The flag features an orange-yellow map of the island, symbolising the colour copper, for which the island was once famous. The background of the flag is white and under the island’s map there are branches of olive trees – both of which represent peace.
- StateRepublic of Cyprus
- Location DescriptionIsland in the Mediterranean Sea, located at the intersection between Europe, Africa and Asia
- Geographic Coordinates35°N 33°E
- EU Member StateJoined on 1 May 2004
- SchengenCyprus is currently in the process of joining the Schengen area
- Political SystemPresidential Republic
- Population> 1,2 million
- Population DistributionPopulation peaks in Nicosia, followed by Limassol
- Area9,251 km2
- Coastline648 km
- Maritime Zones ProclaimedTerritorial Sea - Contiguous Zone - Exclusive Economic Zone - Continental Shelf
- Highest PeakMount Olympus located in Troodos Mountains at 1,952 m
- Average TemperatureSummer months: 38°C - 27°C Winter months: 17°C - 10°C
- Peace & SafetyPeaceful, one of the safest European countries to live in
- Life Expectancy81
- Religion (main)Christian (Greek) Orthodox
- Languages (main)Greek and English
- Literacy Rate99%
- GDP per capitaUS $27,858.4
- CurrencyEuro (€) adopted on 1 January 2008
- Time ZoneUTC/GMT +3 Eastern European Summer Time (EEST) UTC/GMT +2 Eastern European Time (EET)
- Dial Code+357
HISTORY OF CYPRUS
- 5800-3000 BCCyprus is geographically located at the crossroads of three continents, serving as a vital link between Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, filled with the ruins of various ancient civilizations. The oldest well-preserved village during the Neolithic ages is known as Chirokitia which existed between 5800-3000 BC (Stone Age).
- 2500 BCThe island was once abundant in copper and timber, giving it political and economic value. In fact, Cyprus gets its name from the ancient Greek term for precious copper mines, which were mined and traded as early as 2500 BC between the Near East, Egypt and the Aegean.
- 3000-2300 BCDuring the Bronze Age (3000-2300 BC), people have already learned to produce bronze by mixing copper with a small amount of tin. This way the islanders were able to make new, harder and durable metal tools, weapons and other.
- 1225-1200 BCThe abundant natural reserves allured superior powers’ attention to the region and battled for it. During the late Bronze Age (1225-1200 BC), Achaeans Greeks arrived who introduced the language to the locals as well as the 12 Olympian Gods with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Fertility, receiving special attention. According to legend, the mythical Goddess is said to have arisen from the waves around Paphos.
- 1050-480 BCUnfortunately, natural disasters wiped out all the Late Bronze Age’s major cities. The foundation of new cities or kingdoms during Geometric and Archaic Greek Periods (1050-480 BC), were the first significant creations. Salamis, Kourion, Paphos, Marion, Soloi, Lapithos and Tamassos prosper as great Greek city kingdoms. Also, the use of iron in metallurgy was the second major advancement, which aid Cyprus in an era of fast growth and development.
- 8th and the 3rd centuries BCOther conquerors later colonised the island between the 8th and the 3rd centuries BC; Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians. The Assyrians were the first conquerors to take possession of Cyprus, followed by the Egyptians, led by emperor Amasis. The Egyptians had only controlled Cyprus for 25 years. The Persian Empire, led by King Cyrus, captured the island.
- 332 BCIn 332 BC, Persian rule came to an end when Alexander The Great freed Cyprus from the Persians. Alexander’s invasion of the city of Tyre (modern day Syria) included 120 Cypriot ships. In exchange, the Cypriot Kingdoms were granted complete autonomy. After Alexander The Great’s death, the Kings of Cyprus joined forces with Ptolemy I to battle Antigonos. The Ptolemies were an Egyptian Hellenistic colony and ensured that Hellenistic presence is maintained in Cyprus. In that period, Cypriot art was heavily influenced by Attic art as well.
- Roman RuleCyprus became a senatorial province after the Romans arrived in 30 BC. Saint Paul is said to have visited the island around this period and converted the Roman governor to Christianity.
- Byzantine & Ottoman EraCyprus remained a Roman possession until the Kingdom fell apart in 330 AD, when it became part of the Byzantine Empire. In 1189, on his way to the Third Crusade, King Richard Lionheart invaded Cyprus. Soon he sold it to the Franks who conquered the island in a dynasty for around 300 years. In, 1489 the last of the Lusignans gave the island to Venice. The Venetians were unable to resist the attacking Ottoman troops who invaded the island in 1571, despite constructing massive fortifications around the island’s main cities of Famagusta and Nicosia. Before the arrival of the British in 1878, Cyprus was under Ottoman control.
- British Colonisation, The Cyprus Problem & 1974 InvasionBritain was the last colonial power to occupy the island, while Cyprus gained independence in 1960 after years of opposition to British rule. Following Turkey’s military invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 353 that “demands an immediate end to foreign military intervention in the Republic of Cyprus.” In addition, unanimous UN General Assembly Resolution 3212 calls for withdrawal of foreign troops from Cyprus, respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic cessation of interference in its internal affairs, and return of refugees to their homes under conditions of safety. Moreover, the UN Security Council condemned Turkey’s “Unilateral Declaration of Independence” in the military occupied territory of the island, called it “legally invalid,” called for its withdrawal, and called upon all states not to recognise the “TRNC” and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus (Resolution 541/83). The European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe has found Turkey guilty of gross human rights violations in the areas of Cyprus it has occupied since 1974; those violations continue today.
