Welcome to Cyprus, an island of legends that basks year-round in the light of the warm Mediterranean sun. A storied past 10,000 years long has seen civilizations come and go and the likes of everyone from Alexander the Great to Cleopatra stake their claim here - but then, people do tend to get possessive when faced with such beauty. Aphrodite made her home on Cyprus, and travellers throughout antiquity came here just to pay her tribute.
Today Cyprus is a modern country that effortlessly marries European culture with ancient enchantment. Here you will discover a compact world of alluring beaches and fragrant mountain peaks, vineyards studded with olive trees and ancient ruins that stir the imagination, citrus groves and old stone villages where sweet wine flows as freely as conversations at the local cafe. A carefree place where a sense of timelessness is magnified by the kindness of the people.
Cyprus is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government. Under the 1960 Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office. The President exercises executive power through a Council of Ministers appointed by him. Ministers may be chosen from outside the House of Representatives.
Cyprus is a member of the United Nations and U.N. Agencies. It is also a member of the
Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
Europe and many other international Organisations.
Following the signing of the EU Enlargement Treaty in Athens on April 16, 2003 and its subsequent ratification by the Cypriot House of Representatives, Cyprus is now officially a member of the EU since May 01 , 2004.
Population (de jure): 802 500 (End 2002)
641 700 (80.1%) : Greek Cypriots (including 2 600 Armenians, 4 800 Maronites, 900 Latins)
87 400 (10.9%) : Turkish Cypriots
72 500 (9%) : Foreign residents
Note: Prior to the Turkish invasion (July-August 1974) the two communities lived together in roughly the same proportions (4 Greek Cypriots : 1Turkish Cypriot) in all six administrative districts of the island. Since the invasion in 1974, about 57 000 Turkish Cypriots emigrated, with the result that today they constitute only 10.9%% of the population compared to 18% before July 1974.
Nicosia (Lefkosia): 208 900
Limassol (Lemesos): 163 900
Larnaka: 73 200
Pafos: 48 300
Note: All place names have been converted into Latin characters according to the official System of Transliteration of the Greek alphabet.
Crime in Cyprus is, comparatively, at a very low level. The Police are always ready to assist anyone who needs help. In case of emergency, one may telephone 199 or 112 (in all towns). All policemen speak good English.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Its 9,251 square kilometres (3,572 square miles) encompass citrus and olive groves, pine forested mountains, and some of Europe's cleanest beaches. Also the easternmost island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is approximately 105kilometres (60 miles) west of Syria, 75 kilometres (47 miles) south of Turkey and 380kilometres (200 miles) north of Egypt. The nearest Greek point is the Greek island of Rhodes which is 380kilometres (200miles) to the west. The island has a mild, typically Mediterranean climate, with abundant sunshine even in winter and little rainfall. Prominent geographic features include Troodos massif that occupies most of the southwestern part of the country, the Pentadaktylos range in the north around Kyrenia and the Messaoria Plain in between them. It is here that the capital city, Nicosia, is located.
The elongated Karpasia Peninsula occupies the northeastern part of Cyprus, while the southeastern point terminates in Cape Greco. The southern coast is where the major towns of Larnaka and Lemesos are located. Pafos and the Akamas Peninsula are on the far western edge.
The latitude of Cyprus is 34 degrees 33'-35 degrees 34' North, and its longitude 32 degrees 16'-34 degrees 37' East.
Entry regulations apply only to the areas controlled by the Government of the Republic Cyprus.
Passport: Required, except for holders of:
Medical Services and Hospitals Dialysis Units
Medical care-needs in Cyprus are met through:
Government General Hospitals and Private clinics/hospitals are mostly concentrated in urban areas, while health centres, subcentres, and dispensaries function in the rural areas, providing a network to meet the medical needs of the whole population.
All Government General Hospitals as well as some private clinics have Accident and Emergency Departments for emergency cases. Medical treatment and assistance is offered free of charge to international tourists in case of health emergencies at the Accident and Emergency Department of Government Hospitals/Institutions. Out-patient and in-patient treatment is provided against payment of the prescribed fees. Holiday-makers can also make use of their health insurance, which covers medical expenses, provided that this insurance covers the length of their stay on the island.
Almost all brands of manufactured medicines are available in Cyprus. Local newspapers list pharmacies which are open during the night and on weekends/holidays, as well as the names of doctors who are on call on weekends/holidays.
Information on private doctors on call on weekends / holidays is given by the following telephone numbers:
Larnaka - 1434
Nicosia - 1432
Limassol - 1435
Pafos - 1436
Most hotels make arrangements for Medical services for their guests upon request.
The majority of doctors are English speaking.
Private doctors visiting hours (on weekdays) : 09:00-13:00 hrs and16:00-19:00 hrs.
The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) is a corporate body established by law and is responsible for the provision, maintenance and development of telecommunications facilities, both local and overseas. Since the beginning of 2003 the telecommunications market has been liberalised so is now open for other telecommunication providers.
Services provided by CYTA include fixed telephony, mobile telephony cyta-vodamobile (pay monthly and pay as you go), data transmission, telegraphy, maritime, TV transmission/ reception, private leased circuits, audio text, video conferencing, ISDN, DSL, Internet and ATM/Frame Relay.
There is now an alternative mobile provider MTN (Areeba Ltd) for both contract (pay monthly) and pay as you go service.
