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providing all you need to know about Cyprus

CYPRUS FACTS

Population: 1.2 million
Capital: Nicosia
Languages: Greek, Turkish
Occupied by Turkey
Area: 9.251 km2
Currency: Euro
Member of: European Union
Time zone: EET (UTC +2)
- Turkish side has no summer/winter time
Drives on the left

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We help you book privatly owned houses and flats dedicated to holidays. Our aim is to give you a private booking with the service of charter.

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Find and book excursions all over Cyprus. From family-friendly donkey safari and boat trips to more adventurios quadbike safaries and city trips.

Cyprus, the island of love

Cyprus is called the island of love firstly because of Afrodite who is said to have risen from the foam created by the sea at Paphos on the west coast of Cyprus. Most visitors either fall in love with Cyprus or with someone when spending their holiday in Cyprus. Personally, I found the love of my life while working on the beautiful island Cyprus as a tour guide, we are now happily married and have a son.

The interesting thing about Cyprus is that it has almost everything you can think of but in a very small area. First I'll give you some world record facts that we at Easy Cyprus Holiday find interesting, there are many more world records held by Cyprus.

Interesting records

Did you know that the oldest manufactured wine comes from Cyprus? It's their Commandaria that you just have to try once you get here, it's a sweet dessert wine and traces back to 2000 BC, Cypriots love to give tourists a try of their unique wine.

The first domesticated cat dates back 9,500 years and was found in the Neolithic village of Shillourokambos on Cyprus. The position of the cat in the ground was next to the bones of a human, whose similar state of preservation strongly suggests they were buried together.

Cyprus always tops in blue flags and has at least one year had the record in the most blue flags for a country, most blue flags per capita and most blue flags per kilometres of coastline. Find out what a blue flag is here: www.blueflag.global.org. Many blue flags indicate great beaches of high quality for your Holiday in Cyprus. I would say there is a beach for everyone, there are: party beaches, couples beaches, family beaches, tiny beaches, long deserted beaches, Cyprus has a beach for every type of holiday seeker.

And for you divers, Cyprus holds the longest open saltwater SCUBA dive with 142 hours, 42 minutes and 42 seconds (per 20 July 2016). I myself is a Divemaster and I wonder how they sleep, eat and toilet breaks work when diving for so long. If you are not yet a diver and are curious about scuba diving, this is one of the best places in the world to try scuba diving out. Firstly, the water is lovely warm and the viewing distance in the water is excellent. Secondly, there is nothing dangerous like sharks or venomous snakes, so its safe for everyone. Lastly, there are no underwater currents to pull you away. Personally, I also prefer that it's not too many things to see compared to the Great Barrier Reef for instance, but this gives you more focus on your own body experience. On 28 of August 2017, Wallace Raymond Woolley got the world record in being the oldest scuba diver, diving the famous wreck Zenobia outside Larnaca at the age of 94.

Cyprus is split in two with the north part occupied by the Turks. This also gives us the worlds longest peacekeeping force for the United Nation who still guards the buffer zone and has been since 1974. On top of this, we have the worlds last divided capital as Nicosia is split in two. Bring your passport and you can visit both sides! This is a "must experience" when touristing Cyprus.

Ancient Cyprus

Cyprus has an interesting ancient history because of its location. Geographically located in Asia and economically in Europe, as it's part of the European Union, with recent proof of once being connected to Africa. The connection to Africa is disputed as there are two theories on the explanation of Elephant fossil findings on Cyprus. One theory is that the Island was connected to Africa some million years ago, the other that the Elephants actually swam to Cyprus.

Also the name Cyprus has disputes on its origin. One theory is that the name comes from the latin word cuprum, meaning copper. This theory claims that the large quantity of copper deposits on the island gave the island its name. The more romantic theory is that the goddess Aphrodite, known also as Kyprida, is the reason for the islands name.

