|Nature in Cyprus
Overflowing with natural riches Cyprus really does reveal nature at her very best. From the eroded mountain peaks at the centre of the island to the abundant fruit and vegetables that crop all year round, this is a place where nature seems to know no bounds. With awe-inspiring landscapes worthy of a photograph at every turn, it's perhaps little wonder that the mythical Ancient Gods chose Cyprus as their haven in which to find peace and tranquillity.
At its very beginning the landmass that was to make up present-day Cyprus lay at the bottom of an ancient ocean. The northward movement of the African crustal plate into the Eurasian plate around 90 million years ago gradually compressed the seafloor into a submerged wedge of land that was then pushed up towards the sea surface. Around 20 million years ago it broke the surface of the sea, the mantle rocks of the Troodos Mountains today betraying its watery secrets. Features to look out for include pillow lavas and gabbro dikes - evidence of ancient volcanic eruptions that took place on the seafloor many millions of years ago.
Flora and Fauna
Some 2000 different types of flower adorn the fields and hillsides of Cyprus, including 20 rare species of orchid. Ancient juniper trees that are several centuries old can be found right across inland areas of Cyprus, while the Strawberry Tree (Arbuto andracne) is a very special sight indeed.
If anything the fauna is even more diverse than the island's plant life. Cyprus literally buzzes with insects, butterflies, mammals and reptiles, the most famous species of reptile being the green turtle. The warm waters around Cyprus are home to 260 species of fish and there are more than 370 species of bird that can be seen on the island too. Spring and autumn are the best times of the year for bird watching as this is when the endemic bird populations are joined by millions of migrating birds on their north-south excursions.
Fruit and Vegetables
From January through December fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant on the island. Everything from strawberries and raspberries to figs and exotic vegetables are grown locally. They are readily available from town and village market stalls, as well as from farms where you can pick your own. What better way is there to appreciate the best of nature than to taste what she has produced?