When Kronos, the father of Zeus and the other Olympian gods, defeated his father Uranus, he chopped off his balls and threw them into the sea. The sea started to foam and out of the froth (afros in Greek) Aphrodite, the goddess of love was born. She stepped ashore on the island Cyprus and made it her home. So from ancient times until recent days Cyprus is referred to as "The Island of Love". This reputation makes Cyprus a popular destination for a honey-moon or even the wedding itself. Besides the romantic image, Cyprus is loved because of its nature, tucked away traditional villages, modern entertainment and of course: the weather.
Area: 9.200 km2 (UK 243,600 km2) - after Sicily and Sardinia the 3rd largest island of the Mediterranean
Population: 800.000 (Southern, Greek Cypriot part) plus 285.000 (Northern, Turkish Cypriot part)
Location: 400 km South of Rhodes, 105 km East of Syria and Lebanon and 380 km North of Egypt
Highest point: Mount Olympus (1.952 m) in the centre of the Troodos Mountains
The Republic of Cyprus, the internationally recognized government, occupies the southern two-thirds of the island (59.74%). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) occupies the northern third (34.85%) and is recognized only by Turkey, as it consists of the Turkish-occupied areas. The United Nations-controlled Green Line is 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%.
Capital city: Nicosia (Lefkosia)
6 Districts: Nicosia (Λευκωσία, Lefkoşa) in the centre, Kyrenia (Κερύvεια, Girne) and Famagusta (Αμμόχωστος, Gazimağusa/Mağusa) in the North occupied area, Larnaca (Λάρνακα, Larnaka/İskele), Limassol (Λεμεσός, Limasol/Leymosun) and Paphos (Πάφος, Baf/Gazibaf) in the South.
EU membership: The Republic of Cyprus is since 2004 member of the European Union
Head of State: President of the Republic of Cyprus is Dimitris Christofias of the communist AKEL party and Derviş Eroğlu, leader of right-wing conservative National Unity Party, is president of the occupied area, formally named the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The area of the Republic of Cyprus under government control has a market economy dominated by the service sector, which accounts for nearly four-fifths of GDP. Tourism, financial services, and real estate are the most important sectors. From 1960 when Cyprus became an independent country until recently, Cyprus' economy grew rapidly and Cypriots are among the most prosperous people in the Mediterranean. Since 2009 however, the financial crisis continues to have a serious negative effect on the economic situation.
The economy of the Turkish-occupied areas operates on a free-market basis although it continues to be handicapped by the lack of private and public investment, high freight costs and shortages of skilled labor.
Cyprus is one of the most religious countries in the European Union. Almost all Greek Cypriots are members of the autocephalous Greek Orthodox whereas most Turkish Cypriots are adherents of Sunni Islam.
Cyprus is the warmest country of the European Union: 24 degrees Celsius average and 300 days with sunshine.
The Cypriot food is very similar to Greek food with a little bit more Middle-Eastern influences. A popular dish in restaurants is Meze, a great variety of local appetizers and various meat or fish dishes.
The Republic of Cyprus has 2 modern airports: Larnaka and Paphos International Airport
In the North there is 1 airport: Ercan International Airport
The most common form of tourist transportation on the island is by hired car. Public transportation is limited to bustransport only, there are no trains in Cyprus.
The currency is euro (since january 2008). In the occupied part the currency is Turkish Lira.
The language in the Republic of Cyprus is Greek, in the occupied area Turkish. English is widely spoken, 76% of the Cypriots speak English.