Cyprus location has a strategic value throughout history as a must-have point for all major powers at different times. The island was occupied by the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Rashuidun, and Umayyad Arab Caliphates, the Lusignans, the Venetians, the Crusaders, the English and last the Ottomans.

The first human presence dates back to 7500 BC. During the Stone Age, there were two important Neolithic villages, close to where Limassol now stands. The villages were Khirokitia and Kalavasos, the first Khirokitia was the first to create a strong community with houses and social organization. The village had somewhere between 3000 and 4000 residents. From 3900 BC to 2500 BC, the Cypriots started working with copper and slowly rise as an economic force in the Mediterranean.

During the Bronze Age (c. 2500 BC to 1050 BC) Cyprus was in a time of growth but also occupation. It was after the war with Troy that Greeks started to permanently settle on the island (c. 1100 BC). The island now became more Greek and adopted the Greek language and religion.

The Cypriot Archaiac Era (c. 750 BC to 475 BC) was tough on the Cypriots, as the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Persians each took time to rule the island. During the Roman era (c. 58 BC) Cyprus became a Roman province.

And so it continues everyone wants a piece of Cyprus, let's just say Its been tough having such great location as Cyprus.

Know your way around Cyprus

The island is quite small and you can drive from east coast to west coast in just a few hours. There are beaches literally everywhere mixed with a rocky coastline. The island is filled with historical monuments and a fantastic nature, even an almost 2000 meter high mountain with skiing possibilities.

Aya Napa - party tourists

On the east coast, we have the famous Ayia Napa it is said to have got its name from a hunter who was out walking his dog. The dog pulled the hunter into a cave (now where Ayia Napa Monastery lays). Inside the cave was a stone image turned upside down in the sand. When the hunter lifted the stone he held an image of the Virgine Mary with the writing, "Παναγία", Apa Naia. You can hear the Cypriots using this expression today, "a Panagia Mou", in English proper translation would be "oh mother of god" but it's used as "oh my god" is used in English for something astonishing or startling. Now read "Apa Naia" backwards. If you like word games it becomes more interesting. Ayia Napa has become one of Europe's capital of party and sin and what is the opposite/backwords of "oh my god".

Protaras - family holiday

Just north of Ayia Napa, you find Protaras also known as Fig Tree Bay. While Ayia Napa holds a younger crowd of tourists due to all the nightclubs Protaras is quieter and family friendly. If your looking for a relaxing holiday with sun and sea for the family Protaras is just perfect. If you are curious about Diving you find the best dive site for beginners at Green Bay, Protaras, also a good place for snorkelers.

Larnaca - jet-setter mini holiday

Most Cyprus holiday seekers land in Larnaca where the main airport is located. Larnaca, however, is not only an airport, it has a beautiful beach promenade with plenty of restaurants and hotels as the closest buildings to the sea and just a step into the City there is good shopping. Larnaca is about 30-40 minute drive from the east coast and Ayia Napa. Larnaca has a Salt Lake where in wintertime (November to March) pink flamingos flock. Cyprus most popular dive site is located here, the wreck of Zenobia, a ro-ro ferry that sunk in 1980 on her maiden voyage. It lies quite deep at 42 meters with the top of the wreck starting at 18 meters depth so it's not for beginners. Larnaca also has a sparkling nightlife with plenty of good nightclubs and bars.

Nicosia - tourists must

The capital Nicosia or "Lefkosia" (in Greek: Λευκωσία) as the Cypriots call it is located inland, this means that it can become hotter than the coastal cities. During the hottest days temperatures reach well over 40. I have myself experienced 46 degrees Celcius and no wind in the capital and that's a bit too hot for anyone. The average yearly temperature for Nicosia is over 25 degrees. Nicosia is the last divided capital of the world, this alone makes it a great tourist attraction. The main street is called Ledra street, the south belongs to EU and is Greek-Cypriot while the north is occupied by the Turks. With passport in hand, you can pass the passport-control on Ledra street and walk between the two sides. The old town of Nicosia is surrounded by walls and is popular both among Cypriots as Tourists. You will find plenty of different restaurants and shops all accessible by foot. A guided tour in Nicosia is a must for tourists who like a good story.

