Cyprus (/ËsaÉªprÉs/; Greek: ÎÏÏÏÎ¿Ï [Ëcipros]; Turkish: KÄ±brÄ±s [ËkÉ¯bÉ¾É¯s]), officially the Republic of Cyprus (Greek: ÎÏ ÏÏÎ¹Î±ÎºÎ® Î"Î·Î¼Î¿ÎºÏÎ±ÏÎ¯Î±; Turkish: KÄ±brÄ±s Cumhuriyeti), is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt and east of Greece.
The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, and Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. At a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878 (de jure until 1914).
Cyprus was placed under British administration on 4 June 1878 (formally annexed by Britain on 5 November 1914, in response to the Ottoman government's decision to join World War I on the side of the Central Powers) until it was granted independence in 1960, becoming a member of the Commonwealth in 1961. In 1963, the 11-year intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots started, which almost sparked a war in 1964 between Turkey and Greece. This was avoided through the last-minute intermediation of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Ten years later, on 15 July 1974, the Cypriot coup d'Ã©tat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta with the aim of achieving Enosis (union of Cyprus with Greece). Turkey, as one of the three "Guarantor States" in Cyprus (together with the United Kingdom and Greece) according to the Treaty of Guarantee (1960), used the Enosis attempt as a pretext to invade the northern portion of the island five days later, on 20 July 1974. Turkish forces remained in Cyprus after the cease-fire, resulting in the effective partitioning of the island, an objective of Turkey since 1955. The intercommunal violence, attempted coup by Greek forces and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots, and the establishment in 1983 of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters, according to international law, except for the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, administered as Sovereign Base Areas. However, the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts; the area under the effective control of the Republic, comprising about 59% of the island's area, and the Turkish-controlled area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and recognised only by Turkey, covering about 36% of the island's area. The international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus illegally occupied by Turkish forces.
Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean. With an advanced, high-income economy and a very high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the Eurozone.
The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th-century BC Mycenaean Greek ð"ð ðªð, ku-pi-ri-jo, meaning "Cypriot" (Greek: ÎÏÏÏÎ¹Î¿Ï), written in Linear B syllabic script. The classical Greek form of the name is ÎÏÏÏÎ¿Ï KÃ½pros.
The etymology of the name is unknown. Suggestions include:
- the Greek word for the Mediterranean cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens), ÎºÏ ÏÎ¬ÏÎ¹ÏÏÎ¿Ï (kypÃ¡rissos)
- the Greek name of the henna plant (Lawsonia alba), ÎºÏÏÏÎ¿Ï (kÃ½pros)
- an Eteocypriot word for copper. Georges Dossin, for example, suggests that it has roots in the Sumerian word for copper (zubar) or for bronze (kubar), from the large deposits of copper ore found on the island.
Through overseas trade, the island has given its name to the Classical Latin word for copper through the phrase aes Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.
Cyprus, more specifically the seashore at Paphos, was also one of the birthplaces given in Greek mythology for Aphrodite, who was known as KÃ½pria. This was because Astarte, goddess of love and beauty in Phoenician mythology, for whom Cyprus was an important cult centre, was later identified with Aphrodite.
The standard demonym relating to Cyprus or its people or culture is Cypriot. The terms Cypriote and Cyprian are also used, though less frequently.
Â§Prehistoric and Ancient Cyprus
The earliest confirmed site of human activity on Cyprus is Aetokremnos, situated on the south coast, indicating that hunter-gatherers were active on the island from around 10,000 BC, with settled village communities dating from 8200 BC. The arrival of the first humans correlates with the extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants. Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old.
Remains of an 8-month-old cat were discovered buried with a human body at a separate Neolithic site in Cyprus. The grave is estimated to be 9,500 years old (7500Â BC), predating ancient Egyptian civilization and pushing back the earliest known feline-human association significantly. The remarkably well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to approximately 6800 BC.
During the late Bronze Age the island experienced two waves of Greek settlement. The first wave consisted of Mycenaean Greek traders who started visiting Cyprus around 1400 BC. A major wave of Greek settlement is believed to have taken place following the Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece from 1100 to 1050Â BC, with the island's predominantly Greek character dating from this period. Cyprus occupies an important role in Greek mythology being the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis, and home to King Cinyras, Teucer and Pygmalion. Beginning in the 8th centuryÂ BC Phoenician colonies were founded on the south coast of Cyprus, near present day Larnaca and Salamis.
Cyprus was ruled by Assyria for a century starting in 708Â BC, before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545Â BC. The Cypriots, led by Onesilus, king of Salamis, joined their fellow Greeks in the Ionian cities during the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt in 499Â BC against the Achaemenid Empire. The revolt was suppressed, but Cyprus managed to maintain a high degree of autonomy and remained oriented towards the Greek world.
The island was conquered by Alexander the Great in 333Â BC. Following his death and the subsequent division of his empire among his successors, Cyprus became part of the Hellenistic empire of Ptolemaic Egypt. It was during this period that the island was fully Hellenized. In 58Â BC Cyprus was acquired by the Roman Republic.
When the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western parts in 395, Cyprus became part of the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire, and would remain so until the Crusades some 800 years later. Under Byzantine rule, the Greek orientation that had been prominent since antiquity developed the strong Hellenistic-Christian character that continues to be a hallmark of the Greek Cypriot community.
Beginning in 649, Cyprus suffered from devastating raids launched by Muslim armies from the Levant, which continued for the next 300 years. Many were quick piratical raids, but others were large-scale attacks in which many Cypriots were slaughtered and great wealth carried off or destroyed.
There are no Byzantine churches which survive from this period; thousands of people were killed, and many cities â" such as Salamis â" were destroyed and never rebuilt. Byzantine rule was restored in 965, when Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas scored decisive victories on land and sea.
In 1191, during the Third Crusade, Richard I of England captured the island from Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus He used it as a major supply base that was relatively safe from the Saracens. A year later Richard sold the island to the Knights Templar, who, following a bloody revolt, in turn sold it to Guy of Lusignan. His brother and successor Amalric was recognized as King of Cyprus by Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor.
