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  Cyprus

CAPITAL : Nicosia (Lefkosia, Lefkosa)
POPULATION : 801,851 (2010 estimate)
DISTRICTS : Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Lemesos, Nicosia (capital district) and Paphos
RELIGION : Primarily Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus (Greek Cypriots) and Sunni Islam (Turkish Cypriots)
TIME : GMT + 2
CURRENCY : Euro, adopted in 2008 (Turkish lira still found in the north of Cyprus)

Overview 

Cyprus is a geographical gem in terms of fair weather and year-round temperate conditions. This had made Cyprus, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, a favourite destination for tourists and people seeking to escape to calmer, more relaxed climes.

Geography

Located off the south coast of Turkey, this incredible Mediterranean paradise, with its crystalline-clear blue waters and white sandy beaches, is a mix of elements: international-style cosmopolitans, quaint villages, luxury resorts and unspoilt countryside are all part of the allure.

History 

Cyprus, once a British colony, gained its independence in 1960, but still conveys a sense of westernized modernity despite its predominantly Greek and Turkish population. Cars drive on the left side of the road, a signal leftover from British influence that is still in force on the island. Despite the spurts of unrest that has seen Cyprus divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974, the country remains stable, and the two separate factions ended the 32-year long division in March 2008. 

Sights 

A rich abundance of ancient sites will greet the avid history fan on arrival in Cyprus. This modern-day republic has a prehistoric past, with hunter-gatherers roaming its countryside from as early as 10,000 B.C. Some of these places include:

  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site at the village of Khirokitia

  • The Kourion theatre outside of Limassol

  • The Tombs of the Kings, a burial city (necropolis) north-west of Paphos

Economy 

Having joined the European Union in 2004, Cyprus has thrived economically, due to its low taxes and a well-developed infrastructure, which is on par with most first-world countries. Oil and natural gases in the seabed between Egypt and Cyprus have also been discovered recently, promising further capital gains for the island republic. Because of its accession to the EU, its continued economic prosperity and its popularity with sun-worshippers and tourists, Cyprus has shown tremendous growth in its tourist and property sectors, with the demand for rental space and capital growth spurring property investment and development to new heights.

Interesting Fact

  • The most famous mythical deity, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, is said to have been born in Cyprus.

  • The United Kingdom still controls about 3% of Cyprus.

  • Ever heard of halloumi cheese? The original, 'Hellum', originated from Cyprus.

  • Besides Greek and English, Russian is also spoken on the island of Cyprus

  • The village of Lefkara is becoming an increasingly popular tourist attraction because of its fine lace.

 

 

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