Info About Cyprus - Best Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Info About Cyprus - Best Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Cyprus (Greek: Κύπρος, Kýpros; Turkish: Kıbrıs) is a Eurasian island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea south of the Anatolian peninsula (Asia Minor) or modern-day Turkey.

The third largest island in the Mediterranean, it is currently divided into four main portions: the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognized only by Turkey), the United Nations-controlled Green Line separating the two, and two British Base Areas.

Cyprus has been a member state of the European Union since May 1, 2004.



has a somewhat uncertain etymology. One suggestion is that it comes from the Greek word "κυπάρισσος (kypa'rissos)" meaning "cypress" (Cupressus sempervirens) or even from the Greek name of the plant Lawsonia alba (henna), "κύπρος (kypros)". Another school suggests that it stems from the eterocyprian word for copper. Dossin, for example, suggests that it has roots to the Sumerian word for copper, "zubar" or even the word "kubar" (bronze), due to the large deposits of copper ore found on the island. Through overseas trade, the island has already given its name to the Classical Latin word for the metal, which appears in the phrase aes Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.


Prehistoric and ancient Cyprus

There are but small traces of the Stone Age, but the Bronze Age was characterized by a well-developed and clearly marked civilization. The people quickly learned to work the rich copper mines of the island. The Mycenæan civilization seems to have reached Cyprus at around 1600 B.C. and several Greek and Phœnician settlements that belong to the Iron Age can be found on the island. Cyprus was invaded by Thothmes III of Egypt about 1500 B.C., and was forced to pay tribute to them.

Around 1200 B.C. began the massive arrival of the Mycenæan Greeks as permanent settlers to Cyprus, a process which lasted for more than a century. This migration is remembered in many sagas concerning how some of the Greek heroes that participated in the Trojan war came to settle in Cyprus. The newcomers brought with them their language, their advanced technology and introduced a new outlook for visual arts. Thus from 1220 B.C. Cyprus has remained predominantly Greek in culture, language and population despite various influences resulting from successive conquests. In times Cyprus supplied the rest of the Greeks with timber for their fleets.

In the 6th century B.C., Amasis of Egypt conquered Cyprus, which soon fell under the rule of the Persians when Cambyses conquered Egypt. In the Persian Empire, Cyprus formed part of the fifth satrapy and in addition to tribute it had to supply the Persians with ships and crews. In their new fate the Greeks of Cyprus had as companions the Greeks of Ionia (west coast of Anatolia) with whom they forged closer ties. When the Ionian Greeks revolted against Persia (499 BC) the Cypriots except for the city of Amathus, joined in at the instigation of Onesilos, brother of the king of Salamis, whom he dethroned for not wanting to fight for independence. The Persians reacted quickly sending a considerable force against Onesilos. The Persians finally won despite Ionian help.

After their defeat, the Greeks mounted various expeditions in order to liberate Cyprus from the Persian rule, but all their efforts bore only temporary results. Eventually, Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) took the island from the Persians. Later,, the Ptolemies of Egypt controlled it; finally Rome annexed it in 58-57 BC. No doubt the most important event that occurred in Roman Cyprus was the visit by Apostles Paul and Barnabas accompanied by St Mark who came to the island at the outset of their first missionary journey in AD 45. After their arrival at Salamis they proceeded to Paphos where they converted the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus to Christianity. In this way Cyprus became the first country in the world to be governed by a Christian ruler.

Cyprus in ancient myth

Cyprus is the legendary birthplace of the goddess of beauty, love, sex and passion, the beautiful Aphrodite. According to Hesiod's Theogony, the goddess, who was also known as Kypris or the Cyprian, emerged fully grown from the sea where the severed genitals of the god Uranus were cast by his son, Kronos, causing the sea to foam (Greek: Aphros). The legendary site of Aphrodite's birth from the foam is at 'Petra tou Romiou' (or 'Aphrodite's Rock'), a large stack in the sea close to the coastal cliffs near Paphos. Throughout ancient history, Cyprus was a flourishing centre for the cultic worship of Aphrodite.