Following the death in 1473 of James II, the last Lusignan king, the Republic of Venice assumed control of the island, while the late king's Venetian widow, Queen Catherine Cornaro, reigned as figurehead. Venice formally annexed Cyprus in 1489, following the abdication of Catherine. The Venetians fortified Nicosia by building the Venetian Walls, and used it as an important commercial hub. Throughout Venetian rule, the Ottoman Empire frequently raided Cyprus. In 1539 the Ottomans destroyed Limassol and so fearing the worst, the Venetians also fortified Famagusta and Kyrenia.
During the almost four centuries of Latin rule, there existed two societies on Cyprus. The first consisted of Frankish nobles and their retinue, as well as Italian merchants and their families. The second, the majority of the population, consisted of Greek Cypriots, serfs and labourers. Although a determined effort was made to supplant native traditions and culture, the effort failed.
Â§Cyprus under the Ottoman Empire
In 1570, a full scale Ottoman assault with 60,000 troops brought the island under Ottoman control, despite stiff resistance by the inhabitants of Nicosia and Famagusta. The previous Latin elite were destroyed and the first significant demographic change since antiquity took place when Ottoman Janissaries were settled on the island. Ottoman forces capturing Cyprus massacred many Greek and Armenian Christian inhabitants.
The Ottomans abolished the feudal system previously in place and applied the millet system to Cyprus, under which non-Muslim peoples were governed by their own religious authorities. In a reversal from the days of Latin rule, the head of the Church of Cyprus was invested as leader of the Greek Cypriot population and acted as mediator between Christian Greek Cypriots and the Ottoman authorities. This status ensured that the Church of Cyprus was in a position to end the constant encroachments of the Roman Catholic Church. Ottoman rule of Cyprus was at times indifferent, at times oppressive, depending on the temperaments of the sultans and local officials, and the island began over 250 years of economic decline.
In 1828, modern Greece's first president Ioannis Kapodistrias whose maternal ancestors were Greek Cypriots, called for union of Cyprus with Greece, and numerous minor uprisings took place. Reaction to Ottoman misrule led to uprisings by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, although none were successful. By 1872, the population of the island had risen to 144,000 comprising 44,000 Muslims and 100,000 Christians. Many of the Muslims were secretly local Christians, called Linobambaki, that were pretending to be Muslims in the day and were becoming Christians again in the night. This was done in order to avoid the extra taxation and other discrimination against Christians, from the Ottomans. Centuries of neglect by the Turks, the unrelenting poverty of most of the people, and the ever-present tax collectors fuelled Greek nationalism, and by the 20th century the idea of enosis, or union, with newly independent Greece was firmly rooted among Greek Cypriots.
Â§Cyprus under the British Empire
In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1877â"1878) and the Congress of Berlin, Cyprus was leased to the British Empire which de facto took over its administration in 1878 (though, in terms of sovereignty, Cyprus remained a de jure Ottoman territory until 5 November 1914, together with Egypt and Sudan) in exchange for guarantees that Britain would use the island as a base to protect the Ottoman Empire against possible Russian aggression.
The island would serve Britain as a key military base for its colonial routes. By 1906, when the Famagusta harbour was completed, Cyprus was a strategic naval outpost overlooking the Suez Canal, the crucial main route to India which was then Britain's most important overseas possession. Following the outbreak of World War I and the decision of the Ottoman Empire to join the war on the side of the Central Powers, on 5 November 1914 the British Empire formally annexed Cyprus and declared the Ottoman Khedivate of Egypt and Sudan a Sultanate and British protectorate.
In 1915, Britain offered Cyprus to Constantine I of Greece on condition that Greece join the war on the side of the British, which he declined. In 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, the nascent Turkish republic relinquished any claim to Cyprus, and in 1925 it was declared a British crown colony. Many Greek and Turkish Cypriots fought in the British Army during both world wars. During World War II, many enlisted in the Cyprus Regiment.
In January 1950, the Church of Cyprus organized a referendum, which was boycotted by the Turkish Cypriot community, where 96% of Greeks of Cyprus voted in favour of "enosis", meaning union with Greece, The Greeks were 80.2% of the total island' s population at the time (census 1946). Restricted autonomy under a constitution was proposed by the British administration but eventually rejected. In 1955 the EOKA organisation was founded, seeking independence and union with Greece through armed struggle. At the same time the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT), calling for Taksim, or partition, was established by the Turkish Cypriots as a counterweight. Turmoil on the island was met with force by the British.
Â§Independence and inter-communal violence
On 16 August 1960, Cyprus attained independence after the ZÃ¼rich and London Agreement between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey. Cyprus had a total population of 573,566; of whom 442,138 (77.1%) were Greeks, 104,320 (18.2%) Turks, and 27,108 (4.7%) others The UK retained the two Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, while government posts and public offices were allocated by ethnic quotas, giving the minority Turkish Cypriots a permanent veto, 30% in parliament and administration, and granting the three mother-states guarantor rights.
However, the division power as foreseen by the constitution soon resulted in legal impasses and discontent on both sides, and EOKA and TMT began training again, with the military support of Greece and Turkey respectively. The Greek Cypriot leadership believed that the rights given to Turkish Cypriots under the 1960 constitution were too extensive and designed the Akritas plan, which was aimed at reforming the constitution in favor of Greek Cypriots, persuading the international community about the correctness of the changes and violently subjugating Turkish Cypriots in a few days should they not accept the plan. Tensions were heightened when Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios III called for constitutional changes, which were rejected by Turkey and opposed by Turkish Cypriots.
Intercommunal violence erupted on December 21, 1963, when two Turkish Cypriots were killed at an incident involving the Greek Cypriot police. The violence resulted in the death of 364 Turkish and 174 Greek Cypriots, destruction of 109 Turkish Cypriot or mixed villages and displacement of 25,000-30,000 Turkish Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots withdrew from the administration, claiming that the republic had lost its legitimacy, started living in enclaves; the republic's structure was changed unilaterally by Makarios and Nicosia was divided by the Green Line, with the deployment of UNFICYP troops.
In 1964, Turkey tried to invade Cyprus in response to the continuing Cypriot intercommunal violence. But Turkey was stopped by a strongly worded telegram from the US President Lyndon B. Johnson on 5 June, warning that the US would not stand beside Turkey in case of a consequential Soviet invasion of Turkish territory.
