Cyprus is an island country in the Mediterranean. Nicosia is the capital and largest city and the official languages are Greek and Turkish. The island has an area of 9,251 square kilometers and they have no bordering countries.
Read these facts about Cyprus to learn more about this interesting country.
1. It has been settled for more than 10 millennia
Cyprus is a country with a very ancient history. An interesting fact about Cyprus is that it has been settled for more than 10,000 years. It is also considered to have absorbed influence from many generations of travelers, conquerors and pilgrims.
This nation is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, especially honeymooners. It is believed that this island used to be the home of Aphrodite. She was the goddess of love in ancient Greece. It is also known to be the “playground of the gods”.
2. Cyprus used to be a British colony
In 1925, Cyprus became a British colony and obtained its independence in 1960. Then, it became the Republic of Cyprus. However, a long-standing conflict between the Turkish minority and the Greek majority on the island produced its partition. This event also led to an establishment of a de facto Turkish Cypriot state in the northern third of the country. This state declared its independence in 1983, but it was only recognized by Turkey.
3. After Sicily and Sardinia, it is the third-largest island on the Mediterranean Sea
This island’s maximum length is 140 miles or 225 kilometers. It measures 60 miles or 100 km from the north to the south. This means that it is the third-largest island located on the Mediterranean, only surpassed by Sicily and Sardinia.
Additionally, it is located about 60 miles or 100 km west of Syria, 40 miles or 65 kilometers south of Turkey and 480 miles or 770 kilometers southeast of Greece.
4. There were once many snakes in Cyprus
An interesting fact about Cyprus is that the island was once named Ophiussa, which means “the Abode of Snakes” because of the large quantity of them on the area. Today, they are rare, as well as many other wild animals. The only one that survives is the agrino, a type of wild sheep. There have also been found remains of fossils belonging to elephants and hippopotamuses. It is also known that in ancient times, deer and boar roamed Cyprus.
5. They produce wine since ancient times
Cyprus’ wine history spans over 5,000 years. They take a lot of pride with the Commandaria as being one of the oldest wines in the world that is still being produced. Today, you can find over 50 wineries in Cyprus where people can taste and enjoy what they call “the gift of the gods”.
Commandaria is a dessert wine. It is produced in the south-west of Cyprus and was named after a branch of Crusaders in the 13th century. There is a rumor that King Richard the Lionheart drank this wine at his wedding and said it was “the king of wines”.
This king’s wedding with Queen Joanna is the only foreign venue so far at which a royal English wedding was hosted. The date was May 12, 1191.
6. The beaches in Cyprus are the cleanest in Europe
For over a decade, the its beaches have been declared as the cleanest of all Europe, a fun fact about Cyprus. In 2016, 64 coastlines received the Blue Flag certification indicating they were clean.
7. A famous cheese dates back to the Byzantine era
In Cyprus, you can find a halloumi cheese that dates back to the Byzantine medieval period. This is a famous salty cheese made from a mix of cow and goat milk.
8. Here, the oldest perfume in the world was found
In Purgos, in 2007, a group of Italian archaeologists discovered a perfume dated back to more than 4,000 years. It was made of lavender, rosemary, bay, pine, almond, bergamot, anise, parsley and coriander. It was kept in small translucent bottles. The funnels and mixing bowls used to make the perfume were also found, covered with earth after an earthquake that occurred around 1,850 BC. Additionally, some of the oldest water wells in the world have also been discovered in Cyprus.
9. Cyprus has a divided capital
Nicosia is Cyprus’ capital and it is the only capital in the world that is administratively divided. In 1974, Turkish troops occupied the northern part of Cyprus, and the division took place. However, both the Greek and Turkish inhabitants of the island have managed to co-exist peacefully. They have forged strong businesses and also trade relationships.
10. Their flag was the first one to include a map
In 1960, a Turkish-Cypriot art teacher designed the flag that this country uses today. It consists of a copper-orangey map of the island over a white background. The map also has two olive branches below, and these symbols symbolize peace.
By adding a map to their flag, this country became the first in the world to do this, a fun fact about Cyprus. Today, Kosovo is the only other country that integrated the map on their flag as well.
11. An entire town is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The town of Paphos in Cyprus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. However, it is not the only one in the country. Choirokoitia, a Neolithic settlement, and the Painted Churches in Troodos from the Byzantine Empire are other UNESCO sites.
12. The oldest pet cat remains were found in Cyprus
In Cyprus, the remains of the oldest known pet cat were found. It was buried with its master in an archaeological finding. The scientists dated the remains back about 9,500 years.
Cyprus is a very popular country to visit because of its ancient history and culture. Despite it being a divided nation, everyone lives peacefully and tries to make the most out of their lives.
I hope that this article on Cyprus facts was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!