Official Language: Greek and Turkish
The history of Cyprus goes back 12,000 years, a Neolithic village, Khirokitia, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, exposed the earliest human activity on the island in that Neolithic period. Since then Cyprus has been ruled by several major powers, each the most powerful in its era. Most recently the Ottoman Empire captured it in 1571 under whose rule it remained for a further 300 years. The British took over in 1878 and granted independence to the Island in 1960.
Since then some violence occurred between the Cypriot and Turkish groups which eventually led to an invasion by Turkish troops in 1974. This led to the segregation of North Cyprus and the displacement of thousands of people. In recent years there have been moves to negotiate a settlement but the northern part of the island, approximately 36% of the land area, is still under Turkish occupation and is not recognised by anyone in the international community.
Tourism is not surprisingly the largest industry on Cyprus but many companies have been attracted to the Island because of its offshore status and its sophisticated infrastructure. The property market saw big advances until 2009 when the credit crunch hit. Cyprus joined the Euro in 2008, a decision which has ignited some debate in light of recent events in Greece.
The most popular tourist resorts in Cyprus are Ayia Napa, Paphos, Larnaka, Limassol and Protaras, although many visitors are now going in big numbers to the Troodos Mountains for its activities and Nicosia for its historical sites.
“Today Cyprus is a modern country that effortlessly marries European culture with ancient enchantment. Here you will discover a compact world of alluring beaches and fragrant mountain peaks, vineyards studded with olive trees and ancient ruins that stir the imagination, citrus groves and old stone villages where sweet wine flows as freely as conversations at the local café. A carefree place where a sense of timelessness is magnified by the kindness of the people. This official website of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation is designed to be your electronic entry to the quiet beauty of Cyprus in all its dimensions. Step inside for an in-depth look at an island that is as exotic as you imagine – and more accessible than you might think”. Cyprus Tourism