Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. This island’s maximum length is 140 miles or 225 kilometers. It measures 60 miles or 100 km from the north to the south. This means that it is the third-largest island located on the Mediterranean, only surpassed by Sicily and Sardinia.
The country has a colourful past with ancient ruins decorating the land and mythological stories to feed your mind. Stretch out on the beaches and drink the oldest wine on this island of love.
18 Interesting Facts about Cyprus
1. According to a legend, Greek goddess of love–Aphrodite–was born in Cyprus. She rose from the foam (“afros,” in Greek) near a rock of what’s now Aphrodite’s Beach. It’s an island of love.
2. The word copper is derived from the Greek name for the island, Kupros. The island was rich in the metal and used to export copper to other countries during the Copper and Bronze Ages. In return it became one of the wealthiest nations of that that time.
3. Even though Cyprus is an island nation, people here do not like fishing. Their traditional foods are also meat-based.
4. If you look closely, the shape of Cyprus is like that of a Cigar pipe.
5. Cyprus is home to the oldest wine brand in the world. Commandaria, a dessert wine known for its unique aroma and flavour is recognized as the world’s oldest named wine dating back 5000 years. There are over 50 wineries in the country where the wine is still produced.
6. The country has hosted the royal Wedding of King Richard and Queen Joanna on May 12, 1191. In doing so, it became the only foreign venue at which an English Royal Wedding has been hosted
7. There is a lot of history in Cyprus. Do you know that Paphos, an entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? You can see the Paphos Mosaics, Tombs of the Kings, Sanctuary of Aphrodite and other special sites which will take you on a whirlwind journey back into the past.
The Painted Churches in the Troodos Region and the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia are two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.
8. There is a tree at the entrance to the Christian catacombs in Paphos which is covered with handkerchiefs and ribbons. It’s believed 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.
9. Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus is the only capital in the world that is divided between two nations. The city is divided by “The Green Line” which is also known as the UN buffer zone. In 1974, Turkish troops occupied the northern part of Cyprus, and the division took place. However, the inhabitants on both sides have managed to co-exist peacefully.
10. Let’s talk about the flora and fauna on the island. The Cyprus Mouflon is a type of sheep which is only found in the country. There are 140 species of flowering plants in Cyprus which are not found anywhere else in the world.
11. Look closely at the flag. Cyprus is the first nation to include its map on its flag. In fact there are only two countries that have done that, Cyprus and Kosovo.
12. Cyprus is one of the four countries in the EU where you have to drive on the left. The other three are the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and Malta.
13. We love our pets but do you know that world’s oldest pet kitty was found in Cyprus. The remains of the pet cat were found buried with its master. The scientists dated the remains back about 9,500 years.
An interesting fact about Cyprus is that the island was once named Ophiussa, which means “the Abode of Snakes” because of the large quantity of them on the area. Legend says that an entire shipload of cats was sent to devour the poisonous snakes. Today the snakes are rare but there are more cats than humans on the Island!
14. The oldest perfume bottle in the world was found in the soil of Cyprus. It was a team of Italian archaeologists found it in Pyrgos. Dating back more than 4000 years, the perfume contained extracts from lavender, bay, rosemary, pine and coriander and was kept in a tiny translucent bottle.
15. The beaches in Cyprus are one of the cleanest in Europe. A total of 65 local coastlines received the Blue Flag certification in 2019. Beaches are awarded the Blue Flag based on compliance with 32 criteria including Environmental Education and Information, Water Quality, Environmental Management, Safety and Services.
16. In Cyprus, you can find a halloumi cheese that dates back to the Byzantine medieval period. This is a famous salty cheese made from a mix of cow and goat milk.
17. The Zenobi is one of the world’s best wreck diving sites, off the coast of Larnaca. The cargo ship sunk in the 1980s and is still largely intact, with carpets and vending machines rotting on her decks.
18. The country is famous for its sunshine. It receives 40 days of rainfall on average with more than 300 sunny days during the year.
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Cyprus:
Ancient Kourion: Kourion is the best choice if you want to visit some ancient sites in Cyprus. Perched on a coastal cliff with sweeping views of the countryside and Mediterranean below, it’s a magical place. You can visit the House of Eustolios, which holds a clutch of fine, well-preserved mosaics.
Akamas Peninsula: Let’s travel the off beaten path. The western tip of Cyprus is an area known as the Akamas Peninsula, and it is one of the least-inhabited parts of the island. The area is ideal for hiking and mountain biking. It is also an amazing place for spotting sea turtles and native birds.
You can visit Lara Beach with clean, calm water and pristine sands, the beach also serves as a nesting ground for green and logger-head turtles.
Larnaca: Larnaca is the oldest city in Cyprus, boasting a history that dates back more than 6,000 years. Larnaca Salt lake in winter is home to around 10,000 flamingos which fly every year in the winters.
While here, don’t miss the world famous dive at the Zenobia.