• Population: 807,000 (combined) (UN, 2004)
  • Capital: Nicosia (Lefkosia to Greek Cypriots, Lefkosa to Turkish Cypriots
  • Area (combined): 9,251 sq km (3,572 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Greek, Turkish
  • Major religions: Christianity, Islam
  • Life expectancy: 76 years (men), 81 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Cyprus pound = 100 cents; Turkish lira used in north
  • The Republic of Cyprus is Aphrodite’s birthplace, but, more so a place Apollo loves granting with such warmth the entire year-round. Certainly, no other place defines beauty as this natural paradise. Cyprus is a country with a character, and while it is a melting pot of all things beautiful, sunny, Greek and Turk, it has a story, a heritage entirely akin to itself. The country’s laid back lifestyle and wild sinful days under the sun earn it prominence with millions of travellers each year, especially to those who wish to do more than relax and lay on the sand without clothes on. Much about the Cypriot character that’s left unsaid is that as far along as the country has to go in terms of westernizing, with just half of the country a part of the EU, Cyprus is too willing, too wide-open and too tolerant of change. Urbanization, for a small island as Cyprus does more bad than good as it now stands under incredible threat of displacement of, and, worse, loss of wildlife and their habitats. Regardless, none can deny that Cyprus is the destination for all kinds of travellers, romantic, package, or independent because the best thing about Cyprus is any time is a good time. But while you got to love it the whole year, the best time to be here and shake off that dull corporate slug is N-O-W, while the country still has a perfect balance of the ancient and modern, of nature and facades.


    Cyprus (35 00 N, 33 00 E), the third largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia, is an island of both European and Middle Eastern locality, a rather tiny 9,251 km2 that’s small for a country, but larger than life for a beach water park. The Cypriot Island has 150.4 km of coastline with wide rolling central and coastal plains, and quite surprisingly, just when you think it’s all beach and sun, some northern and southern mountains and highlands. The highest point in the island is the legendary Mount Olympus, in the centre of the Troodos Ranges, and the lowest surely is the Mediterranean Sea.


    Cyprus’ ideal location creates its harmonious blend of cultures, as well as its temperate Mediterranean climate especially along the coasts with hot and sunny summers and refreshingly cool winters. In the centre, as in the capital of Nicosia, summers are long and hot, all the same, while winters are gently cool but a bit rainy mostly from December through February. It does not generally snow, except in the Troodos Ranges.


    As of mid-2009, there are 1,084,748 multi-racial Cypriots that are living testaments to the great Cyprian history, while enjoying all that water, sin, and sun. The Cypriots have mostly descended from the Greeks with almost 80% of the populace with such heritage, while an incomparable 20% are Turks. Not to misunderstand, Cyprus has a long history of early settlements that goes as far back as the 10th millennium BC needless to say.

    The Greeks have had tremendous influence from the bygone era until the present, so immense that Greek Orthodox continues to dominate the religious sector, while various beliefs persist in harmony such as Christianity, Islam, Maronite and Armenian Apostolic. And it should not matter when the lot of the Cyrpiots are sun-worshippers. GREEK is the language of the state, but TURKISH is also widely spoken in the island. ENGLISH has become a de facto second language mostly for the significant world affairs and booming tourism.


    Booming tourism, indeed, for the number of tourists exceeds the last year’s count. Cyprus for the majority is an ethnically divided, island paradise because it is hot and the sunny in the beaches, but there are just a lot more fantastic things to do here. That said, the only possible setback is the public transport, so be resourceful if you’re not coming as a package tourist. That is simply why people from the world over call it, “the year-round island”. If beach and sand are the traveller’s sense of an ideal getaway, then beach-hopping from the hedonistic beach of Nissi, to the calm spectacle of the Ayia Napa Harbour Beach, or the loveliest of the lot, the Kourjon shores just outside Limasol, can sum up a perfect Mediterranean holiday, be this to soak up a healthy bronzed glow or engage in a little dangerous sport such as free diving.

    With the bluest hue of all the blues in the world, such a deadly sport is nowhere else better accomplished than in Cyprus’ precious waters. For a little unconventional outside-the-classroom history lesson, there is the Choirokotia Neolithic Settlement (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in which the traveller can find the conserved archaeological site of the first settlers of Cyprus many thousands of years before the birth of Christ. Myth-wise, the Tomb of St. Lazarus and the Birthplace of Aphrodite create an interesting connection between legends of literature to the tangible reality by being there, and while one is at it, the Baths of Aphrodite may also render some excitement and inspiration for the hopeful in want of beauty, directly where the goddess herself was supposed to bask her body in.

    The Kolossi, Lemesos, and Kourion Ancient Castles may surround the traveller a certain enigma that the regal palaces emanate, in its preserved splendour that is truly an incredibly jaw-dropping, but the Tomb of the Kings is majestic to a totally different level, as this is home to all those nobles that lived way ahead of us and did many inspiring a thing. Cyprus also prides in its opulent religious architecture such as the Agios Lazaros Byzantine Church and Agia Napa Monastery that is in absolutely no way redundant or lacklustre. But as always, the town market will mostly be the best bet towards a holistic introduction towards the Cypriot culture from its trade specialties and souvenirs, straight to the Cypriot cuisine experience.


    Then deeper one goes from the market, to a Cypriot home for the unbeatable, unforgettable gastronomic experience of a lifetime. Northern and Southern Cyprus can’t be more different when it comes to specialty, Turkish and Greek accent, respectively, but the overall palate that the people have evolved is tolerant and open to a wide spectrum of flavours. Sure enough, almost no Cypriot meal begins without a fish meze or appetizer. Mezedes, more than appetizers, is a culture, an art form, much like tapas- small tasty meals of fish or meat that are good eaten even by itself. To add, the food in the island is one of the major factors why Cyprus is a phenomenal wedding destination, or perhaps any call for celebration.

    In the northern part of the island, the traveller will most likely be converted a foodie with its sweet and delightful offerings of a magnanimous selection of Turkic pastry and jelly desserts. The southern is heavy on that festive-style family buffet that includes lamb and fish dishes infused with Italian, Balkan, and Middle Eastern flavours, excited with a hint of Mediterranean spiceage. Tahini and Kleftiko or lamb dishes are quintessentially Cypriot. Rice, bread, or potatoes are the staple starches in the nation, but some go well more than the other. SO the ultimate food plan is to the south for an authentic Cypriot meal, and the north for your sweet tooth cravings, and maybe a sip of Turkic coffee to let it all mellow. The shortcut, start off in Nicosia, the avenue for the coming together of all cultures, heritage, food, and more in one melodious symphony.

    Josh Boorman


    Backpacking Addictz



    Twitter: @backpackaddictz

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    Joshua Boorman

    Joshua Boorman

    Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
    Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
    Joshua Boorman

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