Â§1974 coup, Turkish invasion and division
On 15 July 1974, the Greek military junta under Dimitrios Ioannides carried out a coup d'Ã©tat in Cyprus, to unite the island with Greece. The coup ousted president Makarios III and replaced him with pro-enosis nationalist Nikos Sampson. Five days later, on 20 July 1974, the Turkish army invaded the island claiming and pretending to restore the constitutional order, of the Republic of Cyprus by claiming a right to intervene as one of the guarantors of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. The constitutional order was never restored.
The Turkish air force began bombing Greek positions on Cyprus, and hundreds of paratroops were dropped in the area between Nicosia and Kyrenia, where well-armed Turkish Cypriot enclaves had been long-established; while off the Kyrenia coast, Turkish troop ships landed 6,000 men as well as tanks, trucks and armoured vehicles.
Three days later, when a ceasefire had been agreed, Turkey had landed 30,000 troops on the island and captured Kyrenia, the corridor linking Kyrenia to Nicosia, and Turkish Cypriot quarter of Nicosia itself. The junta in Athens, and then the Sampson regime in Cyprus fell from power. In Nicosia, Glafkos Clerides assumed the presidency and constitutional order was restored, removing the pretext for the Turkish invasion. But during the peace negotiations in Geneva, the Turkish government reinforced their Kyrenia bridgehead and prepared for a second invasion. The invasion began on 14 August and resulted in the seizure of Morphou, Karpass, Famagusta and the Mesaoria.
International pressure led to a ceasefire, and by then 37% of the island had been taken over by the Turks and 180,000 Greek Cypriots had been evicted from their homes in the north. At the same time, around 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to the areas under the control of the Turkish Forces and settled in the properties of the displaced Greek Cypriots. Among a variety of sanctions against Turkey, in mid-1975 the US Congress imposed an arms embargo on Turkey for using American-supplied equipment during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
After the restoration of constitutional order and the return of Archbishop Makarios III to Cyprus in December 1974, Turkish troops remained, occupying the northeastern portion of the island. In 1983, the leader of Turkish Cypriots proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognised by Turkey. There are 1,534 Greek Cypriots and 502 Turkish Cypriots missing as a result of the fighting.
The events of the summer of 1974 dominate the politics on the island, as well as Greco-Turkish relations. Around 150,000 settlers from Turkey are believed to be living in the north-many of which were forced from Turkey by the Turkish government- in violation of the Geneva Convention and various UN resolutions. Following the invasion and the capture of its northern territory by Turkish troops, the Republic of Cyprus announced that all of its ports of entry in the north were closed, as they were effectively not under its control.
The Turkish invasion and occupation and the declaration of independence of the TRNC have been condemned by several United Nations resolutions. The Security Council reaffirms this every year. The last major effort to settle the Cyprus dispute was the Annan Plan in 2004, drafted by the then Secretary General, Kofi Annan. The plan was put to a referendum in both the so-called TRNC and the Republic of Cyprus. 65% of Turkish Cypriots voted in support of the plan and 74% Greek Cypriots voted against the plan, who perceived it to disproportionately favour Turks. In total, 66.7% of the voters, both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, rejected the Annan Plan V. On 1 May 2004 Cyprus joined the European Union, together with nine other countries. Cyprus was accepted into the EU as a whole, although the EU legislation is suspended in the territory occupied by Turkey (TRNC), until a final settlement of the Cyprus problem. In July 2006, the island served as a haven for people fleeing Lebanon, due to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah (also called "The July War").
In March 2008, a wall that had stood for decades at the boundary between the Republic of Cyprus and the UN buffer zone was demolished. The wall had cut across Ledra Street in the heart of Nicosia and was seen as a strong symbol of the island's 32-year division. On 3 April 2008, Ledra Street was reopened in the presence of Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia (both in terms of area and population). It is also the world's 81st largest by area and world's 51st largest by population. It measures 240 kilometres (149Â mi) long from end to end and 100 kilometres (62Â mi) wide at its widest point, with Turkey 75 kilometres (47Â mi) to the north. It lies between latitudes 34Â° and 36Â° N, and longitudes 32Â° and 35Â° E.
Other neighbouring territories include Syria and Lebanon to the east (105 and 108 kilometres (65 and 67Â mi), respectively), Israel 200 kilometres (124Â mi) to the southeast, Egypt 380 kilometres (236Â mi) to the south, and Greece to the northwest: 280 kilometres (174Â mi) to the small Dodecanesian island of Kastellorizo (Megisti), 400 kilometres (249Â mi) to Rhodes and 800 kilometres (497Â mi) to the Greek mainland.
The physical relief of the island is dominated by two mountain ranges, the Troodos Mountains and the smaller Kyrenia Range, and the central plain they encompass, the Mesaoria. The Mesaoria plain is drained by the Pedieos River, the longest on the island. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western portions of the island and account for roughly half its area. The highest point on Cyprus is Mount Olympus at 1,952Â m (6,404Â ft), located in the centre of the Troodos range. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies substantially less area, and elevations are lower, reaching a maximum of 1,024Â m (3,360Â ft).
Geopolitically, the island is subdivided into four main segments. The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern two-thirds of the island (59.74%). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus occupies the northern third (34.85%), and the United Nations-controlled Green Line provides a buffer zone that separates the two and covers 2.67% of the island. Lastly, two bases under British sovereignty are located on the island: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, covering the remaining 2.74%.
Cyprus has a subtropical climate â" Mediterranean and semi-arid type (in the north-eastern part of the island) â" KÃ¶ppen climate classifications Csa and Bsh, with very mild winters (on the coast) and warm to hot summers. Snow is possible only in the Troodos Mountains in the central part of island. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry.
Cyprus has the warmest climate (and warmest winters) in the Mediterranean part of the European Union. The average annual temperature on the coast is around 24Â Â°C (75Â Â°F) during the day and 14Â Â°C (57Â Â°F) at night. Generally, summers last about eight months, beginning in April with average temperatures of 21â"23Â Â°C (70â"73Â Â°F) during the day and 11â"13Â Â°C (52â"55Â Â°F) at night, and ending in November with average temperatures of 22â"23Â Â°C (72â"73Â Â°F) during the day and 12â"14Â Â°C (54â"57Â Â°F) at night, although in the remaining four months temperatures sometimes exceed 20Â Â°C (68Â Â°F).
