Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Republic of Cyprus; a Beautiful Country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Republic of Cyprus- the Flag
Cyprus (Greek: Κύπρος [ˈcipɾos]; Turkish: Kıbrıs [ˈkɯbɾɯs]), officially the Republic of Cyprus (Greek: Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία [cipɾiaˈci ðimokɾaˈti.a]; Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti [ˈkɯbɾɯs d͡ʒumhuɾijeˈti]) (Urdu, Arabic and Punjabi: قبرص) (Persian: قبرس), is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. It is located east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and north of Egypt. 

The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, and Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world. Cyprus was settled by Mycenean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. As a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. 

Republic of Cyprus- the Coat of Arms
Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Roman Empire, the Byzantines, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty, and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman control. Cyprus was placed under British administration in 1878 until it was granted independence in 1960, becoming a member of the Commonwealth the following year. In 1974, seven years after the intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, an attempted coup d'état by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta with the aim of achieving enosis (union of the island with Greece) took place. Turkey used this as a pretext to invade the northern portion of the island. Turkish forces remained after a cease-fire, resulting in the partition of the island; an objective of Turkey since 1955. The intercommunal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots, and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriots political entity in the north. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute. 

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus- the Flag
The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters, except for the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, administered as Sovereign Base Areas. However, the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts; the area under the effective control of the Republic, comprising about 59% of the island's area, and the Turkish-controlled area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and recognised only by Turkey, covering about 36% of the island's area. The international community considers the northern part of the island as occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkish forces. 

Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean. An advanced, high-income economy with a very high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the Eurozone.
Cyprus was a Major Source of Copper
Etymology

The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th-century BC Mycenaean Greek ku-pi-ri-jo, meaning "Cypriot", written in Linear B syllabic script. The classical Greek form of the name is Κύπρος Kýpros. 

The etymology of the name is unknown. Suggestions include: 
  • the Greek word for the Mediterranean cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens), κυπάρισσος (kypárissos) 
  • the Greek name of the henna plant (Lawsonia alba), κύπρος (kýpros) 
  • an Eteocypriot word for copper. Georges Dossin, for example, suggests that it has roots in the Sumerian word for copper (zubar) or for bronze (kubar), from the large deposits of copper ore found on the island. 

A Beautiful View of Paphos, Cyprus
Through overseas trade, the island has given its name to the Classical Latin word for copper through the phrase aes Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum. 

Cyprus, more specifically the seashore at Paphos, was also one of the birthplaces given in Greek mythology for Aphrodite, who was known as Kýpria. This was because Astarte, goddess of love and beauty in Phoenician mythology, for whom Cyprus was an important cult centre, was later identified with Aphrodite. 

The standard demonym relating to Cyprus or its people or culture is Cypriot. The terms Cypriote and Cyprian are also used, though less frequently. 

History of Cyprus:

Human habitation of Cyprus dates back to the Paleolithic era. Cyprus's geographic position has caused Cyprus to be influenced by differing Eastern Mediterranean civilisations over the millennia. 

Location of Akrotiri-Aetokremnos cave, Cyprus
Prehistory Cyprus was settled by humans in the Paleolithic period (known as the stone age) who coexisted with various dwarf animal species, such as dwarf elephants (Elephas cypriotes) and pygmy hippos (Hippopotamus minor) well into the Holocene. There are claims of an association of this fauna with artifacts of Epipalaeolithic foragers at Aetokremnos near Limassol on the southern coast of Cyprus. The first undisputed settlement occurred in the 9th (or perhaps 10th) millennium BC from the Levant. The first settlers were agriculturalists of the so-called PPNB (pre-pottery Neolithic B) era, but did not yet produce pottery (aceramic Neolithic).

The dog, sheep, goats and possibly cattle and pigs were introduced, as well as numerous wild animals such as foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and Persian fallow deer (Dama mesopotamica) that were previously unknown on the island. The PPNB settlers built round houses with floors made of terrazzo of burned lime (e.g. Kastros, Shillourokambos) and cultivated einkorn and emmer. Pigs, sheep, goat and cattle were kept but remained, for the most part, behaviourally wild. Evidence of cattle such as that attested at Shillourokambos is rare, and when they apparently died out in the course of the 8th millennium they were not re-introduced until the ceramic Neolithic.
Khirokitia Archeological Site, Cyprus
In the 6th millennium BC, the aceramic Khirokitia culture was characterised by roundhouses, stone vessels and an economy based on sheep, goats and pigs. Cattle were unknown, and Persian fallow deer were hunted. This was followed by the ceramic Sotira phase. The Eneolithic era is characterised by stone figurines with spread arms.

Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old, putting them in the Stone Age. They are said to show the sophistication of early settlers, and their heightened appreciation for the environment.

 In 2004, the remains of an 8-month-old cat were discovered buried with its human owner at a Neolithic archeological site in Cyprus. The grave is estimated to be 9,500 years old, predating Egyptian civilization and pushing back the earliest known feline-human association significantly.
A Bronze Enkomi, Cyprus Archaeological Museum
Bronze Age 

In the Bronze Age the first cities, such as Enkomi, were built. Systematic copper mining began, and this resource was widely traded.

Mycenaean Greeks were undoubtedly inhabiting Cyprus from the late stage of the Bronze Age, while the island's Greek name is already attested from the 15th century B.C. in the Linear B script.

The Cypriot syllabic script was first used in early phases of the late Bronze Age (LCIB) and continued in use for ca. 500 years into the to LC IIIB, maybe up to the second half of the eleventh century BC.Most scholars believe it was used for a native Cypriot language (Eteocypriot) that survived until the 4th century BC, but the actual proofs for this are scant, as the tablets still have not been completely deciphered.
The Cypriot syllabic Script
The LCIIC (1300-1200 BC) was a time of local prosperity. Cities such as Enkomi were rebuilt on a rectangular grid plan, where the town gates correspond to the grid axes and numerous grand buildings front the street system or newly founded. Great official buildings constructed from ashlar masonry point to increased social hierarchisation and control. Some of these buildings contain facilities for processing and storing olive oil, such as Maroni-Vournes and Building X at Kalavassos-Ayios Dhimitrios. A Sanctuary with a horned altar constructed from ashlar masonry has been found at Myrtou-Pigadhes, other temples have been located at Enkomi, Kition and Kouklia (Palaepaphos). Both the regular layout of the cities and the new masonry techniques find their closest parallels in Syria, especially in Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra). Rectangular corbelled tombs point to close contacts with Syria and Palestine as well. 

The practice of writing spread and tablets in the Cypriot syllabic script have been found at Ras Shamra which was the Phoenician city of Ugarit. Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra and Enkomi mention Ya, the Assyrian name of Cyprus, that thus seems to have been in use already in the late Bronze Age.

Cape Gelidonya, Turkey
Copper ingots shaped like oxhides have been recovered from shipwrecks such as at Ulu Burun, Iria and Cape Gelidonya which attest to the widespread metal trade. Weights in the shape of animals found in Enkomi and Kalavassos follow the Syro-Palestinian, Mesopotamian, Hittite and Aegean standards and thus attest to the wide ranging trade as well. 

Late Bronze Age 

Cyprus was a part of the Hittite empire but was a client state and as such was not invaded but rather merely part of the empire by association and governed by the ruling kings of Ugarit. As such Cyprus was essentially "left alone with little intervention in Cypriot affairs". However, during the reign of Tudhaliya, the island was briefly invaded by the Hittites for either reasons of securing the copper resource or as a way of preventing piracy. Shortly afterwards the island was reconquered by his son around 1200 BCE. 

In the later phase of the late Bronze Age (LCIIIA, 1200-1100 BC) great amounts of 'Mycenean' IIIC:1b pottery were produced locally. New architectural features include cyclopean walls, found on the Greek mainland, as well and a certain type of rectangular stepped capitals, endemic on Cyprus. Chamber tombs are given up in favour of shaft graves. Large amounts of IIIC:1b pottery are found in Palestine during this period as well. While this was formerly interpreted as evidence of an invasion ('Sea Peoples'), this is seen more and more as an indigenous development, triggered by increasing trade relations with Cyprus and Crete. Evidence of early trade with Crete is found in archaeological recovery on Cyprus of pottery from Cydonia, a powerful urban center of ancient Crete. 

