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Interesting Facts about Cyprus

Sunny Cyprus dazzles every visitor with its natural beauty, rich history and culture and lively atmosphere.

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sardinia and Sicily

  • Cyprus measures 240km (149 miles) in length and 100km (62 miles) at its widest part
  • The island’s name comes from the Ancient Greek word for copper and the word cyprinum was used in Latin to describe ‘metal of Cyprus’
  • The island has two mountain ranges – the Troodos and the Kyrenia and a large central plain – the Mesaoria.
  • The earliest human activity in Cyprus was in the 10th millennium BC
  • Cyprus has some of the oldest water wells in the world
  •  The Moufflon (Ovis orientalis) is the predecessor of the domestic sheep and has lived wild in the mountains of Cyprus since the Neolithic period. It can only be found in Cyprus
  • The round houses of the Neolithic village of Chirokitia have been carefully restored to give visitors a fascinating insight into the sophisticated way of life in ancient times
  • The ten Byzantine painted churches of the Troodos mountains appear on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Today, the Republic of Cyprus has a population of just over 871,000 people plus an additional 10,500 foreign residents.
  • Following July 1974,Cyprus is a divided island with the southern two thirds being The Republic of Cyprus (59.74%) and the north occupied part (34.85%). 2.68% of the area is the Green Line and Buffer Zone patrolled by soldiers of the United Nations  and the remaining 2.75% of the island forms the British Sovereign Base Area.
  • Nicosia, the island’s capital, remains a divided city; the only remaining divided city in Europe
  • On 2 June 2004, Cyprus became the 10th member country of the European Union and on 1 January 2008, joined the Eurozone
  • It was the Richard the Lionheart and the Crusader knights who developed wine production in  Cyprus in the 12th century, developing its export and naming the sweet red dessert wine Commandaria – after their headquarters in Kolossi Castle.
  • Halloumi cheese is Cypriot and can be enjoyed freshly sliced with bread and tomatoes or fried, grilled or cooked on the barbecue
  • Two species of marine turtles – the Green (Chelonia mydas) and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) – come ashore on the more isolated sandy beaches of the island – the Lara beach in Akamas – to lay their precious clutches of eggs
  • Cyprus has two salt lakes one in Larnaca and the other on the Akrotiri peninsula. Each winter between 2,000 – 10,000 Greater Flamingoes (Phoenicopterus ruber) overwinter on the salt lakes
  • About 30 species of wild orchids can be found in Cyprus – this figure continues to rise as more sub-species are discovered
  • 53 different species of butterflies have been recorded in Cyprus including three endemic species – Eastern Festoon (Zerynthia censyi), Cyprus Meadow Brown (Mariola cypricola) and Cyprus Grayling (Hipparchia cyprensis)
  • The island has more than 370 species of birds – both resident and migrant visitors as the island lies on the migratory paths linking three continents between Europe, Africa and Asia. There are two endemic species the Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia nelanothorax) and Cyprus Reed Warbler (Oenonthe cyprica) and five endemic sub-species
  • Cyprus has 14 species of bats which is an incredibly high number for its size and has the largest colony of Egyptian Fruit Bats (Rousettus aegypticus)
  • Cyprus is a great place for diving and the wreck of the MV Zenobia which lies off the coast at Larnaca is listed as one of the world’s top ten dive sites
  • For a short period of time (October 1905- December 1951) the Cyprus State Railway was in operation between Famagusta and Morphou via Nicosia. The track measured 76 miles and there were 39 stations
  • The acoustics in the Roman Theatre at Curium (Kourion) are impressive as it is possible to stand in the centre of the stage and for a normal voice to be heard clearly throughout the auditorium
  • It is quite possible to ski on one of the four sliopes in the Troodos Mountains in the morning and to be swimming in the Med a few hours later!
  • Cyprus has the 5th highest car ownership per capita in the world with 345,000 registered private vehicles
  • The Shakespearean play Othello is set in Cyprus in the now ‘ghost’ and occupied city of Famagusta
  • In the 1960s many Cypriots moved abroad in search of work and today there are sizeable Cypriot communities in the UK (notably London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol), Australia (in particular, Melbourne), Canada (Montreal) and the United States
  • Famous Cypriots include the first Cypriot Nobelist Mr Christoforos Pissarides (nobel prize in Economic Sciences), the first gold Olympic Games medalist Pavlos Kontides (Sailing), Stelios HadjiIannou (founder of EasyJet), Dr Kypros Nicolaides (Foetal specialist at King’s College London), Dr Linda Papadoupoulos (TV personality and psychologist), Theo Paphitis (retail tycoon), Peter Andre (Singer), Anna Visi (Singer) and Marcus Baghdatis (international tennis champion)