Travel Guides: Cyprus Part 2
The official name is Republic of Cyprus and the conventional short name is Cyprus. The region in the north of Cyprus is known as the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, recognized only by Turkey. Currently, to all socio-cultural activities, economic and interstate policies participates only the southern part of the country recognized as an independent state – Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus is an island state in the Mediterranean Sea, located in south-eastern Europe, having the geographical coordinates: 35 00 N, 33 00 E. Total area of Cyprus, third in size as island in the Mediterranean Sea, is 9251 km2 of which 9240 km sq land and water 10 km sq.
The island has a length of about 220 km from Cape Andreas in the north-east of the island, situated in the north-eastern tip, to the western tip at Cape Arnaoutis. Maximum width, from Cape Gata in the south, Cape Kormakiti, located in the north, is about 90 km. The length of the coastline is 648 km. Turkish Cypriot area is 3355 km sq. Cyprus is located approximately 70 km south of Turkey, 100 km west of Syria and 270 km west from Kastellorizon (south-eastern Greece).
The island has an irregular shape, the north-east having a sharp shape the direction of the west coast of Syria, forming Karpas Peninsula. Seismic activity is moderate. Most land is plain. This part of land is located inside the island, and bears the name of Mesaoria (Greek – “the mountains”). Mesaoria lies on the west coast to east coast framed by mountain ranges, in the north Kyrenia mountain range parallel to the coastline, mountain range that stretches until Karpas Peninsula, the highest point of the mountain range reaches 1019 m. To the south lies Troodos Mountains, which cover most of south-western portion of the island. The Coast in this part of the island is steep and rocky. The top of the highest mountain range is the Olympus with an elevation of 1.953m.
Cyprus has a temperate Mediterranean climate, summers are dry and burning as well as a cool and rainy season begins in October and lasts until March. The annual rainfall does not exceed 500 mm. The average annual temperature is 20.6 degrees Celsius. Cyprus has no permanent water courses; only a few rivers flood the plains of Mesaoria during the spring, because of the on rain fallen during the winter, but over a short period of the year. The island has several freshwater lakes and two salt water lakes. Thus, the island has limited water resources, which has intensified concern with the problem of residents’ lack of water on earth.
During the intense industrial development of aquatic reserves were subject to pollution from sewage and industrial discharges. Now the Cypriot state made a national project, which includes theoretical and practical aspects of resolving the economic issues, and not least environmental concerns. The drinking water resources, the project aims to try to reduce use of water sources, which is fed from the rain, a permanent desalination plan, designed on the uptake of 40 000 m³ of sea water, so salt water and its conversion to drinkable water. This project is running successfully since 1997. The latter have been compounded by certain articles of the project interventions directed also on water desalination.
Forests of pine, cedar and cypress cover about one seventh of the total area of Cyprus, mainly in mountainous areas. Among others are to be mentioned the native juniper trees, oak, olive, carob. Eucalyptus has been planted extensively in order to forest the island as impressive, especially after deforestation of huge forest strips. In the past, huge forests of Cyprus were made a dwelling area for a considerable variety of migratory birds and animals, for which they were recognized true natural paradise, but over the centuries, forest strips covering the central part of the island have once been used by people for economic purposes, but it has not been fully restored. Some efforts in this direction were made by Britain during the 18th century colonization of the island.
A considerable damage was brought by fire during the armed conflict of 1974 by Greek and Turkish supporters. Cyprus has few wild animals; in contrast, the island is visited by a large variety of migratory birds. Among other species found on the island can be remembered the becatele, pitpalac and woodcocks. In order to ensure the protection of the biodiversity territory, in the above mentioned project in Cyprus have some reservations and a region bounded by the forest reserve with a national status, the state taking special protection as directed 8.1% of the total area of the island only in 1996.
In the meantime, some additional areas were reserved for reservations. Also with environmental purposes, the Cypriot state has ratified a number of international conventions on biodiversity and endangered species, maintenance of the ozone layer, limiting air pollution, climate change problems of pollution transport and many other environmental problems of global order. The majority of Cypriot society is composed of two populations: Greek and Turkish, with this being found an important Armenian community.
The educational system is separated, which is maintained by the Greek and Turkish communities. Greek Cypriot education is administered by the Ministry of Education. Ten years of primary school is compulsory for all children aged between five and 15 years. In the early ’90s, the Greek Cypriot primary school enrolled approximately 63,000 children annually. Higher education was provided by the University of Cyprus; the Intercollege Education is administered by the Turkish Cypriot Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The illiteracy rate is low in both communities.
State’s official languages are Greek and Turkish, which is used in official state institutions, and also in everyday language. Due to the extension of tourism and its role in the economy of Cyprus, another language, the English, is spoken in most cities to provide certain facilities for tourists. The total population of the island is approximately 762,887, the estimate made in July 2001, of which 78% is Greek Cypriot population (99.5% live in the Greek Cypriot region, 0.5% live in the Turkish Cypriot area), the Turkish population is 18% Cyprus (1.3% of whom live in the Greek Cypriot region, 98.7% live in the Turkish Cypriot area), and the remaining 4% is occupied by other ethnicities (99.2% live in the Greek Cypriot region and 0.8% the Turkish Cypriot area).
