Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean which covers an area of 3,572sq miles (9,251 km2) and stands at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, smaller than Sicily and Sardinia, but larger than Corsica and Crete. It has a varied and picturesque coastline of 402.6 miles (648km) with long sandy beaches and a rich variety of vegetation and fruit.
The current population of Cyprus is 1.193,417. Nicosia is the capital city and the administrative centre. The native official languages are Greek and Turkish, but English is widely spoken too. Russian is spoken in most hotels and shops.
Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate: it is generally sunny and dry throughout the year. The sun shines for about 340 days a year. The winter is mild and the bathing season starts from April and ends in November. Pine-clad forests are just a couple of hours drive from the shore; so, one can go for a swim and to the mountains, if desired, on the same day. For mountain lovers, Troodos mountains and its surrounding traditional villages are covered in snow from late November up to late January.
Due to the favourable climate and the existence of excellent medical facilities, health conditions are optimal. Serious infectious diseases do not exist in Cyprus.
Local time is two hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
The ideal weather and location define the ideal lifestyle of this magnificent Mediterranean island. With more than 340 days of sunshine, residents and tourists enjoy the clear warm waters of Cyprus throughout the year. In November, you can swim in the warm Mediterranean Sea in the morning and ski on the slopes of Troodos Mountains in the afternoon. The sun has an incredible effect on the Cypriot lifestyle and reveals itself in many ways, especially through the local diet and characteristics of Cypriots. Two of the main industries on the island, tourism and farming, prosper because of the sun. Cyprus produces a wide array of fruit, vegetables and free-range meat resulting in a delicious and healthy diet that evolved from many influences. Greece, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Italy have all left their mark on the Cypriot cuisine. Dining in Cyprus is a very sociable experience and is usually the main reason for friends and family to gather. Cyprus also has a long tradition of winemaking that goes back over 4,000 years. In ancient times, wine was a major source of wealth for the island. Approximately 10% of the island is covered in vineyards. The wines are best sampled at the annual wine festival in Limassol in September. Cypriots speak English very well as a result of the British influence, and are therefore able to communicate with the vast number of foreign tourists that visit the island.
Criminality in Cyprus is one of the lowest in the world, according to the European Crime Prevention Network. It seems that the rate of serious crime in Cyprus, compared to international standards as indicated by International Crime Statistics, can be described as very low. Whilst the average serious crime per 100,000 population, in a number of countries in Europe in 2010 is about 4800, the ratio of serious crime in Cyprus was only about 1044.
Cyprus has an open, free-market, services-based economy. The accession of Cyprus as a full member to the European Union on May 1st 2004 has been an important milestone in its later economic development. Internationally, Cyprus promotes its geographical location as a “bridge” between three continents, along with its educated English-speaking population, moderate living expenses, good airline connections and telecommunications.
On May 1st 2004, Cyprus joined the European Union. The benefits to Cyprus from its membership in the EU are quite substantial as the population of the island enjoys political, economic, social, environmental and other advantages. The EU is Cyprus’ main trading partner accounting for approximately 50% of the total trade. More specifically, the United Kingdom is the main export destination of Cyprus. Furthermore, Cyprus is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the British Commonwealth, as well as the Non-Aligned Movement.
Until January 2008, the currency of Cyprus was the Cyprus Pound (CYP) divided into 100 cents. As of January 1st 2008, the Cyprus Pound ceased to be legal tender and was replaced by the Euro (€). The official conversion rate, effective from that date, is set at €1 to CY£ 0.585274. Foreign currency can be imported without limitations. Traveler’s checks, EURO checks and credit cards are also accepted.
There is a wide selection of consumer goods. Most of the well-known European brands are imported and, in some cases, manufactured in Cyprus under licence.
Nicosia, the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, is located in the centre of the island and it is an ideal place to live, work and study. Nicosia is the home of people of many different nationalities. The sunny days and warm evenings provide a natural setting for outdoor cafeterias, pubs, eating places, parks and other leisure activities.
There are two seaports in Cyprus. The main commercial port is in Limassol and the yachting marina port is in Larnaca, one of the best in the Middle East. The Cyprus International Airport is located in Larnaca, while an additional airport operates in Paphos. There are over 69 international airlines flying to and from Cyprus.
Cyprus has one of the best and cheapest telecommunication services in the world; it is connected by ISD (Instant Self Dialing), which also offers fax facilities to any country in the world and over 214 countries can be contacted by telex. Communications with earth satellites are in operations as well. The Internet is also the modern-day communication route in Cyprus, progressing with demands and providing excellent gateways to the world. The voltage of the public electricity supply is 240 Volts.