Thursday, October 27, 2011

Island of Cyprus

Cyprus (or Kypros) is a little island in the Mediterranean Sea.  Even though it’s smaller in size than the American state of Connecticut, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.  Geographically, it’s located in the Middle East; however, the island is now a part of the EU (European Union) and Europe.

The island’s strategic location between Europe and the Middle East encouraged numerous foreign invasions throughout the years.  Cyprus has been under the control of various leaders, such as the Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Persians, Ptolemies, and Romans, as well as the Crusaders, Frankish Lusignans, Venetians, Ottomans, and British.

According to ancient tradition, Cyprus is considered the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.  More accurately, Cyprus is mentioned in the Bible, specifically during Paul’s first missionary journey.

After the Trojan Wars, the Greeks immigrated to Cyprus.  While settling on the island, they established the Greek identity, language, and culture.  Eventually, Cyprus won its independence in 1960 from the British, but the Greek identity of language and culture has remained extremely evident on the island, even until today.  In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, and since then thirty-seven percent of the island (in the northwestern region) is still occupied by Turkey.  Cyprus and Turkey are continuing to work out a solution, along with the assistance of the UN (United Nations).

While Cyprus is sometimes confused as a part of Greece (due to the heavy influence of Greek culture and language in Cyprus), it’s actually a separate country.  Currently, it’s a divided country with the northern part of Cyprus occupied by Turkey.  Currently, this site primarily focuses on the southern side of the island, which is simply referred to as Cyprus.

Cyprus has five districts, which are Famagusta (Ammochostos), Larnaca (Larnaka), Limassol (Lemesos), Nicosia (Lefkosia), and Paphos (Pafos).  The main cities in Cyprus are Ayia Napa (Agia Napa), Larnaca (Larnaka), Limassol (Lemesos), Nicosia (Lefkosia), and Paphos (Pafos).  Plus, there are plenty of villages scattered throughout the island.

Cyprus has a wide variety of interesting archaeological sites and ancient ruins, museums and educational centers, landmark buildings and monuments, and monasteries and churches with historical and architectural significance.  Also, the island has natural beauty with beaches, mountains, valleys, farmlands, etc. 

Hope you enjoy Exploring Cyprus with us!

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