The welcoming island of Cyprus has a recorded History of more than five thousand years, basking year after year under the took over in 1489, light of the warm Mediterranean sun. Cyprus has always been an important trading post for the empires of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and throughout history someone it has always been a trophy everyone wanted to take from someone else. First the Mycenaean landed on it, then the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians and Persians. Alexander the Great conquered over them, and then Ptolemy snatched it from him. Rome took over in 58 B.C. and kept the place in relative peace and security until the 7th century A.D., when the Byzantine and Islamic empires started three centuries of bickering over it.
In 1191, Richard the Lionheart, on his way to the Crusades, dropped into Cyprus for a rest, but the Cypriots caused him too much trouble, so he sold them to the Knights Templar. The Venetians took over in 1489, but were booted out by the expanding Ottoman Empire in 1571, which kept Cyprus under submission for 300 years before handing it over to Great Britain. Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom in1960.In 1974 the clash between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot populations lead to the dissectomy of the island. The Cypriots are a very tough and intelligent people who have accommodated and endured the series of invaders all through their protracted history. Today Cyprus is a modern country that effortlessly marries European culture with ancient enchantment. Here you will discover a compact world of alluring beaches and fragrant mountain peaks, vineyards studded with olive trees and ancient ruins, citrus groves and old stone villages where sweet wine flows as freely as conversations at the local kafenio.
Cyprus is one of many tourist destinations advertised as the Land for all seasons and why not? Without exception, every spot on the face of the planet that enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year and has mild weather with no extreme temperatures and nice beaches is treated like heaven on earth by the tourist industry. And for some people it is, even if it is limited to the boundaries of their resort. Even if they see nothing of the rest of the country, even if the only locals they encounter are working in their luxurious hotel Cyprus is nothing like that. Being a Mediterranean island, the country epitomizes ideal weather of the region with sunny days and fine temperatures almost every day. But nice weather and golden beaches, luxury resorts and modern infrastructure is not enough to make a difference. Swimming (as late as November) or visiting cultural sites and festivals all year long will not suffice to make any place special, but it does Cyprus. Most wouldn't choose, for example, to spend Christmas in Cyprus. Many say it is just like Christmas in California or Australia! It?s the weather, you see. However, Greek Orthodox Easter there and pray along with the tormented simple folk of Cyprus. It is not suggested to visit the birthplace of Venus in July or August. It's too hot and too humid in the city, one can't enjoy being out in the open, one can't go sightseeing or shopping and it's impossible to drink more than two glasses of wine, not even after dark, without getting nauseous. The sun can be so sizzling that not even almighty Aphrodite could stand it and would surely run to the nearest mini ?market looking for sandals, sunglasses and a straw sombrero and then she would buy herself a cold beer at the pool bar!
The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is exclusively famous for its soothing weather and natural beauty. This together with its long History and vibrant culture is what makes it a place of such high tourist demand. Taking the island's latitude into account we would expect an almost sub- tropical climate and that's exactly what we would encounter is it not embraced so lovingly by Mare Nostru. The country is mostly popular for its sunshine. It enjoys 300 days of sunshine per year on average. The weather is dry most of the year, Cyprus sees precious little rain ?just enough to water the grapes used for its exquisite wine- and the children never see snow before they are old enough to visit the Peak of Troodos Mountain in the winter. There only seem to be two seasons: short, mild winters and long, hot summers. Coastal areas are warm and cosy in the winter and cool and dreamy in the summer. Sunbathing and swimming are welcome choices, all year round. And if the sun is too hot for you in the summer or the sea too cold in the winter luxurious hotels are open all year to fend for your needs!
Spring and autumn are too short to enjoy as the inland gets frighteningly hot and humid during the summer months with temperatures often rising well over 35 (or even 40) degrees with humidity of 70% or more. People who are intolerable to heat can always go to Troodos where the temperature remains some 10C - 15C cooler on average than places on the coast. Capital city Nicosia gets pretty hectic in the summer making it hard to visit the site or walk through the Market but progress has brought air-conditioning to buildings and vehicles alike.