Among all cities in the Mediterranean part of the European Union, Limassol has the warmest winters, in the period January â" February average temperature is 17â"18Â Â°C (63â"64Â Â°F) during the day and 8â"9Â Â°C (46â"48Â Â°F) at night, in other coastal locations in Cyprus is generally 16â"17Â Â°C (61â"63Â Â°F) during the day and 7â"9Â Â°C (45â"48Â Â°F) at night. In March and December in Limassol average temperatures is 19â"20Â Â°C (66â"68Â Â°F) during the day and 10â"11Â Â°C (50â"52Â Â°F) at night, in other coastal locations in Cyprus is generally 17â"19Â Â°C (63â"66Â Â°F) during the day and 8â"11Â Â°C (46â"52Â Â°F) at night.
The middle of summer is hot â" in July and August on the coast the average temperature is usually around 33Â Â°C (91Â Â°F) during the day and around 23Â Â°C (73Â Â°F) at night (inside the island, in the highlands average temperature exceeds 35Â Â°C (95Â Â°F)) while in the June and September on the coast the average temperature is usually around 30Â Â°C (86Â Â°F) during the day and around 20Â Â°C (68Â Â°F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are rare. Temperatures inside the island are more stringent, with colder winters and more hot summers compared with the coast of the island.
Average annual temperature of sea is 21â"22Â Â°C (70â"72Â Â°F), from 17Â Â°C (63Â Â°F) in February to 27â"28Â Â°C (81â"82Â Â°F) in August (depending on the location). In total 7 months â" from May to November â" the average sea temperature exceeds 20Â Â°C (68Â Â°F).
Sunshine hours on the coast are around 3,400 per year, from an average of 5â"6 hours of sunshine per day in December to an average of 12â"13 hours in July. This is about double that of cities in the northern half of Europe; for comparison, London receives about 1,461 per year. In December, London receives about 37 hours of sunshine while coastal locations in Cyprus about 180 hours (that is, as much as in May in London).
Cyprus suffers from a shortage of water. The country relies heavily on rain to provide household water, and for many years now the average annual rainfall seems to be decreasing. Between 2001 and 2004, exceptionally heavy annual rainfall pushed water reserves up, with supply exceeding demand, allowing total storage in the island's reservoirs to rise to an all-time high by the start of 2005. However, since then demand has increased annually â" a result of local population growth, foreigners moving to Cyprus and the number of visiting tourists â" while supply has fallen. Cyprus has a total of 107 dams (plus one currently under construction) and reservoirs, with a total water storage capacity of about 330,000,000Â m3 (1.2Ã1010Â cuÂ ft).
Dams remain the principal source of water both for domestic and agricultural use. Water desalination plants are gradually being constructed to deal with recent years of prolonged drought. The Government has invested heavily in the creation of water desalination plants which have supplied almost 50 per cent of domestic water since 2001. Efforts have also been made to raise public awareness of the situation and to encourage domestic water users to take more responsibility for the conservation of this increasingly scarce commodity.
Turkey is building a water pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea from Anamur on its southern coast to the northern coast of Cyprus, to supply Northern Cyprus with potable and irrigation water (see Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project).
Cyprus is a presidential republic. The head of state and of the government is elected by a process of universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised by the government with legislative power vested in the House of Representatives whilst the Judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature.
The 1960 Constitution provided for a presidential system of government with independent executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as a complex system of checks and balances including a weighted power-sharing ratio designed to protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots. The executive was led by a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice-president elected by their respective communities for five-year terms and each possessing a right of veto over certain types of legislation and executive decisions. Legislative power rested on the House of Representatives who were also elected on the basis of separate voters' rolls.
Since 1965, following clashes between the two communities, the Turkish Cypriot seats in the House remain vacant. Turkish Cypriots refused to establish the state of affairs before the invasion of Cyprus as is evident in the Secretary-General of the United Nations who said "The Turkish Cypriot leaders have adhered to a rigid stand against any measures which might involve having members of the two communities live and work together, or which might place Turkish Cypriots in situations where they would have to acknowledge the authority of Government agents. Indeed, since the Turkish Cypriot leadership is committed to physical and geographical separation of the communities as a political goal, it is not likely to encourage activities by Turkish Cypriots which may be interpreted as demonstrating the merits of an alternative policy. By 1974 the two communities had returned to a more tolerant state of living.
In 1974 Cyprus was divided de facto when the Turkish army occupied the northern third of the island. The Turkish Cypriots subsequently declared independence in 1983 as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but were recognized only by Turkey. In 1985 the TRNC adopted a constitution and held its first elections. The United Nations recognises the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the entire island of Cyprus.
The House of Representatives currently has 59 members elected for a five-year term, 56 members by proportional representation and 3 observer members representing the Armenian, Latin and Maronite minorities. 24 seats are allocated to the Turkish community but remain vacant since 1964. The political environment is dominated by the communist AKEL, the liberal conservative Democratic Rally, the centrist Democratic Party, the social-democratic EDEK and the centrist EURO.KO. In 2008, Dimitris Christofias became the country's first Communist head of state. Due to his involvement in the 2012â"13 Cypriot financial crisis, Christofias did not run for re-election in 2013. The Presidential election in 2013 resulted in Democratic Rally candidate Nicos Anastasiades winning 57.48% of the vote. As a result, Anastasiades was sworn in on and has been President since 28 February 2013.
The Republic of Cyprus is divided into six districts: Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos.
Â§Exclaves and enclaves
Cyprus has four exclaves, all in territory that belongs to the British Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia. The first two are the villages of Ormidhia and Xylotymvou. The third is the Dhekelia Power Station which is divided by a British road into two parts. The northern part is an exclave, like the two villages, whereas the southern part is located by the sea and therefore not an exclave although it has no territorial waters of its own.
The UN buffer zone runs up against Dhekelia and picks up again from its east side off Ayios Nikolaos and is connected to the rest of Dhekelia by a thin land corridor. In that sense the buffer zone turns the Paralimni area on the southeast corner of the island into a de facto, though not de jure, exclave.
The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the following international groups: Australia Group, CN, CE, CFSP, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ITUC, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO.