Theater of Salamis in the Ancient City State of Cyprus
Although Achaean Greeks were living in Cyprus from the 14th century, most of them inhabited the island after the Trojan war. Achaeans were colonizing Cyprus from 1210-1000 BC. Dorian Greeks come at 1100 BC and unlike the Greek mainland they settle in Cyprus peacefully. Another wave of Greek settlement is believed to have taken place in the following century (LCIIIB, 1100-1050), indicated, among other things, by a new type of graves (long dromoi) and Mycenean influences in pottery decoration. 

Most authors claim that the Cypriot city kingdoms, first described in written sources in the 8th century BC were already founded in the 11th century BC. Other scholars see a slow process of increasing social complexity between the 12th and the 8th centuries, based on a network of chiefdoms. In the 8th century (geometric period) the number of settlements increases sharply and monumental tombs, like the 'Royal' tombs of Salamis appear for the first time. This could be a better indication for the appearance of the Cypriot kingdoms. 

Statue of Teucer
Iron Age 

The Iron Age follows the Submycenian period (1125-1050 BC) or Late Bronze Age and is divided into the: 
  • Geometric 1050-700 
  • Archaic 700-525 
Foundations myths documented by classical authors connect the foundation of numerous Cypriot towns with immigrant Greek heroes in the wake of the Trojan war. For example, Teucer, brother of Aias was supposed to have founded Salamis, and the Arcadian Agapenor of Tegea to have replaced the native ruler Kinyras and to have founded Paphos. Some scholars see this a memory of a Greek colonisation already in the 11th century. In the 11th century tomb 49 from Palaepaphos-Skales three bronze obeloi with inscriptions in Cypriot syllabic script have been found, one of which bears the name of Opheltas. This is first indication of the use of Greek language on the island. 
Palm Trees Promenade, Larnaca, Cyprus
Cremation as a burial rite is seen as a Greek introduction as well. The first cremation burial in Bronze vessels has been found at Kourion-Kaloriziki, tomb 40, dated to the first half of the 11th century (LCIIIB). The shaft grave contained two bronze rod tripod stands, the remains of a shield and a golden sceptre as well. Formerly seen as the Royal grave of first Argive founders of Kourion, it is now interpreted as the tomb of a native Cypriote or a Phoenician prince. The cloisonné enamelling of the sceptre head with the two falcons surmounting it has no parallels in the Aegean, but shows a strong Egyptian influence.

In the 8th century, several Phoenician colonies were founded, like Kart-Hadasht ('New Town'), present day Larnaca and Salamis. The oldest cemetery of Salamis has indeed produced children's burials in Canaanite jars, clear indication of Phoenician presence already in the LCIIIB 11th century. Similar jar burials have been found in cemeteries in Kourion-Kaloriziki and Palaepaphos-Skales near Kouklia. In Skales, many Levantine imports and Cypriote imitations of Levantine forms have been found and point to a Phoenician expansion even before the end of the 11th century.
Ancient Roman Theatre in Kourion, Cyprus
Ancient History 

The first written source shows Cyprus under Assyrian rule. A stela found 1845 in Kition commemorates the victory of king Sargon II (721-705 BC) in 709 over the seven kings in the land of Ia', in the district of Iadnana or Atnana. The former is supposedly the Assyrian name of the island, while some authors take the latter to mean Greece (the Islands of the Danaoi). There are other inscriptions referring to Ia' in Sargon's palace at Khorsabad. The ten kingdoms listed by an inscription of Esarhaddon in 673/2 BC have been identified as Salamis, Kition, Amathus, Kourion, Paphos and Soli on the coast and Tamassos, Ledra, Idalium and Chytri in the interior.

Cyprus gained independence for some time around 669 but was conquered by Egypt under Amasis (570-526/525). The island was conquered by the Persians around 545 BC. A Persian palace has been excavated in the territory of Marion on the North coast near Soli. The inhabitants took part in the Ionian rising. At the beginning of the 4th century BC, Euagoras I, King of Salamis, took control of the whole island and tried to gain independence from Persia. Another uprising took place in 350 but was crushed by Artaxerxes in 344.
Tyre, Lebanon
During the siege of Tyre, the Cypriot Kings went over to Alexander the Great. In 321 four Cypriot kings sided with Ptolemy I Soter and defended the island against Antigonos. Ptolemy lost Cyprus to Demetrios Poliorketes in 306 and 294 BC, but after that it remained under Ptolemaic rule till 58 BC. It was ruled by a governor from Egypt and sometimes formed a minor Ptolemaic kingdom during the power-struggles of the 2nd and 1st centuries. Strong commercial relationships with Athens and Alexandria, two of the most important commercial centres of antiquity, developed.

Full Hellenisation only took place under Ptolemaic rule. Phoenician and native Cypriot traits disappeared, together with the old Cypriot syllabic script. A number of cities were founded during this time, e.g. Arsinoe that was founded between old and new Paphos by Ptolemy II.
The Battle of Actium 31 BC
Cyprus became a Roman province in 58 BC, according to Strabo because Publius Clodius Pulcher held a grudge against Ptolemy and sent Marcus Cato to conquer the island after he had become tribune. Marc Anthony gave the island to Cleopatra VII of Egypt and her sister Arsinoe IV, but it became a Roman province again after his defeat at the Battle of Actium (31 BC) in 30 BC. Since 22 BC it was a senatorial province, after the reforms of Diocletian it was placed under the Consularis Oriens. (From then it was governed by a proconsul.) The island suffered great losses during the Jewish rising of 115/116 AD. Several earthquakes led to the destruction of Salamis at the beginning of the 4th century, at the same time drought and famine hit the island.

Christianisation

The apostle Paul is reported to have converted the people of Cyprus to Christianity. The Levite Barnabas, a Cypriot, travels to Cyprus and Anatolia with Paul (Acts. 12, 13). During the 5th century AD, the church of Cyprus achieved its independence from the Patriarch of Antioch at the Council of Ephesus in 431.
Ayia Paraskevi Byzantine Church in Yeroskipou
Middle Ages to High Middle Ages

After the division of the Roman Empire into an eastern half and a western half, Cyprus came under the rule of Byzantium. At that time, its bishop, while still subject to the Church, was made autocephalous by the Council of Ephesus.


The Arabs invaded Cyprus in force in the 650s, but in 688, the emperor Justinian II and the caliph Abd al-Malik reached an unprecedented agreement. For the next 300 years, Cyprus was ruled jointly by both the Arabs and the Byzantines as a condominium, despite the nearly constant warfare between the two parties on the mainland. The Byzantines recovered control over the island for short periods thereafter, but the status quo was always restored.
Cape Andreas, where Isaac was taken prisoner by the Crusaders
This period lasted until the year 965, when Niketas Chalkoutzes conquered the island for a resurgent Byzantium. In 1185, the last Byzantine governor of Cyprus, Isaac Comnenus of Cyprus from a minor line of the Imperial house, rose in rebellion and attempted to seize the throne. His attempted coup was unsuccessful, but Comnenos was able to retain control of the island.

Byzantine actions against Comnenos failed because he enjoyed the support of William II of Sicily. The Emperor had an agreement with the sultan of Egypt to close Cypriot harbours to the Crusaders.

In the 12th century A.D. the island became a target of the crusaders. Richard the Lionheart landed in Limassol on 1 June 1191 in search of his sister and his bride Berengaria, whose ship had become separated from the fleet in a storm. Richard's army landed when Isaac refused to return the hostages (Richard's sister, his bride, and several shipwrecked soldiers), and forced Isaac to flee from Limassol. He eventually surrendered, conceding control of the island to the King of England. Richard married Berengaria in Limassol on 12 May 1192. She was crowned as Queen of England by John Fitzluke, Bishop of Évreux. The crusader fleet continued to St. Jean d'Acre (Syria) on 5 June.
Seal of the Templars
The army of Richard the Lionheart continued to occupy Cyprus and raised taxes. He sold the island to the Knights Templar. Soon after that, the Franks (Lusignans) occupied the island, establishing the Kingdom of Cyprus. They declared Latin the official language, later replacing it with French; much later, Greek was recognised as a second official language. In 1196, the Latin Church was established, and the Orthodox Cypriot Church experienced a series of religious persecutions. Maronites settled on Cyprus during the crusades and still maintain some villages in the north.