Post-classical and modern Cyprus

Cyprus became part of the Byzantine Empire after the partitioning of the Roman Empire in AD 395, and remained so for almost 800 years, though with brief period of Arab domination and influence.

After the rule of the rebelious Byzantine Emperor Isaac Comnenus, King Richard I of England captured the island in 1191 during the Third Crusade. On May 6, 1191, Richard's fleet arrived in the port of Lemesos (now Limassol). Richard captured the city. When Isaac arrived to stop the Crusaders he discovered he was too late, and retired to Kolossi. Richard called Isaac to negotiations but Isaac broke his oath of hospitality and started demanding Richard's departure. Richard ordered his cavalry to follow him in a battle against Isaac's army in Tremetusia. The few Roman Catholics of the island joined Richard's army and so did the island's nobles who were dissatisfied with Isaac's seven years of tyrannical rule. Though Isaac and his men fought bravely, Richard's army was bigger and better equipped, assuring his victory. Isaac continued to resist from the castles of Pentadactylos but after the siege of his castle of Kantara he finally surrendered. In a fit of sardonic irony, once Isaac had been captured Richard had him confined with silver chains, scrupulously abiding by a previous promise that he would not place Isaac in irons should he be taken prisoner. Richard became the new ruler of Cyprus, gaining for the Crusade a major supply base that was not under immediate threat from the Turks as was Tyre. Richard looted the island and massacred those trying to resist him. He and most of his army left Cyprus for the Holy Land early in June. In his absence Cyprus would be governed by Richard Camville.

Guy of Lusignan purchased the island from Richard in 1192 compensated for the loss of his kingdom by purchasing Cyprus from the Templars. The Republic of Venice took control in 1489 after the death of the last Lusignan Queen, after which the Ottoman Empire conquered the Island in 1570.

Cyprus was placed under British control on 4 June 1878 as a result of the Cyprus Convention, which granted control of the island to Britain in return for British support of the Ottoman Empire in the Russian-Turkish War.

Famagusta harbour was completed in June 1906; by this time the island was a strategic naval outpost for the British Empire, shoring up influence over the Eastern Mediterranean and Suez Canal, the crucial main route to India.

Cyprus was formally annexed by the United Kingdom in 1913 in the run-up to the First World War. Many Cypriots, now British subjects, signed up to fight in the British Army, in this and in the Second World War.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Greek Cypriots began to demand union with Greece. The Greek community held referenda in support of annexation, while the British sought to quell any movement which could threaten their possession of the island. In 1955 the struggle erupted with the foundation of EOKA, and in the closing years of the 1950s the political and intercommunal atmosphere on the island became increasingly fraught (see also Cyprus dispute).

Independence was attained in 1960 after exhaustive negotiations between the United Kingdom, as the colonial power, and Greece and Turkey, the cultural 'motherlands' for two of the communities on Cyprus. The constitution produced by the negotiations was a binding document allocating government posts and public offices by ethnic quota. The constitution did not promote a healthy relationship between the residents of the island. The first President was the Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios III, and his Vice President was the leading Turkish Cypriot politician Dr Fazıl Küçük.


During the 1960s, Makarios and Küçük pursued a non-aligned foreign policy, cultivating good relations with the Britain, Greece and Turkey, and taking a leading role in developing the Non-Aligned Movement.

Tension began in 1963 when Makarios proposed thirteen amendments to the unworkable constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots were opposed to the proposal since it relegated their status to a minority, instead of co-founders of the state, whilst also removing their community’s constitutional safeguards. These amendments were largely seen as a move towards Enosis (union with Greece) by Turkish Cypriots. On 21 December 1963, clashes between Turkish Cypriots and Polycarpos Yorgadjis (the Interior Minister) plainclothes special constables left two Turkish Cypriots and one Greek Cypriot policeman dead [1]. The ensuing violence led to attacks launched by both communities.