Average longevity is 76.89 years: 74.6 years for men, 79.3 years for women. Estimates from 1999 showed that on the island a number of 400 persons live with HIV. The total population of Cyprus, 78% are followers of the Orthodox religion, 18% Muslim, 4% other religions. Greek community members join the Church of Cyprus which is consistent with east church doctrine. The Archiepiscopal Orthodox, who is bishop of Nicosia, and three other bishops of the Cypriot church are elected by church members. Turkish minority is mostly Muslim. Other small religious groups include Roman-Catholic religions, Christian, Arab, Jewish.
The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia (Lefkosia), this being the main commercial, cultural and scientific center of the country. Being an ancient capital dating back more than 1000 years, it is natural that the interest in this city is one of multiple, both economically as well as historical. Itinerary of a successful trip should not be any way to bypass these charming places. An important cultural shows great museum of Nicosia, which include the Museum of Jewelry, Coins Cypriot History Museum, the Municipal Arts Center Museum, Leventis, which shows a brief history of the city and in 1991 was honored with the title Museum Year in Europe. A famous district of Nicosia is “Laiki Geitonia”, a region of pedestrian movement, accurately restored by architects to keep the atmosphere of tradition, and bring to life destroyed after the 1974 armed conflict.
The most impressive museum of the city’s history museum remains “Cyprus”, which dates collections from the Neolithic Era. Nicosia is a city of contrasts, like the entire island. Here coexist streets that have changed not just the architectural aspect of the XVI century, and also big shopping centers. For example, a vivid impression of a modern civilization buildings certified by the National Collection of Contemporary Art or the Museum of Folklore, etc. of the Byzantine. Known in ancient times as Ledra, the city was under the tutelage of the 4th century Byzantine and then under the dominion of the kings of Jerusalem, in 1192, was conquered by the Venetians in 1489, the Ottoman empire in 1571 and then by the British in 1878.
As a British colony, it became the capital in 1925 and in 1960 became the capital of independent Cyprus. In an architectural sense, Nicosia can be represented by the Ethnological Museum, which is staying in the house of Chatzigeorgakis Kornesios, suggesting the extent of its cultural values; the city is a continuous succession of pearls of Cypriot heritage. The city has been divided into Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, following the Turkish invasion in 1974. The territory of Cyprus is divided into six districts: Famagusta (population, 20,516), Kyrenia, Larnaca (population, 59,600), Limassol (population-129,700), Nicosia, Paphos.
Urbanization makes up a share of 56%.
According to archaeological discoveries, the natives who lived on the island were an Indo-European people who had a written language, in this respect are some inscriptions discovered it has been shown that during the Neolithic and Bronze Age Cypriots had a developed civilization. Historical Archives of Cyprus from the occupation of part of the island to Egypt around 1450 BC, Thutmose III during his rule. The first Greek colony was formed, is believed, by traders from Arcadia, around 1400 BC, then the island was colonized by Phoenicians starting in 800 BC.
Cyprus was under the control of many empires that have dominated the eastern Mediterranean Sea (occupation of Egypt in 550 BC, to Persia in 525 BC). During the Persian occupation, King Evagoras I tried to unify all parts of the island having success in 391 BC, with Athens, in revolt against Persia, thus managing to become sovereign of the whole island. Shortly after his death the island went back under Persian occupation. In 333 BC Cyprus was taken by Alexander the Great of Persia, after his death followed the Egyptian domination (323 BC). Rome gained control of the island in 58 BC, following the Byzantine rule (395 AC) until 1191 when Cyprus was conquered by Richard I of England.
Turkey captured the island in 1571 and a led it to 1878 when it lost the war with Russia (1877-1878). Fearing Russian expansion, Turkey has sought help from England. Following a convention, signed by Turkey and England on 4 June 1878, Britain was granted control of Cyprus in return for a total annual rate of $ 500,000. Because Turkey was the ally of the Central Powers in World War I, Britain canceled the 1878 treaty in November 1914 and annexed Cyprus. The British government has offered the Greek island in exchange for participation in the war alongside them.
Greece was given a week to decide. Since the decision was delayed, Britain withdrew. Following the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), Turkey has acknowledged possession of Cyprus by Great Britain, two years later the island became a colony of English. In June 1958 the British came to international stability but this plan was rejected by Archbishop Makarios and the Greek and Turkish governments. Makairos Archbishop was elected president on 13 December 1959; Fazil Kuchuk, Turkish Cypriot, became vice president. Independence was proclaimed on 16 August 1960, Cyprus is recognized by the United Nations.
Makarios’s constitutional proposals in December 1963 led to the outbreak of a civil war between Greek and Turkish Cypriot population, and it was stopped by the intervention of the United Nations. The discussions and disputes have lasted until April 1975 when, under the guiding United Nations, created a federal system: Greek Cypriot area (59% of the island) and Turkish Cypriot area (37% of the island), 4% – United Nations buffer zone. In November 1983, Turkish Cypriot President Rauf R. Denktash proclaimed its independence. Today the island has not found full political stability, and it is disputed by Turkey and Greece.11