In "Freedom in the World 2011", Freedom House rated the democracy of Cyprus as "free". The constant focus on the division of the island can sometimes mask other human rights issues. Prostitution has been described as rife in both the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-controlled regions leading to criticism from the United States government for their alleged lack of controls on the sex trade and for the role of Cyprus as one of the main destinations for human trafficking from Eastern Europe.
The recent assassination of leftist musician Pavlos Fyssas in Athens, Greece, allegedly by a militant of Golden Dawn, arouse concerns in Cyprus that rising extremism is not being adequately addressed in the country. The Justice Minister, Ionas Nicolaou, admitted that Cypriot police would investigate material on racist, xenophobic and extremist activities taking place in the country, including alleged evidence that armed military exercises were being carried out in summer camps for youth.
The Cypriot National Guard is the main military institution of the Republic of Cyprus. It is a combined arms force, with land, air and naval elements. The National Guard is a required 24-month service for all men upon completing their 17th birthday. The land forces of the Cypriot National Guard comprise the following units:
- First Infantry Division (ÎÎ· ÎÎµÏÎ±ÏÏÎ¯Î± Î Î)
- Second Infantry Division (ÎÎÎ± ÎÎµÏÎ±ÏÏÎ¯Î± Î Î)
- Fourth Infantry Brigade (ÎVÎ· Î¤Î±Î¾Î¹Î±ÏÏÎ¯Î± Î Î)
- Twentieth Armoured Brigade (Î§Î§Î· Î¤Î Î¤Î±Î¾Î¹Î±ÏÏÎ¯Î±)
- Third Support Brigade (ÎÎÎÎ· Î¤Î±Î¾Î¹Î±ÏÏÎ¯Î± Î¥Î )
- Eighth Support Brigade (VIIIÎ· Î¤Î±Î¾Î¹Î±ÏÏÎ¯Î± Î¥Î )
The air force includes the 449th Helicopter Gunship Squadron (449 ÎÎ'Î) â" operating SA-342L and Bell 206 and the 450th Helicopter Gunship Squadron (450 ME/P) â" operating Mi-35P, BN-2B and PC-9. Current Senior officers include Supreme Commander, Cypriot National Guard, Lt. General Stylianos Nasis, and Chief of Staff, Cypriot National Guard: Maj. General Mihalis Flerianos. The Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion was the worst peacetime military accident ever recorded in Cyprus. The incident occurred on 11 July 2011.
The Cypriot economy has diversified and become prosperous in recent years. However, in 2012 it became affected by the Eurozone financial and banking crisis. In June 2012, the Cypriot government announced it would need â¬1.8 billion of foreign aid to support the Cyprus Popular Bank, and this was followed by Fitch downgrading Cyprus's credit rating to junk status. Fitch said Cyprus would need an additional â¬4 billion to support its banks and the downgrade was mainly due to the exposure of Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank, Cyprus's three largest banks, to the Greek financial crisis.
The 2012â"2013 Cypriot financial crisis led to an agreement with the Eurogroup in March 2013 to split the country's second largest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), into a "bad" bank which would be wound down over time and a "good" bank which would be absorbed by the Bank of Cyprus. In return for a â¬10 billion bailout from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Cypriot government would be required to impose a significant haircut on uninsured deposits, a large proportion of which were held by wealthy Russians who used Cyprus as a tax haven. Insured deposits of â¬100,000 or less would not be affected.
According to the latest International Monetary Fund estimates, its per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power) at $28,381 is just above the average of the European Union. Cyprus has been sought as a base for several offshore businesses for its low tax rates. Tourism, financial services and shipping are significant parts of the economy. Economic policy of the Cyprus government has focused on meeting the criteria for admission to the European Union. The Cypriot government adopted the euro as the national currency on 1 January 2008.
In recent years significant quantities of offshore natural gas have been discovered in the area known as Aphrodite in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 175 kilometres (109 miles) south of Limassol at 33Â°5â²40â³N and 32Â°59â²0â³E. However, Turkey's offshore drilling companies have accessed both natural gas and oil resources since 2013. Cyprus demarcated its maritime border with Egypt in 2003, and with Lebanon in 2007. Cyprus and Israel demarcated their maritime border in 2010, and in August 2011, the US-based firm Noble Energy entered into a production-sharing agreement with the Cypriot government regarding the block's commercial development.
Turkey, which does not recognize the border agreements of Cyprus with its neighbours, threatened to mobilize its naval forces in the event that Cyprus would proceed with plans to begin drilling at Block 12. Cyprus' drilling efforts have the support of the US, EU, and UN, and on 19 September 2011 drilling in Block 12 began without any incidents being reported.
The island has witnessed a massive growth in tourism over the years and as such the property rental market in Cyprus has grown. Added to this is the capital growth in property that has been created from the demand of incoming investors and property buyers to the island. In late 2013, the Cyprus Town Planning Department announced a series of incentives to help ignite the property market and further drive growth in new-built property developments in town centres across the country. This followed earlier measures for new and faster immigration permits to third country nationals investing in Cyprus property.
Available modes of transport are by road, sea and air. Of the 10,663Â km (6,626Â mi) of roads in the Republic of Cyprus in 1998, 6,249Â km (3,883Â mi) were paved, and 4,414Â km (2,743Â mi) were unpaved. In 1996 the Turkish-occupied area had a similar ratio of paved to unpaved, with approximately 1,370Â km (850Â mi) of paved road and 980Â km (610Â mi) unpaved. Cyprus is one of only four EU nations in which vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road, a remnant of British colonisation (the others being Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom).
There are several modern motorways in Cyprus. A series of motorways runs along the coast from Paphos east to Ayia Napa, with two motorways running inland to Nicosia, one from Limassol and one from Larnaca.
- A1 Nicosia to Limassol
- A2 connects A1 near Pera Chorio with A3 by Larnaca
- A3 Larnaca to Agia Napa
- A5 connects A1 near Kofinou with A3 by Larnaca
- A6 Pafos to Limassol
- A9 Nicosia to Astromeritis
Per capita private car ownership is the 29th-highest in the world. There were approximately 344,000 privately owned vehicles, and a total of 517,000 registered motor vehicles in the Republic of Cyprus in 2006. In 2006 extensive plans were announced to improve and expand bus services and restructure public transport throughout Cyprus, with the financial backing of the European Union Development Bank. In 2010 the new revised and expanded bus network was implemented.