Troodos Mountains - Trekking holiday

Just west of Nicosia we have the Troodos Mountains. You might not believe it but you can go Skiing in Cyprus on Mount Olympus that is 1952 meters over the sea. A visit to the mountains of Troodos is perfect for tourists looking to get a little cooler day. Kykkos monastery is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the mountain with a fantastic view and great scenery. Personally, I think a Jeep Safari up the Troodos mountains is the best way to experience its beauty. The jeep can go offroad and you get to see more of nature.

Limassol - The trendy tourist

If you continue west you will reach Cyprus second capital Limassol (Industrial centre of all of Cyprus), this is also a great wine district. During the first quarter of September, the great Wine Festival of Cyprus takes place in the Limassol Municipal Garden, free wine for everyone. There are two harbours in Limassol, the new has been operational since June 2014. In Limassol, there are more than 60 shipping company offices making Limassol the largest centre of shipping management in Europe.

Paphos - Romanic holiday

On the west coast, we have the famous Paphos, well-known thanks to Aphrodite who is said to have risen from the sea here. If you swim 3 laps, the right way, around the Aphrodites rock you are said to become forever young and find love, remember to swim in the right direction who knows what happens if you don't. Paphos attracts with its nice harbour, its medieval fort, impressive countryside, historic sites and modern shopping centres. The intricate floor mosaic of the Paphos mosaics is a major tourist attraction as well as the impressive underground kingdoms carved out of rocks and adorned with Doric columns. There is so much to see in Paphos so you will want to return several times. Paphos is also a popular tourist destination for the Cypriots in the summer, as Paphos has always been considered to have slightly higher status than the tourist resorts of Agia Napa or Protaras.

A chronology of modern key events:

1914 - Cyprus annexed by Britain, after more than 300 years of Ottoman rule. Britain had occupied the island in 1878, although it remained nominally under Ottoman sovereignty.

1925 - Becomes British colony.

1955 - Greek Cypriots begin the guerrilla war against British rule in pursuit of unification with Greece.

1956 - Archbishop Makarios, head of the enosis campaign, deported to Seychelles.

1959 - Archbishop Makarios returns and is elected president.

Independence

1960 - Cyprus gains independence after Greek and Turkish communities reach agreement on a constitution. Treaty of Guarantee gives Britain, Greece and Turkey the right to intervene. Britain retains sovereignty over two military bases.

1963 - President Makarios raises Turkish fears by proposing constitutional changes which would abrogate power-sharing arrangements. Inter-communal violence erupts. Turkish community withdraws from power-sharing.

1964 - United Nations peacekeeping force set up. Turkish Cypriots withdraw into defended enclaves.

1974 - Military junta in Greece backs the coup against President Makarios, who flees. Within days Turkish troops land in the north. Greek Cypriots flee their homes.

Coup collapses. Turkish forces occupy a third of the island, enforce partition between north and south roughly along the "Green Line" ceasefire line drawn up by UN forces in 1963. About 165,000 Greek Cypriots flee or are driven from the Turkish-occupied north, and about 45,000 Turkish Cypriots leave the south for the north.

The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution calling on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus. Turkey refuses to do so, despite repeated UN Security Council resolutions making the same demand over the following decades.

1975 - Turkish Cypriots establish an independent administration, with Rauf Denktash as president. Population exchanges agreed.

1977 - President Makarios dies, succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou.

1980 - UN-sponsored peace talks resume.

1983 - Mr Denktash suspends talks and proclaims Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey.

1994 - European Court of Justice ruled that a list of goods, including fruit and vegetables, are not eligible for preferential treatment when exported by the Turkish Cypriot community directly to the European Union.