Driving in Cyprus is most advisable as regular transport service is not available to all remote areas where many places of interest are to be found.
Fairly good surfaced roads complying with international traffic requirements link the towns and the various villages.
Four lane motorways connect the capital, Lefkosia (Nicosia) with the coastal towns of Lemesos (Limassol), Larnaka and one part of Pafos.
Minor roads and forest roads are still largely unsurfaced but in good to fair condition. Appropriate care should be taken when using these roads, especially during wet weather. Visitors wishing to bring their car to Cyprus can do so, for a period up to 3 months provided the car has a valid registration licence of its country of origin. The period may be extended accordingly, provided the person is considered a visitor by the Department of Customs & Excise.
During driving, the driver should take all necessary measures, so that his/her hands are free at all times in order to have full control of the vehicle. Therefore the use of a mobile phone is strictly prohibited.
Visitors in Cyprus can drive using a valid International driving licence, or their National driving licence, provided it is valid for the class of vehicle they wish to drive.
The dogs/ cats shall not be landed in Cyprus unless and until there is delivered to a Veterinary officer at the port/airport of Import and Animal Health Certificate issued by a duly authorized Veterinary Officer of the Government of the exporting country attesting that the animals:
Vaccination certificates for Rabies and any other vaccinations that the animal has been given should be attached.
Owners of the animals should notify ahead the Department of Veterinary services of the
Ministry of Agriculture, CY1417 Lefkosia
Tel: 357 22 80 52 01, 22 80 52 08
Fax: 357 22 33 28 03
One of the benefits of being a Mediterranean island is plentiful sunshine throughout the year, and Cyprus is no exception. In fact, Cyprus epitomizes the ideal weather of the region with sunny days and fine temperatures almost every day. Extremes of temperatures are rare, meaning Cyprus has something to offer every month of the year, whether it's swimming (as late as November) or enjoying cultural sites and festivals (all year long). While seasonal fluctuations are not drastic, however, they are different. Here's what to expect:
For just about Summer stretches from mid-May to mid-October and means high temperatures, cloudless skies and cooling breezes from the sea. It's the ideal season for swimming, sunbathing and a whole range of watersports from sailing to scuba diving. At this time of year, explore the archaeological sites early in the morning or in late afternoon, avoiding the hottest part of the day. It's always a good idea to bring along sun protection, such as sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat. Even in the height of summer when it's 32C(90F) degrees at the beach (and warmer inland), temperatures are refreshingly cooler in the Troodos, making the mountains ideal for hiking or simply relaxing.
The days of September and October are still sunny and the water warm enough for comfortable swimming. Basically, it's still summer. In Lemesos, the first ten days of September bring the annual Wine Festival, a buoyant period not to be missed.
Temperatures have been much hotter in recent year due to 'global warming'.
Toward the end of October evenings do tend to get cooler, however. In October and through November the leaves change color in the Troodos and vineyards take on gold and crimson hues against a backdrop of crystal clear sunlight. In Cyprus even mid-November can feel like summer, but by month's end medium-weight apparel for the late afternoons and evenings will enhance the traveller's experience. It is still possible to enjoy swimming, while inland excursions to villages and vineyards for wine tastings can be very enjoyable. Fall also brings with it the annual Kypria festival, with prestigious local and international musical and dramatic performances at venues throughout Cyprus.
December and January are the months of Mediterranean winter, bringing the possibility of rain, but still an average of six hours of bright sunshine a day. This is the time of year when smaller Mediterranean destinations shut down for the season, but not so Cyprus. The island is a major business centre and has many important heritage sites and museums, all at their least crowded in winter. The cultural calendar is also alive and well throughout the winter, with new events coming all the time. The summer resort of Agia Napa, for example, offers a "Cultural Winter" with classical music concerts and modern and folkloric dance performances. Into early February there is occasional rain, and often snow in the Troodos - ideal for skiing!
The first orchids bloom in January in Cyprus, and by mid-February the countryside is already alive with fresh green meadows and almond trees in bloom. March days can still be cool (daytime temperatures around 19C or 65F, 9C or 40F at night) but steadily moderate. Early spring is a wonderful time to visit to Cyprus, with pleasant daytime temperatures and many of the ancient ruins framed by a carpet of red anemones and other wildflowers.
In April and into the middle of May spring is in full force. This is an ideal time for nature hikes and off-road adventures in the pristine Akamas Peninsula. Cyprus has 1,950 species of flowering plants, 140 of which grow nowhere else but on the island, and in the Akamas alone, there are 700 plant species, of which 40 are endemic. From February to April, pink cyclamen sprouts up from rocky foothills and thickets and forms a riveting adornment to the Baths of Aphrodite. From March to April, the pink wavy-leaved monkey orchid (Orchis italica) grows in dense patches around Pafos. If in summer Cyprus is the place to bask in the sun, then spring is the time to savor the natural beauty of the island in bloom.
Getting to Cyprus is easier than ever. More than 40 airlines, including Cyprus Airways, BA and easyJet, operate scheduled flights from and to Larnaka International Airport and Pafos International Airport.
As the crossroads of the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus can also be a great component of a Middle East odyssey that combines a visit to the island with Israel, Egypt or nearby Greek islands such as Rhodes. Short cruises to these destinations are a popular option for many visitors to Cyprus. In 2000, more than six cruise liners took passengers on nearly 800 two-and-three-day cruises, departing from Lemesos.