Cyprus, a charming and laid back island evoking a sense of peace and relaxation, sits at the crossroads of three continents of diverse cultures and religions. Rich in agriculture and history, the island offers many fascinating places of interest. From picturesque mountain villages and stunning sandy beaches with crystal clear waters, to ancient ruins steeped in history, some dating as far back as 10,000 years, Cyprus is a place where you find the past living side by side with 21st century culture. The island features in many mythological tales, the most famous of which is the fable of the birth of Aphrodite, goddess of love, who emerged from the sea at Petra tou Romiou near modern day Paphos.
In it's history, Cyprus’ diverse culture has been shaped by many foreign influences. Egyptians, Venetians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and the British, have all ruled here. The modern Republic of Cyprus has a democratically elected government and has been part of the European Union since 1st. May 2004.
The two official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, but you will find English is widely spoken. The official currency in the Republic of Cyprus is the Euro which was introduced in early 2008.
There are two main religions practiced on the island, Greek Orthodox Christianity in the south and Islam by most of the Turkish Cypriots in the north. Religion plays an important role in most Cypriot's lives and Greek Orthodox communities and individuals have built a vast number of churches which are scattered around the island. Many of these churches are beautifully decorated. Byzantine fresco paintings can be found in a number of very old churches, some of which date back to the 12th century. Many are now protected by the world UNESCO foundation.
Weather in Cyprus
The island boasts an amazingly sunny climate for most of the year. Cyprus enjoys intense Mediterranean summer weather from May to September. During this period the weather usually remains constant from day to day and the sky is almost completely cloudless. From September through to April it is somewhat milder, with some rain, but sunshine usually prevails in abundance. For instance, in December and January there's an average of six hours of sunshine per day.
Food in Cyprus is one of the most exciting experiences when holidaying on the island. Getting together with family and friends to enjoy a good meal and conversation is an important part of the Cypriot culture.
The famous Cyprus "meze" is something everyone should experience. There are many variations of this traditional meal, but they all have one thing in common, plenty of individual dishes, so there's something for everyone to enjoy! Make sure you try this healthy Mediterranean meal, al fresco style, at one of the many restaurants and tavernas.
There are many other Cypriot dishes to enjoy and one should not leave Cyprus without trying the wonderful lamb "Kleftiko" and, of course, the unique "Haloumi" cheese.
Cyprus also boasts a flourishing wine industry with many vineyards, large and small, producing a variety of quality wines for your enjoyment. Interestingly, some are made from grape varieties which are unique to the island.
One of the many reasons why Cyprus has continued to be a popular holiday destination is the quality of the beaches and the abundance of available water sports. There are so many activities for you to try like jet skiing, waterskiing, windsurfing, parasailing, canoeing, fun banana and tube rides to name but a few. There also water parks which the whole family can enjoy.
Nature walks are a popular activity and there are many fun and informative guided excursions around this amazing island.
Many visitors will hire a car and tour the island at they're leisure. With it's long history involving many cultures from the Greeks and Apostles to the Crusaders and Ottoman Turks, Cyprus is positively brimming with fascinating historical and religious sites.