Cyprus has several heliports and two international airports: Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport. A third airport, Ercan International Airport operates in the Turkish Cypriot administered area with direct flights only to Turkey (Turkish Cypriot ports are closed to international traffic apart from Turkey). Nicosia International Airport has been closed since 1974.
The main harbours of the island are Limassol and Larnaca, which service cargo, passenger and cruise ships.
Cyta, the state-owned telecommunications company, manages most telecommunications and Internet connections on the island. However, following the recent liberalization of the sector, a few private telecommunications companies have emerged including MTN, Cablenet, OTEnet Telecom, Omega Telecom and PrimeTel. In the Turkish-controlled area of Cyprus, three companies are also present: Turkcell, KKTC Telsim and Turk Telekom.
According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2001 Greek Cypriots comprised 77%, Turkish Cypriots 18%, and others 5% of the Cypriot population. At the time of the 2011 government census, there were 10,520 people of Russian origin living in Cyprus.
According to the first population census after the declaration of independence, carried out in December 1960 and covering the entire island, Cyprus had a total population of 573,566; of whom 442,138 (77.1%) were Greeks, 104,320 (18.2%) Turkish, and 27,108 (4.7%) others.
Due to the inter-communal ethnic tensions between 1963 and 1974, an island-wide census was regarded as impossible. Nevertheless, the Greek Cypriots conducted one in 1973, without the Turkish Cypriot populace. According to this census, the Greek Cypriot population was 482,000. One year later, in 1974, the Cypriot government's Department of Statistics and Research estimated the total population of Cyprus at 641,000; of whom 506,000 (78.9%) were Greeks, and 118,000 (18.4%) Turkish. After the partition of the island in 1974, Greeks conducted four more censuses: in 1976, 1982, 1992 and 2001; these excluded the Turkish population which was resident in the northern part of the island.
According to the Republic of Cyprus's latest estimate, in 2005, the number of Cypriot citizens currently living in the Republic of Cyprus is around 871,036. In addition to this, the Republic of Cyprus is home to 110,200 foreign permanent residents and an estimated 10,000â"30,000 undocumented illegal immigrants currently living in the south of the island.
According to the 2006 census carried out by Northern Cyprus, there were 256,644 (de jure) people living in Northern Cyprus. 178,031 were citizens of Northern Cyprus, of whom 147,405 were born in Cyprus (112,534 from the north; 32,538 from the south; 371 did not indicate what part of Cyprus they were from); 27,333 born in Turkey; 2,482 born in the UK and 913 born in Bulgaria. Of the 147,405 citizens born in Cyprus, 120,031 say both parents were born in Cyprus; 16,824 say both parents born in Turkey; 10,361 have one parent born in Turkey and one parent born in Cyprus.
In 2010, the International Crisis Group estimated that the total population of Cyprus was 1.1Â million, of which there was an estimated 300,000 residents in the north, perhaps half of whom were either born in Turkey or are children of such settlers. One source claims that the population in the north has reached 500,000, 50% of which are thought to be Turkish settlers or Cypriot-born children of such settlers.
The villages of Potamia (Nicosia district) and Pyla in the Larnaca District are the only settlements in the Republic of Cyprus with a mixed Greek and Turkish Cypriot population.
Y-Dna haplogroups are found at the following frequencies in Cyprus: J (43.07% including 6.20% J1), E1b1b (20.00%), R1 (12.30% including 9.2% R1b), F (9.20%), I (7.70%), K (4.60%), A (3.10%). J, K, F and E1b1b haplogroups consist of lineages with differential distribution within Middle East, North Africa and Europe while R1 and I are typical in West European populations.
Outside Cyprus there is a significant and thriving Greek Cypriot diaspora and Turkish Cypriot diaspora in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, Greece and Turkey.
The majority of Greek Cypriots identify as Greek Orthodox, whereas most Turkish Cypriots are adherents of Sunni Islam. According to Eurobarometer 2005, Cyprus is the second most religious state in the European Union, after Malta (see Religion in the European Union). The first President of Cyprus, Makarios III, was an archbishop. The current leader of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus is Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
Hala Sultan Tekke, situated near the Larnaca Salt Lake, is considered by some secular orientalists as the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and an object of pilgrimage for both Muslims and Christians.
According to the 2001 census carried out in the Government-controlled area, 94.8% of the population are Eastern Orthodox, 0.9% Armenians and Maronites, 1.5% Roman Catholics, 1.0% Church of England, and 0.6% Muslims. The remaining 1.3% adhere to other religious denominations or did not state their religion.
Cyprus has two official languages, Greek and Turkish. Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic are recognized as minority languages. Although without official status, English is widely spoken. English features on road signs, public notices, and in advertisements, etc. English was the sole official language during British colonial rule and lingua franca (until 1960) and continued to be used (de facto) in courts of law until 1989 and in legislature until 1996. A reported 80.4% of Cypriots have command of the English language as second language (L2). Russian is widely spoken among the country's minorities, residents and citizens of post-Soviet countries, as well as Pontic Greeks. It is used and spoken by approximately 100,000 people, including Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Georgians and Bulgarians. Russian, after English and Greek, is the third language used on many signs of shops and restaurants, particularly in Limassol and Paphos. In addition to these languages, 12% speak French and 5% speak German.
The everyday spoken language of Greek Cypriots is Cypriot Greek and that of Turkish Cypriots is Cypriot Turkish. These both differ from their respective standard register quite significantly.
Cyprus has a highly developed system of primary and secondary education offering both public and private education. The high quality of instruction can be attributed in part to the fact that nearly 7% of the GDP is spent on education which makes Cyprus one of the top three spenders of education in the EU along with Denmark and Sweden.
State schools are generally seen as equivalent in quality of education to private-sector institutions. However, the value of a state high-school diploma is limited by the fact that the grades obtained account for only around 25% of the final grade for each topic, with the remaining 75% assigned by the teacher during the semester, in a minimally transparent way. Cypriot universities (like universities in Greece) ignore high school grades almost entirely for admissions purposes. While a high-school diploma is mandatory for university attendance, admissions are decided almost exclusively on the basis of scores at centrally administered university entrance examinations that all university candidates are required to take.