Late Middle Ages and Renaissance 

Amalric I of Cyprus, received the royal crown and title from Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. A small minority Roman Catholic population of the island was mainly confined to some coastal cities, such as Famagusta, as well as inland Nicosia, the traditional capital. Roman Catholics kept the reins of power and control, while the Greek inhabitants lived in the countryside; this was much the same as the arrangement in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The independent Eastern Orthodox Church of Cyprus, with its own archbishop and subject to no patriarch, was allowed to remain on the island, but the Latin Church largely displaced it in stature and holding property.
Ancient old Nicosia Aqueduct Republic of Cyprus
After the death of Amalric of Lusignan, the Kingdom continually passed to a series of young boys who grew up as king. The Ibelin family, which had held much power in Jerusalem prior its downfall, acted as regents during these early years. In 1229 one of the Ibelin regents was forced out of power by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, who brought the struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines to the island.

Frederick's supporters were defeated in this struggle by 1233, although it lasted longer in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and in the Holy Roman Empire. Frederick's Hohenstaufen descendants continued to rule as kings of Jerusalem until 1268 when Hugh III of Cyprus claimed the title and its territory of Acre for himself upon the death of Conrad III of Jerusalem, thus uniting the two kingdoms. The territory in Palestine was finally lost while Henry II was king in 1291, but the kings of Cyprus continued to claim the title.


Othelo by William Shakespeare- the Title Page
Like Jerusalem, Cyprus had a Haute Cour (High Court), although it was less powerful than it had been in Jerusalem. The island was richer and more feudal than Jerusalem, so the king had more personal wealth and could afford to ignore the Haute Cour. The most important vassal family was the multi-branch House of Ibelin. However, the king was often in conflict with the Italian merchants, especially because Cyprus had become the centre of European trade with Africa and Asia after the fall of Acre in 1291.

The kingdom eventually came to be dominated more and more in the 14th century by the Genoese merchants. Cyprus therefore sided with the Avignon Papacy in the Western Schism, in the hope that the French would be able to drive out the Italians. The Mameluks then made the kingdom a tributary state in 1426; the remaining monarchs gradually lost almost all independence, until 1489 when the last Queen, Catherine Cornaro, was forced to sell the island to Venice. Ottomans started raiding Cyprus immediately afterwards, and captured it in 1571.

This is the historical setting to Shakespeare's "Othello", the play's title character being the commander of the Venetian garrison defending Cyprus against the Ottomans.
Demonstration in Cyprus during 1930s, in favor of Enosis
Cyprus under the Ottoman Empire 

Beginnings of Enosis 

During the Greek War of Independence the Greek people fought for independence from the Ottoman Empire who ruled them. A number of Greek Cypriots rebelled on Cyprus, in return the Ottoman rulers of Cyprus tried to keep control by using draconian means of suppression. 486 Greek Cypriots were executed on 9 July 1821, accused of conspiring with the rebelling Greeks, including four Bishops and numerous prominent citizens—all beheaded in the central square of Nicosia, while Archbishop Kyprianos was hanged. Actions during the short period that followed caused a strengthening of that Greek Cypriot desire to become part of Greece, known as Enosis ("Union").
Fight Near Ivanovo Chiflik- Russo-Turkish War
Many Cypriots again sought the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece when Greece became independent in 1830, but it remained part of the Ottoman Empire. The Russo-Turkish War ended the Ottoman control of Cyprus in 1878 when Cyprus was left under the control of the United Kingdom; with its conditions set out in the Cyprus Convention, although sovereignty of the island continued to belong to the Ottoman Empire until the Kingdom annexed the island unilaterally in 1914, when it declared war against the Ottomans at the First World War. Under British rule the island began to enjoy a period of increased free-speech, something which allowed further development of the Greek Cypriots' ideas of Enosis.

Modern Era 

In 1878, as the result of the Cyprus Convention, the United Kingdom took over the government of Cyprus as a protectorate from the Ottoman Empire. In 1914, at the beginning of World War I, Cyprus was annexed by the United Kingdom. In 1925, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Cyprus was made a Crown Colony. Between 1955-59 EOKA was created by Greek Cypriots and led by George Grivas to perform enosis (union of the island with Greece). However the EOKA campaign did not result union with Greece but rather an independent republic, The Republic of Cyprus, in 1960.
Fazıl Kucuk the 1st Vice President of Cyprus
In 1960, the mostly Muslim Turkish Cypriots were only 18% of the Cypriot population. However, the 1960 constitution put in place a form of power-sharing, or consociational government, in which concessions were made to the Turkish Cypriot minority, for example there was a requirement the vice-president of Cyprus and at least 30% of members of parliament be Turkish Cypriots. Archbishop Makarios would be the President and Dr Fazil Kucuk would become Vice President. One of the articles in the constitution was the creation of separate local municipalities so that Greek and Turkish Cypriots could manage their own municipalities in the big towns.

Internal conflicts turned into full-fledged armed fighting between the two communities on the island which prompted the United Nations to send peacekeeping forces in 1964; these forces are still in place today. In 1974 Greek Cypriots performed a military coup with the support of military junta in Greece. Turkey used the coup as a pretext to invade the northern portion of the island. Turkish forces remained after a cease-fire, resulting in the partition of the island; an objective of Turkey since 1955. The intercommunal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots.
Rauf Denktas, the Founder of NRNC
The de facto state of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1975 under the name "Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus". The name was changed to its present form on 15 November 1983. The only country to formally recognise The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" is Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of Turkish settlers have been granted right to illegally reside in the 'TRNC' and allowed to reside on Greek Cypriot land and property in order to change the island's demographic in favour of the Turkish Cypriots. The international community considers the North as occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey has repeatedly violated numerous UN Resolutions calling on it to withdraw its occupation.

 In 2002 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan started a new round of negotiations for the unification of the island. In 2004 after long negotiations between both sides a plan for unification of the island emerged. The resulting plan was supported by UN, EU and the US. The nationalists in both sides campaigned for the rejection of the plan but Turkish side accepted the plan while Greek side rejected it.
Hosting the British flag at Nicosia- July, 1878
After Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004, it adopted the Euro as its currency on January 1, 2008, replacing the previously used Cypriot Pound; whilst the illegally occupied areas continued to use the Turkish Lira and on January 1, 2008 the New Turkish Lira.

Cyprus under the British Empire 

In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) and the Congress of Berlin, Cyprus was leased to the British Empire which de facto took over its administration in 1878 (though, in terms of sovereignty, it remained a de jure Ottoman territory until 1914, together with Egypt and Sudan) in exchange for guarantees that Britain would use the island as a base to protect the Ottoman Empire against possible Russian aggression.
Turkey-Greece-Bulgaria on Treaty of Lausanne
The island would serve Britain as a key military base in its colonial routes. By 1906, when the Famagusta harbour was completed, Cyprus was a strategic naval outpost overlooking the Suez Canal, the crucial main route to India which was then Britain's most important overseas possession. Following the outbreak of World War I and the decision of the Ottoman Empire to join the war on the side of the Central Powers, the British Empire formally annexed Cyprus, Egypt and Sudan on 5 November 1914 as a response.

In 1915, Britain offered Cyprus to Constantine I of Greece on condition that Greece join the war on the side of the British, which he declined. In 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, the nascent Turkish republic relinquished any claim to Cyprus, and in 1925 it was declared a British crown colony. Many Greek Cypriots fought in the British Army during both World Wars, in the hope that Cyprus would eventually be united with Greece. During World War II many enlisted in the Cyprus Regiment.
Statue of Liberty, Nicosia, Cyprus
In January 1950, the Church of Cyprus organized a referendum, which was boycotted by the Turkish Cypriot community, where 96% of Greek Cypriots voted in favour of "enosis", meaning union with Greece. Restricted autonomy under a constitution was proposed by the British administration but eventually rejected. In 1955 the EOKA organisation was founded, seeking independence and union with Greece through armed struggle. At the same time the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT), calling for Taksim, or partition, was established by the Turkish Cypriots as a counterweight. Turmoil on the island was met with force by the British.

Independence 

On 16 August 1960, Cyprus attained independence after the Zürich and London Agreement between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey. The UK retained the two Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, while government posts and public offices were allocated by ethnic quotas, giving the minority Turkish Cypriots a permanent veto, 30% in parliament and administration, and granting the three mother-states guarantor rights.
Makarios III, the First President of Cyprus
In 1963, inter-communal violence broke out, partially sponsored by both "motherlands". As a result, Turkish Cypriots were forced into enclaves and Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios III called for unilateral constitutional changes as a means to ease tensions over the whole island. The United Nations deployed forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) at flash points.

