Cyprus is the eastern most island in the Mediterranean Sea and the third largest in the Mediterranean. It is only 40 miles (60 km) south of Turkey and 60 miles (100 km) west of Syria andLebanon. The capital and largest city is Nicosia and it is the only remaining divided capital in the world. The division occured when Turkey invaded the island in May of 1974. Other important cities are Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, Famagusta and Keryneia. These are also Cyprus's six administrative districts. Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca and Nicosia are in the south government controlled areas. Famagusta and Keryneia are in the northern Turkish controlled area. Two mountain ranges traverse the island from east to west; the highest point is Mt. Olympus in the southwest.
Population and Language of Cyprus
As of the end of 2006, the population was 788,700.
The official language is Greek but Turkish is also spoken - mainly in the North. English is also widely spoken with street signs and most documents are generally in two or all three languages: English, Greek and Turkish.
History of Cyprus
Cyprus's history dates back to the Neolithic period and it is famous for being the mythological birth place of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. In the 12th century B.C. a temple was erected for her worship. In Paphos you can find many places dedicated to her such as the Rock of Aphrodite also known as “Petra Tou Romiou” said to be were she took her first steps on earth. Another place is the baths of Aphrodite which are supposed to be the source of fertility and the fountain of love which are associated with her legend. The name Paphos is the name of the daughter of Venus and Pygmalion. Although there is a rich connection to pagan religions, Paphos is known as the first country ruled by a Christian ruler in 45 A.D.
Paphos has many historical sites that have been excavated and with its rich history UNESCO has placed it as a World Heritage site. Today Paphos enjoys all the benefits of being a popular Mediterranean holiday resort destination with an average of 340 days of sunshine and plenty of five star hotels, shopping , restaurants, clubs and neighbourhoods that makes it a must-visit place all year round. On May 1st 2004, Cyprus became a full EU member and in January, 2008 Cyprus adopted the Euro as its currency.
Cyprus promotes its location as being the bridge or doorway between West and East due to its' location, educated English speaking population, moderate cost of living, good airline and port service and great telecommunications.
Economy of Cyprus
According to Wikipedia "The Greek Cypriot economy is prosperous but highly susceptible to external shocks. In 2008 it was classified by the IMF amongst the 32 advanced economies of the world. The IMF forecasts that Cyprus will be the only developed economy to enjoy continuous growth rates through the 2009 financial crisis."
The economy has shifted over the past 20 years from agriculture to light manufacturing and services. The service sector, including tourism, contributes 70% to the GDP and employs 62% of the labor force. Cyprus attracts about 2.4 million tourists per year. Industry and construction contribute 24% and employ 25% of labor. Manufactured goods account for approximately 69% of domestic exports. Agriculture is responsible for 6% of GDP and 12% of the labor force. Potatoes and citrus are the principal export crops.