25 Interesting facts about Cyprus!
Cyprus is a small island with a long history and a rich culture that spans 10000 years, making it one of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean. Here are 25 interesting facts about this beautiful island:
On average, Cyprus receives 40 days of rainfall each year and it is known for its sunshine, with more than 300 sunny days during the year.
The island nation had seen its golden era during the Copper and Bronze Ages, when the island’s rich natural copper resources were exported to other countries and the country was the wealthiest nation in the known world.
Cyprus is also the first country to be governed by a Christian, Archbishop Makarios III.
The church plays a significant role in the social and political life of the island’s people. In fact, the largest bank in Cyprus is owned by the Cypriot Orthodox Church.
Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus, is divided by “The Green Line”, also known as the UN buffer zone. It is the only capital in the world that is divided between two nations.
Cyprus is one of only four countries(the UK, the republic of Ireland and Malta) in the EU that drives on the left.
Cyprus is the only foreign venue at which an English Royal Wedding has been hosted. The wedding happened at the Limassol Castle between King Richard and Queen Joanna on the 12th of May 1191.
Some of the world’s oldest water wells can be found in Cyprus.
The Neolithic settlement of Choirkoitia is one of the most important Neolithic sites in Europe and is one of the three UNESCO world heritage sights on the island.
Another UNESCO world heritage sight is the 10 churches and monasteries of the former Byzantine Empire, found in the Troodos mountain range
The remains of the oldest known pet cat, dating back 9,500 years, was found in Cyprus buried with its master.
According to legend, an entire shipload of cats was sent to the snake infested Island by St.Helena , to devour the poisonous snakes and today there are more cats than humans on the Island!
A whole town in Cyprus, Paphos, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to legend, the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite was born and rose from the foam (“afros,” in Greek) near a rock off what’s now Aphrodite’s Beach in Cyprus. The country is also known as the playground of the Gods.
At the entrance to the Christian catacombs in Paphos, there is a tree, adorned with handkerchiefs and ribbons, known to fulfil wishes. People believe that infertile women will bear children and people will return to their loved ones when something that belonged to them is tied to the tree along with a belief that good will happen.
With 64 blue flag beaches Cyprus has ranked first in Europe for the ratio of beaches that received the “Blue Flag”, to the total number of beaches in the country, for the twelfth year in a row.
The Zenobi (The Zenobia Shipwreck) found in Cyprus , a ro-ro ferry that sunk in 1980, is one of the top dive attractions in the world today.
Cypriots are big-time foodies but despite being an Island nation, they do not like fish that much. In fact, most of their traditional foods are meat-base, like kleftiko, koupepia, souvla, sheftalia and loukanika.
Cyprus halloumi is the real deal and has been recognised as a a traditional Cypriot product by the United States and the EU, so officially halloumi is only halloumi if it’s made in Cyprus.
The world’s oldest wine label belongs to Cyprus. “Commandaria” is recognised as the world’s oldest named wine dating back 5000 years.
The Cyprus Muflon, a rare variety of sheep can only be found in Cyprus.
With a very low crime rate, Cyprus is also among the safest places in the world.
The first Olympic medal won by Cyprus was at the London 2012 Olympics by Pavlos Kontides.
Cyprus is home to 20 rare species of orchid and there are more than 1950 species of flowering plants, 140 of which are found nowhere else in the world.
Carnival in Cyprus is a a unique blend of ancient Greek and later traditions. It’s believed to have begun under Venetian rule in the 16th century, involving masked balls and fancy dress. Earlier celebrations of Dionysus probably lent it a wild edge.