In 1964, Turkey tried to invade Cyprus in response to the continuing Cypriot intercommunal violence. But Turkey was stopped by a strongly worded telegram from the US President Lyndon B. Johnson on 5 June, warning that the United States would not stand beside Turkey in case of a consequential Soviet invasion of Turkish territory.

Turkish Invasion and Division 

On 15 July 1974, the Greek military junta under Dimitrios Ioannides carried out a coup d'état in Cyprus, to unite the island with Greece. The coup ousted president Makarios III and replaced him with pro-enosis nationalist Nikos Sampson. Five days later, on 20 July 1974, the Turkish army invaded the island on the pretext of restoring the constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus by claiming a right to intervene as one of the guarantors of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee.
Kyrenia Harbour, Cyprus
The Turkish air force began bombing Greek positions on Cyprus, hundreds of paratroops were dropped in the area between Nicosia and Kyrenia, where well-armed Turkish Cypriot enclaves had been long-established, while off the Kyrenia coast, 30 Turkish troop ships protected by destroyers landed 6,000 men as well as tanks, trucks, and armoured vehicles.

Three days later, when a ceasefire had been agreed, Turkey had landed 30,000 troops on the island and captured Kyrenia, the corridor linking Kyrenia to Nicosia, and Turkish Cypriot quarter of Nicosia itself. The junta in Athens, and then the Sampson regime in Cyprus fell from power. In Nicosia, Glafkos Clerides assumed the presidency and constitutional order was restored, removing the pretext for the Turkish invasion. But during the peace negotiations in Geneva, the Turkish government reinforced their Kyrenia bridgehead and prepared for a second invasion. The invasion began on 14 August and resulted in the seizure of Morphou, Karpass, Famagusta and the Mesaoria. The Greek-Cypriot forces were unable to resist the Turkish advance.
A Map Showing the Division of Cyprus
International pressure led to a ceasefire, and by then 37% of the island had been taken over by the Turks and 180,000 Greek-Cypriots had been evicted from their homes in the north. At the same time, around 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to the areas under the control of the Turkish Forces and settled in the properties of the displaced Greek Cypriots. Among a variety of sanctions against Turkey, in mid-1975 the US Congress imposed an arms embargo on Turkey for using American-supplied equipment during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

Post-Division 

After the restoration of constitutional order and the return of Archbishop Makarios III to Cyprus in December 1974, the Turkish troops remained on the island occupying the northeastern portion of the island. In 1983, Turkish Cypriots proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognised only by Turkey. There are 1,534 Greek Cypriots and 502 Turkish Cypriots missing as a result of the fighting.
Proposed flag of the United Cyprus Republic under the Annan Plan
The events of the summer of 1974 dominate the politics on the island, as well as Greco-Turkish relations. Around 150,000 settlers from Turkey are believed to be living in the north in violation of the Geneva Convention and various UN resolutions. Following the invasion and the capture of its northern territory by Turkish troops, the Republic of Cyprus announced that all of its ports of entry in the north were closed, as they were effectively not under its control.

 The Turkish invasion and occupation and the self-declaration of independence of the TRNC have been condemned by several United Nations Resolutions. The Security Council reaffirms this every year. The last major effort to settle the Cyprus dispute was the Annan Plan in 2004, drafted by the Secretary General at the time, Kofi Annan. The plan was put to a referendum in both the TRNC and the Republic of Cyprus. It gained the support of the Turkish Cypriots and passed in the TRNC but was rejected by the Greek Cypriots, who perceived it to disproportionately favour Turks.
Ledra Street, Nicosia, Cyprus
On 1 May 2004 Cyprus joined the European Union together with nine other countries. The TRNC was not accepted into the EU. In July 2006, the island served as a safe haven for people fleeing Lebanon because of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah (also called "The July war").

In March 2008, a wall that for decades had stood at the boundary between the Republic of Cyprus and the UN buffer zone was demolished. The wall had cut across Ledra Street in the heart of Nicosia and was seen as a strong symbol of the island's 32-year division. On 3 April 2008, Ledra Street was reopened in the presence of Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials.

Geography:

