Cyprus at a Glance
Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, which covers an area of 3,572sq miles (9,251 sq km) and stands at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, smaller than Sicily and Sardinia, but larger than Corsica and Crete. It has a varied and picturesque coastline of 848 miles (1,364 km) with long sandy beaches, and a rich variety of vegetation and fruit.
Population and Language
The current population of Cyprus is 870,000. Nicosia is the capital city and the administrative centre. The native official languages are Greek and Turkish, but English is widely understood and extensively spoken. German and French are spoken at most hotels and shops as well.
Climate and Terrain
The climate is generally sunny and dry throughout the year. The sun shines for about 340 days a year. Winter is mild and the bathing season practically starts from April and only ends in November. Pine-clad forests are just a couple of hours drive from the shore; so one can have a swim and go to the mountains, if desired, on the same day. For the mountain lovers, Troodos mountains and its surrounding traditional villages are covered in snow from late November up to late January.
Helped by the good climate and the existence of excellent medical facilities, health conditions are good. The country is free from infectious diseases.
Local time is two hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
The ideal weather and ideal location define the ideal lifestyle of this magnificent Mediterranean island. With more than 340 days of sunshine, residents and tourists get to enjoy the clear warm waters of Cyprus throughout the year. In November you can swim in the warm Mediterranean in the morning and ski on the slopes of Troodos Mountains in the afternoon. The sun has an incredible effect on the Cypriot lifestyle and reveals itself in many ways, especially through the diet and characteristics of the Cypriots. Two of the main industries on the island, tourism and farming prosper from the sun. Cyprus produces a wide array of fruit, vegetables and free-range meat resulting in a delicious and healthy diet evolved from many influences. Greece, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Italy have all left their mark on the Cypriot cuisine. Dining in Cyprus is a very sociable affair and is usually the main reason for friends to meet friends and family to meet family! Cyprus also has a long tradition of winemaking that goes back over 4,000 years. In ancient times wine was a major source of wealth for the island. Approximately 10% of the island is covered in vineyards. The wines are best sampled at the annual wine festival in Limassol in September. Cypriots widely speak English as a result of the British influence, and of course to accommodate the great numbers of English speaking tourists that visit the island.
Criminality in Cyprus
Criminality in Cyprus is one of the lowest in the world according to the European Crime Prevention Network. It seems that the rate of serious crime in Cyprus, compared to international standards as indicated by International Crime Statistics, can be described as very low. Whilst the average serious crime / population ratio per 100,000 people, in a number of countries in Europe is about 4800, the ratio of serious crime in Cyprus, in 2010, is only about 1044.
Cyprus has an open, free-market, services-based economy. Cyprus’ accession as a full member to the European Union as of May 1, 2004 has been an important milestone in its recent economic development. Internationally, Cyprus promotes its geographical location as a “bridge” between three continents, along with its educated English-speaking population, moderate local costs, good airline connections, and telecommunications.
Cyprus and the European community
Since the 1 st of May 2004 Cyprus joined the European Union. The benefits to Cyprus as a whole from membership of the EU are quite substantial, with the whole population of the island benefiting from political, economic, social, environmental and other advantages. The EU is Cyprus’s main trading partner accounting for approximately 50% of total trade, the United Kingdom being Cyprus ‘ main export destination. Further, Cyprus is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the British Commonwealth and also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Until January 2008, the unit of currency was the Cyprus Pound (CYP) divided into 100 cents. As of January 1st 2008, the Cyprus Pound ceased to be legal tender and the new currency is now the Euro (€). The official conversion rate, effective from that date, is set at €1 to CY£ 0.585274. Foreign Currency can be imported without limitations. Traveler’s checks, EURO checks and credit cards are accepted.
There is a wide selection of consumer goods. Most of the well -known European brands are imported or, in some cases, manufactured in Cyprus under license. The voltage of the public electricity supply is 240 Volts.
Nicosia, Capital of Cyprus
Nicosia, the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, is located in the centre of the island and is an ideal place to live, work and study. Nicosia is the home of people of many different nationalities. English is spoken everywhere on the island. The sunny days and warm evenings provide a natural setting for outdoor cafes, pubs, eating places, parks and other leisure activities.
Ports and Airports
There are two seaports in Cyprus, the main commercial port is in Limassol and the Yachting marina port is in Larnaca, one of the best in the Middle East. The Cyprus International airport is located in Larnaca, while another airport operates from Paphos. The national airline is Cyprus Airways, and there are over 28 other international airlines flying to and from Cyprus.
Cyprus has one of the best and cheapest telecommunication services in the world; it is connected by ISD (Instant Self Dialing), which also offers fax facilities to any country in the world and over 214 countries can be contacted by telex. Communications with earth satellites are in operations as well. The Internet is also the modern day communication route in Cyprus, progressing with demands and providing excellent gateways to the world.