50 Facts about Cyprus
1) Cyprus is known as 'the playground of the gods', and for good reason too! Aphrodite is said to have risen out of the water near Paphos.
2) Archaeological evidence suggests that people first lived on the island of Cyprus 10,000 years ago.
3) Cyprus was once the wealthiest nation in the known world. It was during the Copper and Bronze Ages when the island's rich natural copper resources were exported to other countries.
4) The English crusader king - King Richard the Lionheart - wed Queen Joanna at Limassol Castle on May 12, 1191. To this day it is the only foreign venue at which an English Royal Wedding has been hosted.
5) Famagusta was once the richest city in the known world during the reign of the Franks and the Venetians.
6) There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cyprus - Paphos, the Painted Churches in the Troodos Region and Choirokoitia.
7) The Neolithic settlement of Choirkoitia is one of the most important Neolithic sites in Europe.
8) Cyprus is a divided country. A UN buffer zone (known as the Green Line) separates the self-declared Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek controlled South.
9) There are two British military zones in Cyprus. Known as Sovereign Base Areas, the two zones are a legacy of the British occupation of Cyprus which ended in 1960.
10) Cyprus Independence Day is celebrated on 1st October.
11) The Byzantine Museum in Nicosia holds the largest collection of Byzantine Art in Cyprus.
12) Stavrouvouni Monastery in the Troodos Mountains is the oldest monastic site in Cyprus. It was founded in the 4th century by St Helena.
13) The Sanctuary of Apollo Ylatis near Kourion, which was built in the 5th Century BC, is the largest & one of the most important historic religious sites in Cyprus.
14) Cyprus became a province of the Roman Empire in 45AD, and was the first country to be governed by a Christian.
GEOGRAPHY / GEOLOGY / NATURE
15) Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is now the only capital in the world to be divided between two nations - North Cyprus & South Cyprus.
16) Cyprus is one of Europe's most southerly ski resorts.
17) 371 species of bird can be seen on the island of Cyprus. Most are migratory birds and are seen during spring and autumn.
18) In geological term Cyprus is an ophiolite. It rose out of the sea around 20 million years ago.
19) Cyprus is home to 20 rare species of orchid.
20) There are more than 1950 species of flowering plant in Cyprus, 140 of which are found nowhere else in the world.
21) 260 species of fish circle the warm Mediterranean waters around Cyprus.
22) Cyprus is one of only a few places in the world where Green Turtles & Loggerhead Turtles nest.
23) Cyprus is the easternmost island in the Mediterranean Sea.
24) The Cyprus Mufflon is a wild sheep that is found in the Troodos & Paphos mountains. It exists nowhere else in the world.
25) More than 45 beaches on Cyprus have been awarded the EU Blue Flag for cleanliness & safety.
26) The highest peak in the Troodos Mountain Range is Mount Olympus, which reaches up to 6402ft above sea level.
27) Around 10,000 Greater Flamingos temporarily stop over to feed at the salt lakes near Larnaca Airport every autumn during their migration south to warmer climes.
28) Southern Cyprus joined the European Union on May 1st 2004.
29) The major industries that contribute to the Cypriot economy are tourism, fruit & vegetables, wine, cement, clothing and shoes
30) The population of Cyprus is around 807,000. This includes around 141,000 Turkish Cypriots in the North.
31) The standard rate of VAT in Cyprus is 8%
PEOPLE / CULTURE & FOOD
32) Lefkara Lace is produced in Cyprus.
33) Kolokasi is a speciality root vegetable grown on Cyprus. It is a type of sweet potato.
34) Commandaria is a sweet red wine produced in Cyprus. It is reputed to be the oldest wine in the world.
35) During August every year the villages in Cyprus host the August Village Festivals. At least 20 villages take part.
36) George Michael (musician/pop singer), Fatima Whitbread (Olympic athlete) and Muzzy Izzet (English premiership soccer player) were all born in Cyprus.
SPORTS/ART & ENTERTAINMENT
37) Marcos Baghdatis, one of the most talented junior tennis players in the world, comes from Cyprus. See Tennis in Cyprus.
38) The first sporting contact between Turkey and Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish invasion was a Champions League 2nd round qualifying match between Famagusta Anothosis and Trabzonspor on July 26th 2005. Famagusta won 3-1.
39) There are only 4 golf courses in Cyprus.
40) A round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) has taken place in Cyprus every year since 2000.
41) The largest freshwater fish caught in Cyprus was a 31lb 4oz Mirror Carp. It was caught in the Dhypotamos reservoir between Larnaka and Limassol.
42) Ayia Napa in Eastern Cyprus is one of the most popular nightclub districts in Europe.
43) The Cyprus International Opera Festival is held every July. It takes place in a number of venues across the island.
44) The only horse racetrack in Cyprus can be found in Nicosia. Approximately 60 race meets are held here throughout the year.
45) One of the world's most famous shipwrecks lies off the Cypriot coast near Limassol Harbour. The Zenobia, with its cargo of vehicles, sunk in 1980.
46) Traffic in Cyprus drives on the left-side of the road.
47) For international calls, the telephone dialling code for Cyprus is 357.
48) Cyprus has two international airports - one at Larnaca and the other at Paphos.
49) Life expectancy of men in Cyprus is 76; life expectancy of women in Cyprus is 80.
50) Crime rate is very low in Cyprus, making it one of the safest places in the world to live.