Cyprus Facts

Cyprus Facts and History

Asia Europe

Cyprus – a small idyll in the Mediterranean

The island of Cyprus consists of the Republic of Cyprus in the southern part and the northern part of the island, annexed by Turkey in 1974, the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, which is not recognized by the international community. The Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the European Union (EU) since May 1, 2004 and a member of the Eurozone since January 1, 2008. The island’s capital, Nicosia, is a divided city, just like Berlin used to be.

It should be noted that Cyprus is geographically part of Asia, but politically part of Europe.

Name of the country Republic of Cyprus
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location Third largest and easternmost island in the Mediterranean105 km west of Syria, 75 km south of Turkey located

belongs geographically to Asia – politically to Europe

National anthem “Ymnos eis tin Eleftherian” (Ode to Freedom)Text: Dionysios Solomós

Music: Nikolaos Mantzaros

Population approx. 1.2 million (Credit: Countryaah: Cyprus Population)
Ethnicities Especially Greeks (about 70%) and Turksminorities: Armenians, Maronites
Religions Greek Orthodox ChristianityIslam (Sunnis)
Languages Greek and Turkish
Capital Nicosia
Surface 9,251 km²
Highest mountain Olympos with an altitude of 1,953 m
International license plate CY
National currency Since 1.1. 2008 the euro (€)
Time difference to CET + 1h
International phone code +357
Mains voltage, frequency 230 volts, 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .cy

Cyprus: history of the country

7,000 to 3,900 BC Chr.

Remnants of a settlement from the New Stone Age (Neolithic) can be seen in Khirokitia (between Larnaca and Limassol).

3,900 to 1050 BC Chr.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, copper mining brought the island of prosperity. The Latin word for copper (cyprium, later kuprium) gave the island its name. Trade arose with the Middle East, Egypt and the Aegean Sea. From 1400 BC Beginning of the Hellenization through the first immigration of Greeks, first from Mykonos, then from Athens, who brought the Greek language, religion and customs with them. Cities like Paphos, Salamis and Kourion emerged.


1050 to 55 BC Chr.

The island was shaken by huge earthquakes, many cities were completely destroyed. In the 8th century BC The Phoenicians settled in Kition (today Kiti). There were 10 kingdoms that were taken one by one by the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians. Alexander the Great defeated the Persians and incorporated Cyprus into his empire.

55 BC BC to 1191 AD

Nefertiti had given the island to Caesar; it was initially a province of the Roman and after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. In the year 15 BC Fish farming was invented in Cyprus. Christianization began in the 4th century and the first basilicas were built. Cyprus was the first Christian country in the world.

1191 to 1489

Cyprus was conquered first by Richard the Lionheart, then by the Crusaders under Guy de Lusignan. During this time Gothic buildings such as the Ayia Sophia Cathedral (Nicosia) and the Bellapais Monastery, which can still be visited today, were built. In 1489 the last Frankish queen left Cyprus to the Venetians.

1571 to 1878

The Venetians capitulated to Lala Mustafa; Cyprus was now part of the Ottoman Empire.


After the Ottomans joined Germany in the First World War, Cyprus was annexed by Great Britain and declared a crown colony in 1925. During World War II, many Cypriots fought against Nazi Germany under British command. From 1955 Armed clashes took place with the aim of liberation from the occupiers.

On August 6, 1960, the Republic of Cyprus was proclaimed on the basis of the “Zurich Agreement”: Archbishop Makarios III was its president. Cyprus becomes a member of the UN and the Commonwealth. Great Britain maintains two military bases on the island (Dhekelia, Akrotiri) on a total of approx. 250 km².

The constitution of 1960 was not suitable for finally creating peaceful conditions. In addition, the coexistence of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots was made more difficult by the fact that a group called “EOKA B” called for the island to be annexed to Greece. Bloody clashes between Turkish and Greek Cypriots resulted in UN peacekeeping troops being sent to Cyprus.

In 1974 the connection to Greece (ENOSIS) was to be brought about by a coup by the military junta ruling Greece at the time. Makarios was kidnapped; the island was in a state of emergency. From July 20th, 1974 air raids took place through Turkeyinstead of; in the further course 40,000 Turkish soldiers occupied the northern part of the island. The predominantly Greek part of the population had to flee to the south, conversely, the Turks, who had previously lived in the south, left their houses to settle in the north. In 1983 the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” was proclaimed, but it was not recognized by the international community (with the exception of Turkey).

Efforts to reunite the island were supported by countless mediation efforts by the UN, but failed due to a lack of willingness to compromise on both sides.

In 1990 Cyprus applied to join the EU. Further UN mediation proposals (Butros Ghali Initiative, Annan Plan) were unsuccessful.

In 2002 the two sides entered into direct negotiations. On April 23, 2003, the border, the so-called “Green Line”, was opened, allowing both population groups to visit the other side.

On April 24, 2004, separate referendums took place on the basis of the so-called Annan Plan III: The content of this plan was, however, perceived by the majority of Greek Cypriots as unreasonable and rejected by 75%, while 65% of the island Turks agreed.

On May 1, 2004 Cyprus became a member of the EU. Membership was temporarily limited to the southern part of Greece, but the island Turks were given the prospect of lifting their isolation. The inner Cypriot border (“Green Line”) guarded by the UN is currently the external border of the EU.

February 24, 2008

In the runoff election for head of state and head of government (in one person), the former communist Dimitris Christofias (born 1946) won 54% of the votes over his rival Ioannis Kasoulides, who received 46% of the votes. In the first ballot on February 17th In 2008 Christofias received only 33.3% of the vote and was second only to Kasoulidis, who received 33.5% of the vote.

Cyprus Facts