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia (both in terms of area and population). It is also the world's 81st largest by area and world's 51st largest by population. It measures 240 kilometres (149 mi) long from end to end and 100 kilometres (62 mi) wide at its widest point, with Turkey 75 kilometres (47 mi) to the north. It lies between latitudes 34° and 36° N, and longitudes 32° and 35° E.
Other neighbouring territories include Syria and Lebanon to the east (105 kilometres (65 mi) and 108 kilometres (67 mi), respectively), Israel 200 kilometres (124 mi) to the southeast, Egypt 380 kilometres (236 mi) to the south, and Greece to the northwest: 280 kilometres (174 mi) to the small Dodecanesian island of Kastelorizo (Megisti), 400 kilometres (249 mi) to Rhodes, and 800 kilometres (497 mi) to the Greek mainland. The physical relief of the island is dominated by two mountain ranges, the Troodos Mountains and the smaller Kyrenia Range, and the central plain they encompass, the Mesaoria. The Mesaoria plain is drained by the Pedieos River, the longest on the island. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western portions of the island and account for roughly half its area. The highest point on Cyprus is Mount Olympus at 1,952 m (6,404 ft), located in the centre of the Troodos range. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies substantially less area, and elevations are lower, reaching a maximum of 1,024 m (3,360 ft).
Geopolitically, the island is subdivided into four main segments. The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern two-thirds of the island (59.74%). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus occupies the northern third (34.85%), and the United Nations-controlled Green Line provides 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%. Climate Cyprus has a subtropical climate – Mediterranean and semi-arid type (in the north-eastern part of the island) – Köppen climate classifications Csa and Bsh, with very mild winters (on the coast) and warm to hot summers. Snow is possible only in the Troodos Mountains in the central part of island. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry.
Cyprus has the warmest climate (and warmest winters) in the Mediterranean part of the European Union. The average annual temperature on the coast is around 24 °C (75 °F) during the day and 14 °C (57 °F) at night. Generally, summers last about eight months, beginning in April with average temperatures of 21–23 °C (70–73 °F) during the day and 11–13 °C (52–55 °F) at night, and ending in November with average temperatures of 22–23 °C (72–73 °F) during the day and 12–14 °C (54–57 °F) at night, although in the remaining four months temperatures sometimes exceed 20 °C (68 °F). Among all cities in the Mediterranean part of the European Union, Limassol has the warmest winters, in the period January – February average temperature is 17–18 °C (63–64 °F) during the day and 8–9 °C (46–48 °F) at night, in other coastal locations in Cyprus is generally 16–17 °C (61–63 °F) during the day and 7–9 °C (45–48 °F) at night. In March and December in Limassol average temperatures is 19–20 °C (66–68 °F) during the day and 10–11 °C (50–52 °F) at night, in other coastal locations in Cyprus is generally 17–19 °C (63–66 °F) during the day and 8–11 °C (46–52 °F) at night.
The middle of summer is hot – in July and August on the coast the average temperature is usually around 33 °C (91 °F) during the day and around 23 °C (73 °F) at night (inside the island, in the highlands average temperature exceeds 35 °C (95 °F)) while in the June and September on the coast the average temperature is usually around 30 °C (86 °F) during the day and around 20 °C (68 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are rare. Temperatures inside the island are more stringent, with colder winters and more hot summers compared with the coast of the island. Average annual temperature of sea is 21–22 °C (70–72 °F), from 17 °C (63 °F) in February to 27–28 °C (81–82 °F) in August (depending on the location). In total 7 months – from May to November – the average sea temperature exceeds 20 °C (68 °F).
Sunshine hours on the coast are around 3,400 per year, from an average of 5–6 hours of sunshine per day in December to an average of 12–13 hours in July. This is about double that of cities in the northern half of Europe; for comparison, London receives about 1,461 per year. In December, London receives about 37 hours of sunshine while coastal locations in Cyprus about 180 hours (that is, as much as in May in London). Water supply Cyprus suffers from a shortage of water. The country relies heavily on rain to provide household water, and for many years now the average annual rainfall seems to be decreasing. Between 2001 and 2004, exceptionally heavy annual rainfall pushed water reserves up, with supply exceeding demand, allowing total storage in the island's reservoirs to rise to an all-time high by the start of 2005. However, since then demand has increased annually – a result of local population growth, foreigners relocating to Cyprus and the number of visiting tourists – while supply has fallen. Cyprus has a total of 107 dams (plus one currently under construction) and reservoirs, with a total water storage capacity of about 330,000,000 m3 (1.2×1010 cu ft).
Dams remain the principal source of water both for domestic and agricultural use. Water desalination plants are gradually being constructed to deal with recent years of prolonged drought. The Government has invested heavily in the creation of water desalination plants which have supplied almost 50 per cent of domestic water since 2001. Efforts have also been made to raise public awareness of the situation and to encourage domestic water users to take more responsibility for the conservation of this increasingly scarce commodity. Politics Cyprus is a presidential republic. The head of state and of the government is elected by a process of universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised by the government with legislative power vested in the House of Representatives whilst the Judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature.
The 1960 Constitution provided for a presidential system of government with independent executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as a complex system of checks and balances including a weighted power-sharing ratio designed to protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots. The executive was led by a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice-president elected by their respective communities for five-year terms and each possessing a right of veto over certain types of legislation and executive decisions. Legislative power rested on the House of Representatives who were also elected on the basis of separate voters' rolls. Since 1965, following clashes between the two communities, the Turkish Cypriot seats in the House remain vacant. Turkish Cypriots refused to establish the state of affairs before the invasion of Cyprus as is evident in the Secretary-General of the United Nations who said "The Turkish Cypriot leaders have adhered to a rigid stand against any measures which might involve having members of the two communities live and work together, or which might place Turkish Cypriots in situations where they would have to acknowledge the authority of Government agents. Indeed, since the Turkish Cypriot leadership is committed to physical and geographical separation of the communities as a political goal, it is not likely to encourage activities by Turkish Cypriots which may be interpreted as demonstrating the merits of an alternative policy. By 1974 the two communities had returned to a more tolerant state of living.
In 1974 Cyprus was divided de facto when the Turkish army occupied the northern third of the island. The Turkish Cypriots subsequently declared independence in 1983 as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but were recognized only by Turkey. In 1985 the TRNC adopted a constitution and held its first elections. The United Nations recognises the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the entire island of Cyprus. The House of Representatives currently has 59 members elected for a five-year term, 56 members by proportional representation and 3 observer members representing the Armenian, Latin and Maronite minorities. 24 seats are allocated to the Turkish community but remain vacant since 1964. The political environment is dominated by the communist AKEL, the liberal conservative Democratic Rally, the centrist Democratic Party, the social-democratic EDEK and the centrist EURO.KO. On 17 February 2008 Dimitris Christofias of the AKEL was elected President of Cyprus, on AKEL's first electoral victory without being part of a wider coalition. Christofias took over government from Tassos Papadopoulos of the Democratic Party who had been in office since February 2003.
Administrative divisions The Republic of Cyprus is divided into six districts: Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos. These are not the same as those of Northern Cyprus. Exclaves and enclaves Cyprus has four exclaves, all in territory that belongs to the British Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia. The first two are the villages of Ormidhia and Xylotymvou. The third is the Dhekelia Power Station which is divided by a British road into two parts. The northern part is an exclave, like the two villages, whereas the southern part is located by the sea and therefore not an exclave although it has no territorial waters of its own. The UN buffer zone runs up against Dhekelia and picks up again from its east side off Ayios Nikolaos and is connected to the rest of Dhekelia by a thin land corridor. In that sense the buffer zone turns the Paralimni area on the southeast corner of the island into a de facto, though not de jure, exclave.
Foreign relations The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the following international groups: Australia Group, CN, CE, CFSP, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ITUC, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO. Human rights In "Freedom in the World 2011", Freedom House rated the democracy of Cyprus as "free". The constant focus on the division of the island can sometimes mask other human rights issues. Prostitution has been described as rife in both the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-controlled regions leading to criticism from the United States government for their alleged lack of controls on the sex trade and for the role of Cyprus as one of the main destinations for human trafficking from Eastern Europe.
The recent assassination of leftist musician Pavlos Fyssas in Athens, Greece, allegedly by a militant of Golden Dawn, arouse concerns in Cyprus that rising extremism is not being adequately addressed in the country. The Justice Minister, Ionas Nicolaou, admitted that Cypriot police would investigate material on racist, xenophobic and extremist activities taking place in the country, including alleged evidence that armed military exercises were being carried out in summer camps for youth. Military The Cypriot National Guard is the main military institution of the Republic of Cyprus. It is a combined arms force, with land, air and naval elements. The National Guard is a required 24-month service for all men upon completing their 18th birthday. The land forces of the Cypriot National Guard comprise the following units: • First Infantry Division • Second Infantry Division • Fourth Infantry Brigade • Twentieth Armoured Brigade • Third Support Brigade • Eighth Support Brigade