1998 - EU lists Cyprus as a potential member. Government drops plans to install Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles after Turkey threatens military action. 2001 June - UN Security Council renews its 36-year mission. Some 2,400 peacekeepers patrol the buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

2002 January - Clerides and Denktash begin UN-sponsored negotiations after decades of stalled talks. Minds are concentrated by EU membership aspirations.

2002 November - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presents a comprehensive peace plan for Cyprus which envisages a federation with two constituent parts, presided over by a rotating presidency.

2002 December - EU summit in Copenhagen invites Cyprus to join in 2004 provided the two communities agree to UN plan by early spring 2003. Without reunification, only the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot part of the island will gain membership.

2003 April - Turkish and Greek Cypriots cross island's dividing "green line" for the first time in 30 years after Turkish Cypriot authorities ease border restrictions.

2004 April - Twin referendums on whether to accept UN reunification plan in last-minute bid to achieve united EU entry. A plan is endorsed by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots.

EU accession

2004 May - Cyprus is one of 10 new states to join the EU but does so as a divided island.

2004 December - Turkey agrees to extend its EU customs union agreement to 10 new member states, including Cyprus. The Turkish prime minister says this does not amount to a formal recognition of Cyprus.

2005 August - Cypriot airliner crashes near Athens, Greece, killing all 121 passengers and crew. It is the island's worst peacetime disaster.

2006 July - UN-sponsored talks between President Tassos Papadopolous and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agree a series of confidence-building measures and contacts between the two communities.

2007 January-March - Greek and Turkish Cypriots demolish barriers dividing the old city of Nicosia. The moves are seen as paving the way for another official crossing point on what used to be a key commercial thoroughfare.

2008 January - Cyprus adopts the euro.

New talks

2008 March - New left-wing President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed to start formal talks on reunification.

2008 April - Symbolic Ledra Street crossing between the Turkish and Greek sectors of Nicosia reopened for the first time since 1964.

2010 April - Dervis Eroglu, who favours independence, wins the Turkish north's leadership contest, beating pro-unity incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat.

2010 May - Re-unification talks resume with a new hardliner representing the Turkish north.

2011 May - Parliamentary polls. The the main rightwing opposition party DISY wins by a narrow margin.

2011 July - Navy chief Andreas Ioannides and 12 others die when people when impounded Iranian containers of explosives blow up at the main naval base and the country's main power plant. 2011 September - Cyprus begins exploratory drilling for oil and gas, prompting a diplomatic row with Turkey, which responds by sending an oil vessel to waters off northern Cyprus.

2012 April - The UN cancels plans for a Cyprus conference, citing lack of progress on any of the substantial differences between the two sides.

Turkey's Turkish Petroleum Corporation begins drilling for oil and gas onshore in northern Cyprus despite protests from the Cypriot government that the action is illegal.

Financial crisis

2012 June - Cyprus appeals to European Union for financial assistance to shore up its banks, which are heavily exposed to the stumbling Greek economy.

2013 February - Democratic Rally conservative candidate Nicos Anastasiades wins the presidential election.

2013 March - President Anastasiades secures 10bn-euro bank bailout from the European Union and IMF. Laiki Bank, the country's second-biggest, is wound down and deposit-holders with more than 100,000 euros will face big losses.

2014 October - Cyprus suspends peace talks with Turkish-held Cypriots in protest against what it calls efforts by Turkey to prevent it from exploding gas fields south of the island. The EU and the US express concern over the tension.

2015 February - At talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, President Anastasiades agrees to let Russian navy have access to Cypriot ports.

Reunification talks resume

2015 May - Government and Turkish Cypriot negotiators resume talks on reunification, holding 20 rounds of UN-sponsored in the course of the year.

2016 January - President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci make unprecedented joint New Year television address ahead of continuing round of reunification talks.

2017 January - Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders meet at UN in Geneva for direct talks on reunification under a federal arrangement.

2018 February - Mr Anastasiades wins a second term in elections.