Cyprus, also known as the island of Aphrodite, is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Famous for its mineral wealth, excellent wines, and natural beauty the country has a long and colourful past.
Cyprus is one of the most intriguing countries in Europe. It might small but it’s filled with tall mountains, fertile valleys, and wide beaches. Inhabited for more than 10 millennia, Cyprus lies at a cultural, linguistic, and historic junction between Europe and Asia.
If you’re looking to boost your knowledge of this spectacular country you’ll enjoy these 14 interesting facts about Cyprus…
1. Discover Cyprus
Whether you’re looking to enjoy the beach or explore the magnificent sights this unique country has to offer, head for the coordinates of 35.0000° N, 33.0000° E to discover Cyprus for yourself!
Situated in the eastern Mediterranean this sunny island nation is in fact, the most easterly island in the Med. Its closest neighbours are Turkey to the north, Syria, and Lebanon to the east, Israel and Egypt to the south, and Greece to the west.
The total land area of Cyprus is almost three times the size of Cornwall – 3,572 square miles or 9,251 square kilometres. That makes it the 3rd biggest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia! The central plain is bounded by stunning mountains to the north and south. There are also grasslands strewn along the southern coast.
As of 2019, the population of the Republic of Cyprus is 875,899 according to the Eurostat and World Bank data. The country’s population is equivalent to 0.02% of the total world population, and Cyprus ranks at number 158 in the list of countries by population, with a population density of 131 per km2 or 338 people per mi2. Cyprus’s residents are known as Cypriots.
4. Capital city
Cyprus’ capital city is Nicosia which is 47 square miles or 122 square kilometres in size. In August 2020, it was estimated that the capital city is home to 200,452 residents. Nicosia is separated by the UN buffer zone also known as “The Green Line”. It’s the only capital in the world that is separated between two nations, the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Cypriots enjoy a perfect Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool winters! In fact, Cyprus’s climate has a strongly marked seasonal rhythm. From June to September it’s hot and dry, and from November to March the rainy winters are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. The agriculture and water supply depend on autumn and winter precipitation, which is variable.
6. Divided in two
Interestingly, the island is divided into two divisions! Turkey rules in the northern part of the country, whilst the south is independent. The division even goes through the capital city, and is shared by both sides. The northern part is known as the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” while the southern part is known as the “Independent Republic of Cyprus” or the “Greek Cyprus”, so depending on which part of the country an individual lives, the residents are either known as “Greek Cypriots” or “Turkish Cypriots”.
7. UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cyprus boasts of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers an entire town! History fans will be thrilled to learn that Paphos features ancient tombs, fortresses, and palaces! Including the town of Paphos, there are a total of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.
8. The most southerly ski lift
Adrenaline junkies will be thrilled to know that Cyprus is home to Europe’s most southerly ski lifts! In fact, the most southerly lifts in Europe are located in Cyprus. The slopes are named after the Greek Gods like Aphrodite and Hermes, and the season typically lasts from January to March. If you’re heading there you can find accommodation in the small villages beneath the ski area.
9. Official languages and currency
There are two official languages in Cyprus, Greek and Turkish, and like in many European countries, the official currency in Cyprus is the Euro.
10. Average life span
According to an official from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Cypriots have one of the highest life expectancies in the EU. The official stated that “Cypriots live a very long time,” adding that in fact, at 82.2 years, Cyprus had one of the highest life expectancies in Europe.
11. Foodies rejoice!
Cyprus is the home of halloumi! Yum! Halloumi is a fabulous semi-firm cheese from Cyprus and a favourite in Greek cooking made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. An application has been lodged with the EU to distinguish the delicious cheese as a traditional Cypriot product and thus can only be called halloumi, if it has been made in Cyprus!
Cyprus grows vegetables, citrus fruits, grapes, barley, and olives, as well as rearing poultry and cattle and producing dairy products. Its industry includes tourism, food and beverage processing, ship repair, and cement and gypsum production.
As with imports, Cyprus’ most exported product is refined petroleum which accounts for 35% of the country’s total exports. The second most exported products from Cyprus with 7% are packaged pharmaceuticals. The third on Cyprus’ export list with about 3% are passenger and cargo ships.
Bonus fact about Cyprus
14. While in Cyprus, drive on the left
It’s one of only four countries in the EU besides the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and Malta that drives on the left. Another interesting fact is that if someone flashes you with their car headlights, it means that he/she is signalling you to stop quickly and let him/her pass. So keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times!
Do you know any interesting facts about Cyprus? Share them in the comments below!
Are you fascinated with the islands of the Med? Check out these fun facts about Malta!