Cyprus has enough sights and scenes to suit all visitors. It's the largest island in the Mediterranean and it is a remarkable place with a long, wondrous past. The country capital, Nicosia, the only divided capital in the world, lies at the heart of the Mesaoria Plain and is currently crossed ( figuratively speaking) by the Green Line, which acts as a U.N. buffer zone that separates the Turkish occupied north and the Republic of Cyprus controlled south. Part of this green line is very close to the Market place.The well preserved Venetian walls gracefully surround Nicosia and host cultural events all year. Hammam Omerye, a 14th century building of a glorious past is now restored and operates as a hammam, a place to relax and rejuvenate. The Royal Tombs and the Monastery of Agios Herakleidos, a five-dome church in Tamssos and the mosque in Peristerona are also worth a visit.
Places of interest in the industrial resort town of Larnaka are the Church of Agios Lazaros and its associated Byzantine Museum, Larnaka Fort, the District Archaeological Museum, the Pierides Museum (a private archaeological museum), the Natural History Museum, the Tornaritis-Pierides Palaeontology Museum and the scant ruins of ancient Kition.In the hills to the west is the village of Lefkara, famous for its craft of handmade lace, and the Convent of Agios Minas. Near Larnaca's airport is the Hala Sultan Tekkesi, a historic mosque standing in beautiful gardens on the edge of Larnaka Salt Lake (dry in the summer), a winter home of migratory flamingos. In the ancient city of Kourion, on a steep hillside near Episkopi, you will find a superbly sited Greco-Roman theatre where concerts and Shakespearean plays are performed in summer.
Cyprus has a lot to offer for those who are physically challenged and need personal care. Hotels in all parts of the island have a comprehensive range of facilities, meeting the requirements of disabled persons. There are symbols appearing under the name of each hotel that correspond to the facilities offered. There is availability of special truck-lifts upon arrival as well as for departure from the Larnaka and Pafos International Airports to help those who are disabled to embark of disembark from the aircraft. Both airports provide wheelchairs and special washrooms have been constructed to facilitate the disabled. In Cyprus, there is legal enforcement for the use of Internationalstickers for the disabled and it can be obtained at the Pancyprian Organisation for Disabled Persons, in Lefkosia (Nicosia). Most towns in Cyprus are flat and most places are easily accessible by people in a wheelchair.
In Lefkosia (Nicosia), quite a number of roads have ramps. You should always be careful and use pedestrian (zebra) crossings to cross the street. This is valid whether you are disabled or not because driving standards are poor and drivers sometimes tend to be aggressive. Most Government buildings, museums, sights, as well as certain restaurants, coffee shops and entertainment places are also easily accessible. People in Cyprus mostly use their cars for transportation but there are also modern buses and shared Taxi-cabs that are always convenient. As a modern, civilized and sensitive society Cyprus will place no obstacle to your visit and will tend to your needs.
The population of Cyprus is around 720,000. Interestingly, there are two diverse types of people in Cyprus and they live in the two divided areas. Out of the total population, around 78% of the people are of Greek origin and the remaining 18% are Turkish. Both populations have their own schools. Greek and Turkish are the two official languages. A large part of the population are farmers who work near their own villages. In the rural areas, people often dress in traditional wear: decorated vests and lengthy black trousers known as vrakas. Women usually wear blouses and skirts called sarkas. People living in the cities dress in modern, smart outfits, as most of them are public servants, shop owners or business people. The Cypriots are a tough, hard working people with strong family values and love progress and order. Most of them have studied abroad (in Greece, the UK even USA) lots of them have returned after a long period of migration following the Turkish Invasion.In terms of nature, the inhabitants of Cyprus are habitually welcoming and warm (tourism is a big industry in Cyprus) and consider a visit to their homeland a compliment which they try to return with authentic hospitality, known widely as Philoxenia : friendship towards visitors. Their local language is Greek, though English is gladly spoken in shops, hotels, restaurants, almost everywhere.
Cyprus is now a member of the E.U. hence no red tape is involved and a passport is not required when entering Cyprus from an E.U. country as long as you carry an E.U. type Government issued identification document displaying Latin characters. A passport is needed to visit Cyprus from all non E.U. countries.Entry regulations apply only to the areas controlled by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus refuses admission to holders of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia passports bearing a renewal stamp with the name Macedonia included. Entry is only allowed to holders of Yugoslav passports without the above-mentioned stamp. Also, holders of passports issued illegally by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. For those intending to be employed in Cyprus the issue of an employment permit by the Migration officer is required and no visa is required in order to travel to Cyprus.
Third countries whose citizens are required to have a visa are: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gabon, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Northern Marianas (Islands), Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.