The air force includes the 449th Helicopter Gunship Squadron (449 ΜΑΕ) – operating SA-342L and Bell 206 and the 450th Helicopter Gunship Squadron (450 ME/P) – operating Mi-35P, BN-2B and PC-9. Current Senior officers include Supreme Commander, Cypriot National Guard, Lt. General Stylianos Nasis, and Chief of Staff, Cypriot National Guard: Maj. General Mihalis Flerianos. The Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion was the worst peacetime military accident ever recorded in Cyprus. The incident occurred on 11 July 2011. Economy of Cyprus The economy of Cyprus is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy, and was included by the International Monetary Fund in its list of advanced economies in 2001. Erratic growth rates in the 1990s reflected the economy's vulnerability to swings in tourist arrivals, caused by political instability on the island and fluctuations in economic conditions in Western Europe. The economic situation is expected to get worse in 2014.
On 1 January 2008, the country entered the eurozone and adopted the euro as its official currency, replacing the Cypriot pound at an irrevocable fixed exchange rate of CYP 0.585274 per EUR 1.00. The 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, part of the wider Eurozone crisis, has dominated the country's economic affairs in recent times. In March 2013, the Cypriot government reached an agreement with its Eurogroup partners to split the country's second biggest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), into a "bad" bank which would be wound down over time and a "good" bank which would be absorbed by the larger Bank of Cyprus. In return for a €10 billion bailout from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Cypriot government would be required to impose a significant haircut on uninsured deposits, a large proportion of which were held by wealthy Russians who used Cyprus as a tax haven. Insured deposits of €100,000 or less would not be affected.
Economy in the government-controlled area Cyprus has an open, free-market, service-based economy with some light manufacturing. Internationally, Cyprus promotes its geographical location as a "bridge" between East and West, along with its educated English-speaking population, moderate local costs, good airline connections, and telecommunications. Since gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, Cyprus has had a record of successful economic performance, reflected in strong growth, full employment conditions and relative stability. The underdeveloped agrarian economy inherited from colonial rule has been transformed into a modern economy, with dynamic services, industrial and agricultural sectors and an advanced physical and social infrastructure. The Cypriots are among the most prosperous people in the Mediterranean region, with GDP per capita reaching $27,000 in 2012.
Their standard of living is reflected in the country's "very high" Human Development Index, and Cyprus is ranked 23rd in the world in terms of the Quality-of-life Index. However, after more than three decades of unbroken growth, the Cypriot economy contracted in 2009. This reflected the exposure of Cyprus to the global recession and European sovereign debt crisis. In recent times, concerns have been raised about the state of public finances and spiralling borrowing costs. Furthermore, Cyprus was dealt a severe blow by the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion in July 2011, with the cost to the economy estimated at €1–3 billion, or up to 17% of GDP. The economic achievements of Cyprus during the preceding decades have been significant, bearing in mind the severe economic and social dislocation created by the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the continuing occupation of the northern part of the island by Turkey. The Turkish invasion inflicted a serious blow to the Cyprus economy and in particular to agriculture, tourism, mining and quarrying: 70 percent of the island’s wealth-producing resources were lost, the tourist industry lost 65 percent of its hotels and tourist accommodation, the industrial sector lost 46 percent, and mining and quarrying lost 56 percent of production. The loss of the port of Famagusta, which handled 83 percent of the general cargo, and the closure of Nicosia International Airport, in the buffer zone, were additional setbacks.
The success of Cyprus in the economic sphere has been attributed, inter alia, to the adoption of a market-oriented economic system, the pursuance of sound macroeconomic policies by the government as well as the existence of a dynamic and flexible entrepreneurship and a highly educated labor force. Moreover, the economy benefited from the close cooperation between the public and private sectors. In the past 30 years, the economy has shifted from agriculture to light manufacturing and services. The services sector, including tourism, contributes almost 80% to GDP and employs more than 70% of the labor force. Industry and construction account for approximately one-fifth of GDP and labor, while agriculture is responsible for 2.1% of GDP and 8.5% of the labor force. Potatoes and citrus are the principal export crops. After robust growth rates in the 1980s (average annual growth was 6.1%), economic performance in the 1990s was mixed: real GDP growth was 9.7% in 1992, 1.7% in 1993, 6.0% in 1994, 6.0% in 1995, 1.9% in 1996 and 2.3% in 1997. This pattern underlined the economy's vulnerability to swings in tourist arrivals (i.e., to economic and political conditions in Cyprus, Western Europe, and the Middle East) and the need to diversify the economy. Declining competitiveness in tourism and especially in manufacturing are expected to act as a drag on growth until structural changes are effected. Overvaluation of the Cypriot pound prior to the adoption of the euro in 2008 had kept inflation in check.
Trade is vital to the Cypriot economy—the island is not self-sufficient in food and until the recent offshore gas discoveries had few known natural resources—and the trade deficit continues to grow. Cyprus must import fuels, most raw materials, heavy machinery, and transportation equipment. More than 50% of its trade is with the rest of the European Union, especially Greece and the United Kingdom, while the Middle East receives 20% of exports. In 1991, Cyprus introduced a Value Added Tax (VAT), which is currently 15% in line with the EU minimum. Cyprus ratified the new world trade agreement (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT) in 1995 and began implementing it fully on 1 January 1996. EU accession negotiations started on 31 March 1998, and concluded when Cyprus joined the organization as a full member in 2004.
Cyprus has the fourth-largest ship registry in the world, with 2,758 ships and 25.5 million gross registered tons (GRTs). It is an open registry and includes ships from more than 43 countries, including Greece, Germany, and Russia. Investment climate The Cyprus legal system is founded on English law, and is therefore familiar to most international financiers. Cyprus's legislation was aligned with EU norms in the period leading up to EU accession in 2004. Restrictions on foreign direct investment were removed, permitting 100% foreign ownership in many cases. Foreign portfolio investment in the Cyprus Stock Exchange was also liberalized. In 2002 a modern, business-friendly tax system was put in place with a 10% corporate tax rate, the lowest in the EU. Cyprus has concluded treaties on double taxation with more than 40 countries, and, as a member of the Eurozone, has no exchange restrictions. Non-residents and foreign investors may freely repatriate proceeds from investments in Cyprus.
Role as a financial hub As a result of the reforms in the past decade Cyprus has developed into one of the world's more important international business centers. In the years following perestroika it gained great popularity as a portal for investment from the West into Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. More recently, although the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe remain the most important investment destinations, there have been increasing investment flows from the West through Cyprus into Asia (particularly China and India), South America and the Middle East. In addition, businesses from outside the EU use Cyprus as their entry-point for investment into Europe. The business services sector was the fastest growing sector of the economy, and had overtaken all other sectors in importance before the financial crisis imposed haircuts on large bank depositors. CIPA has been fundamental towards this trend.
Role as an energy hub The eastern Mediterranean is home to vast reserves of natural gas. Noble Energy has already got promising results from the Leviathan gas field, off the coast of Israel (and edging into an area claimed by Lebanon), and is now drilling in the waters just south of Cyprus. Hence plenty of optimistic talk at the conference of co-operation between Cyprus and Israel to construct LNG terminals or a pipeline to transmit gas to energy-hungry Europe in competition with the network of pipelines, actual or proposed, from Russia and central Asia. Noble Energy apparently reckons a pipeline could be in operation as soon as 2014 or 2015. Surveys suggest more than 100 trillion cubic feet (2.831 trillion cubic metres) of reserves lie untapped in the eastern Mediterranean basin between Cyprus and Israel - almost equal to the world's total annual consumption of natural gas.
Role as a Shipping hub Cyprus constitutes one of the largest Ship management centers in the world; around 50 shipmanagement companies and marine-related foreign enterprises are conducting their international activities in the country while the majority of the largest ship management companies in the world have established fully fledged offices on the island. Its geographical position at the crossroads of three continents and its proximity to the Suez canal has promoted merchant shipping as an important industry for the island nation. As of 2005 Cyprus holds the 9th largest (by DWT) merchant navy in the world and the 3rd largest in the European Union. Trade In 2008 fiscal aggregate value of goods and services exported by Cyprus was in region of $1.53 billion. It primarily exported goods and services such as citrus fruits, cement, potatoes, clothing and pharmaceuticals. At that same period total financial value of goods and services imported by Cyprus was about $8.689 billion. Prominent goods and services imported by Cyprus in 2008 were consumer goods, machinery, petroleum and other lubricants, transport equipment and intermediate goods.
Cyprus export and import partners Traditionally Greece has been major export and import partner of Cyprus. In 2007 fiscal it amounted for 21.1 percent of total exports of Cyprus. At that same period it was responsible for 17.7 percent of goods and services imported by Cyprus. Some other important names in this regard are UK and Italy. Eurozone crisis In 2012, Cyprus became affected by the Eurozone financial and banking crisis. In June 2012, the Cypriot government announced it would need €1.8 billion of foreign aid to support the Cyprus Popular Bank, and this was followed by Fitch down-grading Cyprus's credit rating to junk status. Fitch said Cyprus would need an additional €4 billion to support its banks and the downgrade was mainly due to the exposure of Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank (Cyprus's 3 largest banks) to the Greek financial crisis. In June 2012 the Cypriot finance minister Vassos Shiarly stated that the European Central Bank, European commission and IMF officials are to carry out an in-depth investigation into Cyprus' economy and banking sector to assess the level of funding it requires. The Ministry of Finance rejected the possibility that Cyprus would be forced to undergo the sweeping austerity measures that have caused turbulence in Greece, but admitted that there would be "some negative repercussion".
