The Mycenaean and Achaean Greeks settled on the island between the 13th and 11th century BC. They introduced the Greek language and culture, both of which are preserved by Greek Cypriots to this day.At the end of the 4th century BC Cyprus became part of the kingdom of Alexander the Great. The Hellenistic period ended in 30 BC when Cyprus became part of Roman Empire until the 4th century AD. In 330 AD Cyprus formed part of the Eastern Section of the Roman Empire and later of the Byzantine Empire, and remained so until the 12th century AD. During the Crusades Cyprus was conquered by Richard the Lion heart followed by the Lasagnas and the Venetians. In 1571 Cyprus was conquered by the Ottomans and in 1878 it was ceded to Britain. In 1914 Britain annexed the island and in 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquished all claims on the island. In 1925 Britain declared Cyprus a crown colony. In 1955 the Greek Cypriots launched a liberation struggle against British rule and the island won its independence in 1960. The Turkish invasion, launched on 1974, resulted in the occupation of 40% of the island's territory and about 200.000 Greek Cypriots were displaced.
DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION. Cyprus is divided into six administrative districts. Nicosia, Limassol, Pafos, Larnaka (in the government-controlled areas) and Famagusta and Keryneia (in the occupied areas).
CLIMATE. Mediterranean climate, with long, warm, dry summers from May to October and mild winters with occasional rain, lasting from December to February.
Cyprus is the sunniest country in Europe with over 340 days of sun annually.
CYPRUS IS A MEMBER OF THE EU. On May 01, 2004 the Republic of Cyprus became a full member of the EU completing a long journey that lasted more than three decades. On January 01, 2008, the Republic of Cyprus introduced the Euro () as its official currency, replacing the Cyprus pound.
ECONOMY. Cyprus is a small and adaptable free-market economy with a positive long-term outlook despite the current challenging environment.The island, strategically located at the crossroads of three continents, promotes itself as the business gateway between Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and leverages its highly educated, English-speaking population.Its EU and eurozone memberships, excellent information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and business friendly environment continue to attract international companies and investment - particularly in natural gas exploitation following the recent discovery of significant reserves in Cyprus' waters.
Total GDP (euro): 17.8 billion.By Sector Services 81.7% (Professional services, including legal, accounting, finance, banking, tourism), Industry 15.9%, Agriculture 2.4%.
GDP per Capita (euro): 20,605.
LOCATION AND AREA. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily and Sardinia) with an area of 9.251 sq. kms, extending 240 kms from east to west and 100 kms from north to south, (3,355 sq km are in the occupied area).It is strategically situated in the far eastern corner of the Mediterranean, at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, and in close proximity to the busy trade routes linking Europe with the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia and the Far East.
LANGUAGES.The official languages of the island are Greek and Turkish, whilst English is widely spoken. French, German and Russian are also spoken within the tourism industry.
RELIGION.Cyprus enjoys an exceedingly high level of freedom of worship. While the majority of Greek-Cypriots are Greek Orthodox Christians, other denominations are represented on the island, including Armenians, Maronites and Roman Catholics. The Turkish-Cypriot community is predominantly Muslim.
THE HISTORY OF CYPRUS IS AMONG THE OLDEST IN THE WORLD.The first signs of civilization traced in archaeological excavations and research, date back 11.000 years to the 9th millennium BC.The discovery of copper in Cyrus in the 3rd millennium BC brought wealth to the island and attracted trade from its neighbors. Yet, although geographically placed at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa - and a meeting point of great world civilizations, Cyprus has developed and for centuries maintained, its own civilisation.
POPULATION OF MAIN TOWNS. Lefkosia (Nicosia): 333,800 (part of Lefkosia in the Government controlled area). Lemesos (Limassol): 239,700. Larnaka (Larnaca): 145,900. Pafos (Paphos): 91,200. Ammochostos (Free Famagusta) area: 47,400.