is famous for its amazing climate, beautiful coastal sites and amazing venues for ceremonies and celebrations. The appeal of weddings in Cyprus is in part due to the short distance from many European destinations, and the relatively low costs. The other important advantage offered is that the marriage formalities are fairly simple and recognized worldwide. Wedding certificates are given to the newlyweds on the same day, in English which is a language widely spoken throughout the island. Small and large weddings can be catered for in a variety of venues which include beaches, yachts, castles, wineries, museums and traditional village houses. There are many wedding planners in Cyprus who undertake to organize weddings. Themed, packaged wedding plans are available to suit all interested parties. The beautiful crystal clear water of the Mediterranean Sea is a favourite setting for destination weddings and Cyprus also offers luxury villas or 5 star hotels for the couple’s guests. Most of the weddings are officiated at the local municipalities by licensed officers. Church weddings are also available if the couple are Christians and choose to be married by a priest. In this case you would still need to get your marriage license in order for the marriage legal to be legal, unless you are of Greek Orthodox faith in which case everything is organized through the church.

Safety Precautions in Cyprus

Safety Precautions in Cyprus

Cyprus is known for its excellent reputation of being a safe destination for visitors. Unfortunately accidents and illness happens and it is best to be informed on how to handle any emergency while visiting the island. How to handle an emergency while in Cyprus is pretty straightforward. The number to call is 112 and this number can be reached from any pay phone free of charge or mobile phone even if there are no credits available. The crime rate in Cyprus is one of the lowest in the world, but in the event that you are involved or a victim of crime, you can call 112 and ask to be connected to the police. Clear and straightforward information must be given over the phone so that the emergency services can respond immediately. The 112 number covers medical injuries, police and the fire department. Government Hospitals and Private Clinics/Hospitals are mostly concentrated in urban areas, while health centres, sub centres, and dispensaries function in the rural areas, providing a network to meet the medical needs of the whole population. All Government General Hospitals as well as some private clinics have Accident and Emergency Departments for emergency cases. Visitors or residents can also make use of their health insurance, which covers medical expenses.

Cyprus Flora and Fauna

Cyprus Flora and Fauna

Cyprus has not got a large amount of Fauna and today you will find 7 species of land mammals, 26 species of amphibians and reptiles, 357 species of birds and a great variety of insects and mites. The coastal waters of Cyprus are home to over 190 fish species and various species of crabs, sponges and Echinodermata. The largest wild animal found in Cyprus is the Mouflon which is a rare type of wild sheep. The Cyprus Mouflon can only be found on the island in the forest areas of Paphos and Limassol. Cyprus is also a stopover for millions of birds migrating from Europe to Africa and this has been observed since ancient times. This is due to the two salt lakes in Larnaca and Akrotiri. One of the most amazing species of birds found on the island is the Eleonora Falcon and the Imperial Eagle which are birds of prey found in mountainous regions. Cyprus is also known for its variety of partridges, quail, snipe, plover and woodcock.

Private Hospitals in Cyprus

Private Hospitals in Cyprus

The Cyprus healthcare system consists of state-funded public services which are inexpensive or free for low income citizens of Cyprus and the EU. Private health services are relatively cheap in comparison to countries like the UK and they are readily available for everyone. Emergency medical treatment in Cyprus is free all citizens. Most of the doctors who run these private facilities are specialists in their field having studied and trained abroad in some of the most prestigious medical universities.  Most of the doctors speak English and that is one of the reasons we have so many expats from the UK living on the island.

Private Education in Cyprus

Private Education in Cyprus

Education in Cyprus is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Apart from the government run public schools there are more than 40 private, secondary schools on the island. Private schooling began in 1646 and many of the schools available today have a long history of excellence in private education. Currently there is a big choice for those who want to attend private educational facilities. With more than 15,000 students attending private schools based on location, language and curriculum, Cyprus offers many options for non-Greek speaking children. The education system in Cyprus is divided into pre-primary education (ages 3 – 6), primary education (ages 6 – 12) and secondary education (ages 12 – 18). Full time education is compulsory for children aged 5 – 15. State schools are funded by the government and are conducted in Greek. For children who do not speak the language, private institutions are available in all major cities in Cyprus. Most of the private schools have English as their teaching medium. Today you will find The French School Arthur Rimbaud in Nicosia and various Russian schools catering for the thousands of Russians who live on the island. There are also a number of Greek secondary schools in Nicosia catering for Cypriot parents who want their children to attend a private school

Medical Tourism in Cyprus

Medical Tourism in Cyprus

Modern private hospitals and clinics, with state of the art equipment and experienced, highly trained doctors and medical staff, have been the reason why Cyprus has become a popular destination for medical tourism.  Specialist doctors who have trained in Europe and the USA are at the head of the medical teams that perform all types of medical procedures at very reasonable prices. There is also the draw of combining a medical procedure with a relaxing holiday that will help you recuperate in a country that is an idyllic destination. Some of the most popular procedures done on the island are annual check-ups, reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, cardiac care and dental and surgical procedures. Many of the private clinics offer special packages that also include hotel accommodation for the recuperation period.

Tourism in Cyprus

Tourism in Cyprus

Situated at the north-eastern end of the Mediterranean basin, Cyprus is the third largest island in the region, with an area of 9,251 square kilometers. The island has many attractions one of them being the mild Mediterranean climate that offers abundant sunshine for 320 days of the year. Another plus apart from the natural beauty of the island is that English is widely spoken by most of the citizens, the road network is modern and extensive and you can easily travel to all the outstanding historical and cultural destinations on the island. The currency in Cyprus is Euro and credit cards are widely accepted and ATM’s are readily available in all major towns and villages.

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