In November, 2012 international lenders negotiating a bailout with the Cypriot government have agreed on a key capital ratio for banks and a system for the sector's supervision. Both commercial banks and cooperatives will be overseen by the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance. They also set a core Tier 1 ratio - a measure of financial strength - of 9% by the end of 2013 for banks, which could then rise to 10% in 2014. Economy in the Turkish-occupied area The economy of Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus is about one-fifth the size of the economy of the government-controlled area, while GDP per capita is around half. Because the de facto administration is recognized only by Turkey, it has had much difficulty arranging foreign financing, and foreign firms have hesitated to invest there. The economy mainly revolves around the agricultural sector and government service, which together employ about half of the work force.
The tourism sector also contributes substantially into the economy. Moreover, the small economy has seen some downfalls because the Turkish lira is legal tender. To compensate for the economy's weakness, Turkey has been known to provide significant financial aid. In both parts of the island, water shortage is a growing problem, and several desalination plants are planned. The economic disparity between the two communities is pronounced. Although the economy operates on a free-market basis, the lack of private and government investment, shortages of skilled labor and experienced managers, and inflation and the devaluation of the Turkish lira continue to plague the economy. Trade with Turkey Turkey is by far the main trading partner of the Turkish-occupied area, supplying 55% of imports and absorbing 48% of exports. In a landmark case, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on 5 July 1994 against the British practice of importing produce from northern Cyprus based on certificates of origin and phytosanitary certificates granted by the de facto authorities. The ECJ decided that only goods bearing certificates of origin from the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus could be imported by EU member states. The decision resulted in a considerable decrease of Turkish Cypriot exports to the EU: from $36.4 million (or 66.7% of total Turkish Cypriot exports) in 1993 to $24.7 million in 1996 (or 35% of total exports) in 1996. Even so, the EU continues to be the second-largest trading partner of northern Cyprus, with a 24.7% share of total imports and 35% share of total exports.
The most important exports of Northern Cyprus are citrus and dairy products. These are followed by rakı, scrap and clothing. Assistance from Turkey is the mainstay of the Turkish Cypriot economy. Under the latest economic protocol (signed 3 January 1997), Turkey has undertaken to provide loans totalling $250 million for the purpose of implementing projects included in the protocol related to public finance, tourism, banking, and privatization. Fluctuation in the Turkish lira, which suffered from hyperinflation every year until its replacement by the Turkish new lira in 2005, exerted downward pressure on the Turkish Cypriot standard of living for many years. The de facto authorities have instituted a free market in foreign exchange and permit residents to hold foreign-currency denominated bank accounts. This encourages transfers from Turkish Cypriots living abroad.
Transport Available modes of transport are by road, sea, and air. Of the 10,663 km (6,626 mi) of roads in the Republic of Cyprus in 1998, 6,249 km (3,883 mi) were paved, and 4,414 km (2,743 mi) were unpaved. In 1996 the Turkish-occupied area had a similar ratio of paved to unpaved, with approximately 1,370 km (850 mi) of paved road and 980 km (610 mi) unpaved. Cyprus is one of only four EU nations in which vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road, a remnant of British colonisation (the others being Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom). There are several modern motorways in Cyprus. A series of motorways runs along the coast from Paphos east to Ayia Napa, with two motorways running inland to Nicosia, one from Limassol and one from Larnaca. • A1 Nicosia to Limassol • A2 connects A1 near Pera Chorio with A3 by Larnaca • A3 Larnaca to Agia Napa • A5 connects A1 near Kofinou with A3 by Larnaca • A6 Pafos to Limassol • A9 Nicosia to Astromeritis
Per capita private car ownership is the 29th-highest in the world. There were approximately 344,000 privately owned vehicles, and a total of 517,000 registered motor vehicles in the Republic of Cyprus in 2006. In 2006 extensive plans were announced to improve and expand bus services and restructure public transport throughout Cyprus, with the financial backing of the European Union Development Bank. In 2010 the new revised and expanded bus network was implemented. Cyprus has several heliports and two international airports: Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport. A third airport, Ercan International Airport operates in the Turkish Cypriot administered area with direct flights only to Turkey (Turkish Cypriot ports are closed to international traffic apart from Turkey). Nicosia International Airport has been closed since 1974. The main harbours of the island are Limassol and Larnaca, which service cargo, passenger, and cruise ships.
Communications Cyta, the state-owned telecommunications company, manages most telecommunications and Internet connections on the island. However, following the recent liberalization of the sector, a few private telecommunications companies have emerged including MTN, Cablenet, OTEnet Telecom, Omega Telecom and PrimeTel. In the Turkish-controlled area of Cyprus, three companies are also present: Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom. Demographics According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2001 Greek Cypriots comprised 77%, Turkish Cypriots 18%, and others 5% of the Cypriot population. At the time of the 2011 government census, there were 10,520 people of Russian origin living in Cyprus. According to the first population census after the declaration of independence, carried out in December 1960 and covering the entire island, Cyprus had a total population of 573,566; of whom 442,138 (77.1%) were Greeks, 104,320 (18.2%) Turkish, and 27,108 (4.7%) others.
Due to the inter-communal ethnic tensions between 1963 and 1974, an island-wide census was regarded as impossible. Nevertheless, the Greek Cypriots conducted one in 1973, without the Turkish Cypriot populace. According to this census, the Greek Cypriot population was 482,000. One year later, in 1974, the Cypriot government's Department of Statistics and Research estimated the total population of Cyprus at 641,000; of whom 506,000 (78.9%) were Greeks, and 118,000 (18.4%) Turkish. After the partition of the island in 1974, Greeks conducted four more censuses: in 1976, 1982, 1992 and 2001; these excluded the Turkish population which was resident in the northern part of the island. According to the Republic of Cyprus's latest estimate, in 2005, the number of Cypriot citizens currently living in the Republic of Cyprus is around 871,036. In addition to this, the Republic of Cyprus is home to 110,200 foreign permanent residents and an estimated 10,000–30,000 undocumented illegal immigrants currently living in the south of the island.
According to the 2006 census carried out by Northern Cyprus, there were 256,644 (de jure) people living in Northern Cyprus. 178,031 were citizens of Northern Cyprus, of whom 147,405 were born in Cyprus (112,534 from the north; 32,538 from the south; 371 did not indicate what part of Cyprus they were from); 27,333 born in Turkey; 2,482 born in the UK and 913 born in Bulgaria. Of the 147,405 citizens born in Cyprus, 120,031 say both parents were born in Cyprus; 16,824 say both parents born in Turkey; 10,361 have one parent born in Turkey and one parent born in Cyprus. In 2010, the International Crisis Group estimated that the total population of Cyprus was 1.1 million, of which there was an estimated 300,000 residents in the north, perhaps half of whom were either born in Turkey or are children of such settlers. One source claims that the population in the north has reached
Y-Dna haplogroups are found at the following frequencies in Cyprus : J (43.07% including 6.20% J1), E1b1b (20.00%), R1 (12.30% including 9.2% R1b), F (9.20%), I (7.70%), K (4.60%), A (3.10%). J, K, F and E1b1b haplogroups consist of lineages with differential distribution within Middle East, North Africa and Europe while R1 and I are typical in West European populations. Outside Cyprus there is a significant and thriving Greek Cypriot diaspora and Turkish Cypriot diaspora in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, Greece and Turkey. Religion Almost all Greek Cypriots are members of the autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, whereas most Turkish Cypriots are adherents of Sunni Islam. According to Eurobarometer 2005, Cyprus is one of the most religious states in the European Union, alongside Malta, Romania, Greece, and Poland. The first President of Cyprus, Makarios III, was an archbishop. The current leader of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus is Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
Hala Sultan Tekke, situated near the Larnaca Salt Lake, is considered by some secular orientalists as the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and an object of pilgrimage for both Muslims and Christians. According to the 2001 census carried out in the Government-controlled area, 94.8% of the population are Christian Orthodox, 0.9% Armenians and Maronites, 1.5% Roman Catholics, 1.0% Church of England, and 0.6% Muslims. The remaining 1.3% adhere to other religious denominations or did not state their religion. Languages Cyprus has two official languages, Greek and Turkish. Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic are recognized as minority languages. Although without official status, Russian is widely spoken among the country's minorities, residents and citizens of post-Soviet countries, as well as Pontic Greeks. It is used and spoken by approximately 100,000 people, including Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Georgians and Bulgarians. Russian, after English and Greek, is the third language used on many signs of shops and restaurants, particularly in Limassol and Paphos. In addition to these languages, 76% of the population of Cyprus speak English, 12% speak French, and 5% speak German.
The everyday spoken language of Greek Cypriots is Cypriot Greek and that of Turkish Cypriots is Cypriot Turkish. These both differ from their respective standard register quite significantly. Education Cyprus has a highly developed system of primary and secondary education offering both public and private education. The high quality of instruction can be attributed to a large extent to the above-average competence of the teachers but also to the fact that nearly 7% of the GDP is spent on education which makes Cyprus one of the top three spenders of education in the EU along with Denmark and Sweden. State schools are generally seen as equivalent in quality of education to private-sector institutions. However, the value of a state high-school diploma is limited by the fact that the grades obtained account for only around 25% of the final grade for each topic, with the remaining 75% assigned by the teacher during the semester, in a minimally transparent way. Cypriot universities (like universities in Greece) ignore high school grades almost entirely for admissions purposes. While a high-school diploma is mandatory for university attendance, admissions are decided almost exclusively on the basis of scores at centrally administered university entrance examinations that all university candidates are required to take.
University of Cyprus in Nicosia
The majority of Cypriots receive their higher education at Greek, British, Turkish, other European and North American universities. It is noteworthy that Cyprus currently has the highest percentage of citizens of working age who have higher-level education in the EU at 30% which is ahead of Finland's 29.5%. In addition 47% of its population aged 25–34 have tertiary education, which is the highest in the EU. The body of Cypriot students is highly mobile, with 78.7% studying in a university outside Cyprus.