The majority of Cypriots receive their higher education at Greek, British, Turkish, other European and North American universities. It is noteworthy that Cyprus currently has the highest percentage of citizens of working age who have higher-level education in the EU at 30% which is ahead of Finland's 29.5%. In addition, 47% of its population aged 25â"34 have tertiary education, which is the highest in the EU. The body of Cypriot students is highly mobile, with 78.7% studying in a university outside Cyprus.
The culture of Cyprus is divided between the two distinct cultures of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Each community maintains its own culture, linked to the cultures of Greece and Turkey, and there is little cultural interchange between the two groups. The Greek culture has been present on the island since antiquity. The Turkish culture arrived with the invasion of the Ottoman Empire in 1570. British rule left the island still divided with no unified culture.
The art history of Cyprus can be said to stretch back up to 10,000 years, following the discovery of a series of Chalcolithic period carved figures in the villages of Khoirokoitia and Lempa. The island is the home to numerous examples of high quality religious icon painting from the Middle Ages as well as many painted churches. Cypriot architecture was heavily influenced by French Gothic and Italian renaissance introduced in the island during the era of Latin domination (1191â"1571).
In modern times Cypriot art history begins with the painter Vassilis Vryonides (1883â"1958) who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Arguably the two founding fathers of modern Cypriot art were Adamantios Diamantis (1900â"1994) who studied at London's Royal College of Art and Christopheros Savva (1924â"1968) who also studied in London, at Saint Martin's School of Art. In many ways these two artists set the template for subsequent Cypriot art and both their artistic styles and the patterns of their education remain influential to this day. In particular the majority of Cypriot artists still train in England while others train at art schools in Greece and local art institutions such as the Cyprus College of Art, University of Nicosia and the Frederick Institute of Technology.
One of the features of Cypriot art is a tendency towards figurative painting although conceptual art is being rigorously promoted by a number of art "institutions" and most notably the Nicosia Municipal Art Centre . Municipal art galleries exist in all the main towns and there is a large and lively commercial art scene. Cyprus was due to host the international art festival Manifesta in 2006 but this was cancelled at the last minute following a dispute between the Dutch organizers of Manifesta and the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture over the location of some of the Manifesta events in the Turkish sector of the capital Nicosia.
Other notable Cypriot artists include Rhea Bailey, Mihail Kkasialos, Ioannis Kissonergis, Theodoulos Gregoriou, Helene Black, George Skoteinos, Kalopedis family, Panayiotis Kalorkoti, Nicos Nicolaides, Stass Paraskos, ArestÃs StasÃ, Telemachos Kanthos, Konstantia Sofokleous and Chris Achilleos.
The traditional folk music of Cyprus has several common elements with Greek, Turkish, and Arabic music including Greco-Turkish dances such as the sousta, syrtos, zeibekikos, tatsia, and karsilamas as well as the Middle Eastern-inspired tsifteteli and arapies. There is also a form of musical poetry known as chattista which is often performed at traditional feasts and celebrations. The instruments commonly associated with Cyprus folk music are the bouzouki, oud ("outi"), violin ("fkiolin"), lute ("laouto"), accordion, Cyprus flute ("pithkiavlin") and percussion (including the "toumperleki"). Composers associated with traditional Cypriot music include Evagoras Karageorgis, Marios Tokas, Solon Michaelides and Savvas Salides. Among musicians is also the acclaimed pianist Cyprien Katsaris.
Popular music in Cyprus is generally influenced by the Greek LaÃ¯ka scene; artists who play in this genre include international platinum star Anna Vissi, Evridiki, and Sarbel. Hip Hop, R&B and reggae have been supported by the emergence of Cypriot rap and the urban music scene at Ayia Napa. Cypriot rock music and Ãntekhno rock is often associated with artists such as Michalis Hatzigiannis and Alkinoos Ioannidis. Metal also has a small following in Cyprus represented by bands such as Armageddon (rev.16:16), Blynd, Winter's Verge and Quadraphonic.
Literary production of the antiquity includes the Cypria, an epic poem, probably composed in the late 7th century BC and attributed to Stasinus. The Cypria is one of the very first specimens of Greek and European poetry. The Cypriot Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoic School of Philosophy.
Epic poetry, notably the "acritic songs", flourished during Middle Ages. Two chronicles, one written by Leontios Machairas and the other by Georgios Voustronios, cover the entire Middle Ages until the end of Frankish rule (4th centuryâ"1489). PoÃ¨mes d'amour written in medieval Greek Cypriot date back from the 16th century. Some of them are actual translations of poems written by Petrarch, Bembo, Ariosto and G. Sannazzaro. Many Cypriot scholars fled Cyprus at troubled times such as Ioannis Kigalas (c. 1622â"1687) who migrated from Cyprus to Italy in the 17th century, several of his works have survived in books of other scholars.
Hasan Hilmi Efendi, a Turkish Cypriot poet, was rewarded by the Ottoman sultan Mahmud II and said to be the "sultan of the poems".
Modern literary figures from Cyprus include the poet and writer Kostas Montis, poet Kyriakos Charalambides, poet Michalis Pasiardis, writer Nicos Nicolaides, Stylianos Atteshlis, Altheides, Loukis Akritas and Demetris Th. Gotsis. Dimitris Lipertis, Vasilis Michaelides and Pavlos Liasides are folk poets who wrote poems mainly in the Cypriot-Greek dialect. Lawrence Durrell lived in Northern Cyprus from 1952 until 26 August 1956 and wrote the book Bitter Lemons concerning his time there which won the second Duff Cooper Prize in 1957. The majority of the play Othello by William Shakespeare is set on the island of Cyprus. Cyprus also figures in religious literature such as the Acts of the Apostles according to which the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached on the island.
The most renowned Cypriot director to have worked abroad is Michael Cacoyannis.
Cypriot cinema was born much later than that of other countries. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, George Filis produced and directed Gregoris Afxentiou, Etsi Prodothike i Kypros (Cyprus Betrayal), and The Mega Document.