The fighting left 191 Turkish and 133 Greek Cypriots dead and 209 Turks and 41 Greeks missing.

By 1974, dissatisfaction among Greek nationalist right-wing elements in favour of the long-term goal of Enosis precipitated a coup d'etat against President Makarios which was sponsored by the military government of Greece and led by the Cypriot National Guard. The new regime replaced Makarios with Nikos Giorgiades Sampson as president, and Bishop Gennadios as head of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. Seven days after these events, Turkey invaded Cyprus by sea and air on 20 July 1974, presenting the invasion as an act of protection for the island's 18% Turkish Cypriot minority. Talks in Geneva involving Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the two Cypriot factions failed in mid-August, and Turkish forces subsequently moved from the previous cease-fire lines to gain control of 37% of the island's territory. About 160,000 Greek Cypriots were uprooted, with Greek Cypriots forced to flee to the south as refugees, while approximately 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved north. Greek Cypriot soldiers and civillians were taken prisoner, and 1,619 of those are still unaccounted for with reports that many of them were killed after the cessation of violence. The Greek Junta (for which there is evidence that it was CIA sponsored) made no armed response to the Turkish forces but collapsed days after. Greece, with the restoration of democratic rule, suspended military participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The tension continued after Makarios returned to the presidency on December 7, 1974. He accepted a bizonal bicommunal federation as the form of a future state, but rejected any solution "involving transfer of populations and amounting to partition of Cyprus". The events of the summer of 1974 have dominated Cypriot politics ever since and have been a major point of contention between Greece and Turkey.

After 1974, there were near-continual efforts to negotiate a settlement, which met with varying levels of hostility from either side.

Turkish Cypriots proclaimed a separate state under Rauf Denktaş on November 15, 1983. The UN Security Council, in its Resolution 541 of November 18, 1983, declared the action illegal and called for withdrawal. Turkey is to date the only country to recognise the pseudo- "government" of the occupied part of Cyprus. Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus's authority over the whole island, and refers to it as the Greek Cypriot administration. This has led to complications in its bid to join the European Union.

Relations in the eastern Mediterranean were particularly frayed during the mid-1990s, especially in 1997 after the Cypriot government acquired Russian missiles capable of reaching the Turkish coast. The S-300 missiles never arrived in Cyprus, but stayed on the neighbouring island of Crete. The United States set an embargo on sale of arms to Turkey which was voted down a few years later after the invasion.

Cyprus joined the European Union as a full member in May 2004. Although it was the island as a whole which joined (inluding the occupied areas) the Acquis communautaire applies only to those areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus.

Since the invasion, the southern part of Cyprus has greatly grown economically, and the country enjoys a high standard of living. The north maintains a lower standard of living due to the economic embargoes placed since its unilateral declaration of independence and because of the continued occupation.


The third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia), Cyprus is geographically situated in the eastern Mediterranean and just south of the Anatolian peninsula (or Asia Minor) of the Asian mainland; thus, it is commonly included in the Middle East (see also Western Asia and Near East). Turkey is 75 kilometres (47 miles) north; other neighbouring countries include Syria and Lebanon to the east, Israel to the southeast, Egypt to the south, and Greece to the west-north-west.

Politically and culturally, however, it is closely aligned with Europe – particularly Greece and Turkey. Historically, Cyprus has been at the crossroads between Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, with lengthy periods of mainly Greek and intermittent Anatolian, Levantine, and British influences. Thus, it is generally considered a transcontinental island.

The central plain (Mesaoria) with the Kyrenia and Pentadactylos mountains to the north and the Troodos mountain range to the south and west. There are also scattered but significant plains along the southern coast.

The climate is temperate and Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool, variably rainy winters.

The capital city, Nicosia, is located to the north-east of the centre of the island and is the only divded capital in the world. All the other major cities are situated on the coast: Paphos to the south-west, Limassol to the south, Larnaca to the south-east, Famagusta to the east, and Kyrenia to the north.

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