Culture:

The culture of Cyprus is divided between the two distinct cultures of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Each community maintains its own culture, linked to the cultures of Greece and Turkey, and there is little cultural interchange between the two groups. The Greek culture first has been present on the island since antiquity. The Turkish culture arrived with the invasion of the Ottoman Empire in 1570, and it was under this rule that the divide between the two communities became prominent and encouraged by government policies. The British did nothing to change this, leaving the island in its divided state with no unified culture.
Chalcolithic Cruciform Figurines Found in Lemba, Cyprus
Art 

The art history of Cyprus can be said to stretch back up to 10,000 years, following the discovery of a series of Chalcolithic period carved figures in the villages of Khoirokoitia and Lempa. The island is the home to numerous examples of high quality religious icon painting from the Middle Ages as well as many painted churches. Cypriot architecture was heavily influenced by French Gothic and Italian renaissance introduced in the island during the era of Latin domination (1191–1571).

In modern times Cypriot art history begins with the painter Vassilis Vryonides (1883–1958) who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Arguably the two founding fathers of modern Cypriot art were Adamantios Diamantis (1900–1994) who studied at London's Royal College of Art and Christopheros Savva (1924–1968) who also studied in London, at Saint Martin's School of Art. In many ways these two artists set the template for subsequent Cypriot art and both their artistic styles and the patterns of their education remain influential to this day. In particular the majority of Cypriot artists still train in England while others train at art schools in Greece and local art institutions such as the Cyprus College of Art, University of Nicosia and the Frederick Institute of Technology.
Stass Paraskos, a Cypriot Artist
One of the features of Cypriot art is a tendency towards figurative painting although conceptual art is being rigorously promoted by a number of art "institutions" and most notably the Nicosia Municipal Art Centre. Municipal art galleries exist in all the main towns and there is a large and lively commercial art scene. Cyprus was due to host the international art festival Manifesta in 2006 but this was cancelled at the last minute following a dispute between the Dutch organizers of Manifesta and the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture over the location of some of the Manifesta events in the Turkish sector of the capital Nicosia.

Other notable Cypriot artists include
  • Rhea Bailey
  • Mihail Kkasialos
  • Ioannis Kissonergis
  • Theodoulo
  • Gregoriou
  • Helene Black
  • George Skoteinos
  • Kalopedis family
  • Panayiotis Kalorkoti
  • Nicos Nicolaides
  • Stass Paraskos
  • Arestís Stasí
  • Telemachos Kanthos
  • Konstantia Sofokleous
  • Chris Achilleos.
Lute- Dominant Instrument of the Cypriot Traditional Music
Music The traditional folk music of Cyprus has several common elements with Greek, Turkish, and Arabic music including Greco-Turkish dances such as the sousta, syrtos, zeibekikos, tatsia, and karsilamas as well as the Middle Eastern-inspired tsifteteli and arapies. There is also a form of musical poetry known as chattista which is often performed at traditional feasts and celebrations. The instruments commonly associated with Cyprus folk music are the bouzouki, oud ("outi"), violin ("fkiolin"), lute ("laouto"), accordion, Cyprus flute ("pithkiavlin") and percussion (including the "toumperleki"). Composers associated with traditional Cypriot music include Evagoras Karageorgis, Marios Tokas, Solon Michaelides and Savvas Salides. Among musicians is also the acclaimed pianist Cyprien Katsaris.

Popular music in Cyprus is generally influenced by the Greek Laïka scene; artists who play in this genre include international platinum star Anna Vissi, Evridiki, and Sarbel. Hip Hop, R&B and reggae have been supported by the emergence of Cypriot rap and the urban music scene at Ayia Napa. Cypriot rock music and Éntekhno rock is often associated with artists such as Michalis Hatzigiannis and Alkinoos Ioannidis. Metal also has a small following in Cyprus represented by bands such as Armageddon (rev.16:16), Blynd, Winter's Verge and Quadraphonic.
Ioannis Kigalas, a Nicosia Born Greek Cypriot Scholar
Literature 

Literary production of the antiquity includes the Cypria, an epic poem, probably composed in the late 7th century BC and attributed to Stasinus. The Cypria is one of the very first specimens of Greek and European poetry. The Cypriot Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoic School of Philosophy.

Epic poetry, notably the "acritic songs", flourished during Middle Ages. Two chronicles, one written by Leontios Machairas and the other by Georgios Voustronios, cover the entire Middle Ages until the end of Frankish rule (4th century–1489). Poèmes d'amour written in medieval Greek Cypriot date back from the 16th century. Some of them are actual translations of poems written by Petrarch, Bembo, Ariosto and G. Sannazzaro. Many Cypriot scholars fled Cyprus at troubled times such as Ioannis Kigalas (c. 1622–1687) who migrated from Cyprus to Italy in the 17th century, several of his works have survived in books of other scholars.
Kyriakos Charalambides, a Renowned Cyprian Poet
Hasan Hilmi Efendi, a Turkish Cypriot poet, was rewarded by the Ottoman sultan Mahmud II and said to be the "sultan of the poems".

Modern literary figures from Cyprus include the poet and writer Kostas Montis, poet Kyriakos Charalambides, poet Michalis Pasiardis, writer Nicos Nicolaides, Stylianos Atteshlis, Altheides, Loukis Akritas and Demetris Th. Gotsis. Dimitris Lipertis, Vasilis Michaelides and Pavlos Liasides are folk poets who wrote poems mainly in the Cypriot-Greek dialect. Lawrence Durrell lived in Northern Cyprus from 1952 until 26 August 1956 and wrote the book Bitter Lemons concerning his time there which won the second Duff Cooper Prize in 1957. The majority of the play Othello by William Shakespeare is set on the island of Cyprus. Cyprus also figures in religious literature such as the Acts of the Apostles according to which the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached on the island.
Grilled Halloumi Cheese Originated in Cyprus
Cuisine 

Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus and was initially made during the Medieval Byzantine period. Halloumi (Hellim) is commonly served sliced, either fresh or grilled, as an appetiser.

Seafood and fish dishes of Cyprus include squid, octopus, red mullet, and sea bass. Cucumber and tomato are used widely in salads. Common vegetable preparations include potatoes in olive oil and parsley, pickled cauliflower and beets, asparagus and Taro. Other traditional delicacies of the island are meat marinated in dried coriander, seeds and wine, and eventually dried and smoked, such as lountza (smoked pork loin), charcoal-grilled lamb, souvlaki (pork and chicken cooked over charcoal), and sheftalia (minced meat wrapped in mesentery). Pourgouri (bulgur, cracked wheat) is the traditional carbohydrate other than bread, and is used to make the Cypriot delicacy koubes.
Cyprus is Well Known for its Turkish Delight
Fresh vegetables and fruits are common ingredients in Cypriot cuisine. Frequently used vegetables include courgettes, green peppers, okra, green beans, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and grape leaves, and pulses such as beans, broad beans, peas, black-eyed beans, chick-peas and lentils. The commonest among fruits and nuts are pears, apples, grapes, oranges, mandarines, nectarines, medlar, blackberries, cherry, strawberries, figs, watermelon, melon, avocado, lemon, pistachio, almond, chestnut, walnut, hazelnut.

Cyprus is also well known for its desserts, including lokum (also known as Turkish Delight) and Soutzoukos. This island has protected geographical indication (PGI) for its lokum produced in the village of Geroskipou.
GSP Stadium, Nicosia, is the Largest stadium in Cyprus
Sports:

Governing bodies of sports in Cyprus include the Cyprus Football Association, Cyprus Basketball Federation, Cyprus Volleyball Federation, Cyprus Automobile Association, Cyprus Badminton Federation, Cyprus Cricket Association and the Cyprus Rugby Federation.

The Cyprus League includes notable teams such as APOEL FC, Anorthosis Famagusta FC, AC Omonia, AEL Lemesos, Apollon FC, Nea Salamis Famagusta FC and AEK Larnaca FC. Stadiums or sports venues in Cyprus include the GSP Stadium (the largest in the Republic of Cyprus-controlled areas of Cyprus), Tsirion Stadium (second largest), Neo GSZ Stadium, Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Ammochostos Stadium and Makario Stadium. Cyprus, also has a football national team which in the last decade has evolved to a promising squad within the European rankings.
Anorthosis Famagusta FC
Anorthosis Famagusta FC was the first Cypriot team to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Group stage in the 2008–2009 season. The next season it was APOEL FC's turn to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage.

APOEL FC played for the last 8 of the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League after finishing top of its group in the group stage and after beating French giants Olympique de Lyonnais in the Round of 16.

Apart from the emphasis on football, Cyprus has exhibited various accomplishments in other sports. Marcos Baghdatis is one of the most successful tennis players on the international stage. He was a finalist at the Australian Open in 2006, and reached the Wimbledon semi-final in the same year.
Tio Ellinas, Cypriot Race Car Driver
Also Kyriakos Ioannou a Cypriot high jumper achieved a jump of 2.35 m at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in Osaka, Japan, in 2007 winning the bronze medal. He was recently ranked third at the international level and second in Europe. In motorsports, Cyprus is represented by Tio Ellinas, a successful race car driver, currently racing in the GP3 Series for Marussia Manor Motorsport.

Also notable for Cyprus as being a mediterranean island, are the siblings Christopher and Sophia Papamichalopoulou, who managed to qualify themselves for the 2010 Winter Olympics, held in in Vancouver, Canada. They were the only athletes who managed to qualify and represent Cyprus at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The country's first ever Olympic medal was a silver medal, won by the young sailor Pavlos Kontides, who finished second at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Men's Laser class.

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