In 1994, cinematographic production received a boost with the establishment of the Cinema Advisory Committee. As of the year 2000, the annual amount set aside in the national budget stands at Cy Pounds 500,000 (about 850,000 Euros). In addition to government grants, Cypriot co-productions are eligible for funding from the Council of Europe's Eurimages Fund, which finances European film co-productions. To date, four feature-length films in which a Cypriot was executive producer have received funding from Eurimages. The first was I Sphagi tou Kokora (1992), completed in 1996, Hellados (And the Trains Fly to the Sky, 1995), which is currently in post-production, and Costas Demetriou's O Dromos gia tin Ithaki (The Road to Ithaka, 1997) which premiered in March 2000. The theme song to The Road to Ithaka was composed by Costas Cacoyannis and sung by Alexia Vassiliou. In September 1999, To Tama (The Promise) by Andreas Pantzis also received funding from the Eurimages Fund. In 2009 the Greek director, writer and producer Vassilis Mazomenos filmed in Cyprus Guilt. The film was awarded in 2012 with the Best Screenwriting and Best Photography award in London Greek Film Festival (U.K.) and was official selection in Montreal World Film Festival, Cairo International Film Festival, India International Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Fantasporto and opening film in the Panorama of European Cinema in Athens. In 2010 the film was Nominated for the best film from the Hellenic Film Academy.
Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus and was initially made during the Medieval Byzantine period. Halloumi (Hellim) is commonly served sliced, either fresh or grilled, as an appetiser.
Seafood and fish dishes include squid, octopus, red mullet, and sea bass. Cucumber and tomato are used widely in salads. Common vegetable preparations include potatoes in olive oil and parsley, pickled cauliflower and beets, asparagus and taro. Other traditional delicacies of are meat marinated in dried coriander seeds and wine, and eventually dried and smoked, such as lountza (smoked pork loin), charcoal-grilled lamb, souvlaki (pork and chicken cooked over charcoal), and sheftalia (minced meat wrapped in mesentery). Pourgouri (bulgur, cracked wheat) is the traditional source of carbohydrate other than bread, and is used to make the delicacy koubes.
Fresh vegetables and fruits are common ingredients. Frequently used vegetables include courgettes, green peppers, okra, green beans, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and grape leaves, and pulses such as beans, broad beans, peas, black-eyed beans, chick-peas and lentils. The most common fruits and nuts are pears, apples, grapes, oranges, mandarines, nectarines, medlar, blackberries, cherry, strawberries, figs, watermelon, melon, avocado, lemon, pistachio, almond, chestnut, walnut, and hazelnut.
Cyprus is also well known for its desserts, including lokum (also known as Turkish Delight) and Soutzoukos. This island has protected geographical indication (PGI) for its lokum produced in the village of Geroskipou.
Sport governing bodies include the Cyprus Football Association, Cyprus Basketball Federation, Cyprus Volleyball Federation, Cyprus Automobile Association, Cyprus Badminton Federation, Cyprus Cricket Association, Cyprus Rugby Federation and the Cyprus Pool Association, who joined the European Blackball Association in 2014 and competed at the European Championships in Bridlington, England from 26 April to 1 May 2014.
Notable teams in the Cyprus League include APOEL FC, Anorthosis Famagusta FC, AC Omonia, AEL Lemesos, Apollon FC, Nea Salamis Famagusta FC and AEK Larnaca FC. Stadiums or sports venues include the GSP Stadium (the largest in the Republic of Cyprus-controlled areas), Tsirion Stadium (second largest), Neo GSZ Stadium, Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Ammochostos Stadium and Makario Stadium.
In the 2008â"09 season, Anorthosis Famagusta FC was the first Cypriot team to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Group stage. Next season, APOEL FC qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage, and reached the last 8 of the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League after finishing top of its group and beating French Olympique Lyonnais in the Round of 16.
The Cyprus national rugby union team known as The Moufflons currently holds the record for most consecutive international wins, which is especially notable as the Cyprus Rugby Federation was only formed in 2006.
Tennis player Marcos Baghdatis was ranked 8th in the world, was a finalist at the Australian Open, and reached the Wimbledon semi-final, all in 2006. High jumper Kyriakos Ioannou achieved a jump of 2.35Â m at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan, in 2007, winning the bronze medal. He has been ranked third in the world. In motorsports, Tio Ellinas is a successful race car driver, currently racing in the GP3 Series for Marussia Manor Motorsport. There is also mixed martial artist Costas Philippou, who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion's middleweight division. Costas holds a 6-3 record in UFC bouts, and recently defeated "The Monsoon" Lorenz Larkin with a Knockout in the 1st round.
Also notable for a Mediterranean island, the siblings Christopher and Sophia Papamichalopoulou qualified for the 2010 Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, Canada. They were the only athletes who managed to qualify and thus represented Cyprus at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The country's first ever Olympic medal, a silver medal, was won by the sailor Pavlos Kontides, at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Men's Laser class.
- Cyprus entry at The World Factbook
- Timeline of Cyprus by BBC
- Cyprus from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Cyprus information from the United States Department of State includes Background Notes, Country Study and major reports
- Cyprus at DMOZ
- Cyprus profile from the BBC News
- The UN in Cyprus
- Cypriot Pottery, Bryn Mawr College Art and Artifact Collections
- Cyprus High Commission Trade Centre â" London
- Cypriot Diaspora Project
- Republic of Cyprus â" English Language
- Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus
- Press and Information Office
- Annan Plan at annanplan.com
- Chief of State and Cabinet Members
- Cyprus Elections to European Parliament
- Read about Cyprus on visitcyprus.com â" the official travel portal for Cyprus
- AroundCyprus.net â" Interactive virtual guide featuring attractions and activities on the island
- Cyprus informational portal and open platform for contribution of Cyprus-related content â" www.Cyprus.com
- Geographic data related to Cyprus at OpenStreetMap
- Official publications
- The British government's Foreign Affairs Committee report on Cyprus.
- Letter by the President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, to the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, dated 7 June, which circulated as an official document of the UN Security Council
- Legal Issues arising from certain population transfers and displacements on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus in the period since 20 July 1974
- Address to Cypriots by President Papadopoulos (FULL TEXT)
- The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office, Aspects of the Cyprus Problem
- European Court of Human Rights Case of Cyprus v. Turkey (Application no. 25781/94)
- Â This article incorporatesÂ public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.
- Â This article incorporatesÂ public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.
- Official Cyprus Government Web Site
- Embassy of Greece, USA â" Cyprus: Geographical and Historical Background