- Establishment of the Republic of CyprusThe Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus entered into effect on 16 August 1960 with the declaration of the Republic of Cyprus as an independent sovereign state as a result of the Zürich-London Agreements of 1959. Notably, the Constitution constitutes a “given constitution” for which the Cypriot public was never called on to validate by voting. Along with the declaration of the Republic of Cyprus as an independent sovereign state, the following treaties entered into force: (i) the Treaty of Establishment, (ii) the Treaty of Guarantee, and (iii) the Treaty of Alliance. Despite the complexity and peculiarities surrounding the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, the Constitution safeguards foundational principles of the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the doctrine of separation of powers, the independence and impartiality of justice, the protection of fundamental human rights safeguarded by the Constitution (Part II) and International Conventions ratified by the Republic, the principle of legality that governs administrative acts and the judicial control thereof, and the limitation of the legislative power exercised in the context of constitutional provisions, which includes the judicial control of the constitutionality of laws. On 20 September 1960, the Republic of Cyprus became the 99th member state of the United Nations (UN) and it is an active member therein, participating in the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNESCO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Health Organization (WHO), INTERPOL and in many other organisations that have been established and operate under the auspices of the UN. The Republic of Cyprus has played a foundational role in the establishment and operation of the International Criminal Court and it is the 55th member state to have ratified its Statute on 7 March 2002, having the then President of the Supreme Court of the Republic, Georgios Pikis, serving in its first composition. On 24 May 1961, the Republic of Cyprus joined the Council of Europe and ratified the European Convention of Human Rights on 6 October 1962. On 1 August 1975, the Republic of Cyprus signed the Helsinki Final Act, which paved the way for the establishment of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
- Cyprus’ Accession to the EUThe Republic of Cyprus acceded to the European Union (EU) as a full member on 1 May 2004. In addition, on 1 January 2008 the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Monetary Unit (EMU). During the State’s procedure of acceding to the EU, the Cypriot law (largely based on the English Common Law) has been amended to meet the EU’s requirements.
Cyprus is a small island with a complex history and tradition, making it one of the Mediterranean’s oldest cultures, shown by the many interesting architectural sights, monuments and museums. The island’s specific strategic location, at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa, has played an important role in the island’s rich history since antiquity.
In the rural villages, old ways of life, customs and traditions have been wonderfully preserved. And fascinating characteristics of the island have been caught in the various museums and galleries. In fact, UNESCO has listed many of the island’s landmarks as world Heritage Sites, such as Paphos where Aphrodite’s temple was built in the 12th Century B.C., where she was said to have been born. The town has outstanding architectural and historical significance due to the ruins of palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs. In addition, Nea Paphos has some of the most exquisite mosaics in the world.
A World Heritage-Filled Destination
In 2010, the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which conducted its sixth meeting at UNESCO Headquarters from 22-24 November, granted “increased protection” designation on the three World Heritages in Cyprus. Choirokoitia, Paphos and the Painted Churches in Troodos Mountain. Chairman Nout van Woudenberg expressed his concern at the time, about the numerous damaged cultural sites, highlighting the necessity of improving preservation by enforcing existing legislative procedures to avoid cultural heritage losses around the world.
The discovery of a Neolithic settlement in the Larnaca region supports that the island played a significant role in the migration of civilization from the Near East to the European continent. Nevertheless, the well-preserved archaeological site provided scientific evidence on the spread of civilization from Asia to the Mediterranean area. Finally, Choirokitia illustrates the origins of the earliest communities in the Mediterranean. Choirokitia is Cyprus’ most important Neolithic archaeological site, and its importance in researching and comprehending the development of human culture in this vital area of the eastern Mediterranean is unrivalled.
Cyprus’ cultural and archaeological heritage is preserved and administered in accordance with national legislation (the Antiquities Law and international treaties ratified by the Republic of Cyprus). The legislative framework aims to protect both the Neolithic Settlement and the surrounding environment, with the goal of preserving the site’s historic character, amenities, and ecology.
District of Paphos is a serial archaeological property consisting of three components at two sites: Kato Paphos and Kouklia village. Kato Paphos includes the remains of ancient Nea Paphos with Aphrodite’s sacred City and Kato Paphos necropolis known as Tafoi ton Vasileon (Tombs of the Kings). Kouklia includes the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite (Aphrodite’s Sunctuary).
Many of the archaeological remains are of great antiquity, such as the Temple of Aphrodite, which dates back to the 12th century BC and is one of the oldest Mycenaean settlements. What’s more, amongst the finest specimens in the world are the rare Mosaics of Nea Paphos, which cover the Hellenistic and Byzantine period. The temple of Aphrodite has great religious and cultural importance, as the Goddess of Fertility is recognised and celebrated as a symbol of love and beauty and contributes to the Outstanding Universal Value. Because of its location, design and the highly valued archaeological remains, Paphos is considered as highly authentic.
Troodos Mountains – Sustainability of Local Communities
The UNESCO Global Geopark area of Troodos is located around the centre of the island, with its highest peak (Mount Olympos) at 1952m and 57km from the capital of Lefkosia (Nicosia). The area covers 1,147km2 and is generally defined by the extent of the ophiolite complex.
The Troodos Mountains are well-known among geologists around the world as an elevated and set in a dome structure by the collision of the Eurasian and African plates 92million years ago. Throughout history, asbestos and umber have been mined, but it was the production and trading of copper from huge sulphide deposits similar to those found in Cyprus that made the island’s name synonymous with copper.
The Troodos Mountains are home to 110 villages, having a population of 25,000. The UNESCO Global Geopark, along with the related Government policies, are responsible for its sustainable development. The self-contained Geopark Centre includes geology and mining exhibits, a lecture room and a store, and it is housed in a renovated early 20th Century classroom of the rehabilitated Amiantos’ mine.
Every year UNESCO, along with the Environmental Information Centre and the Environmental Education Centre in Pedoulas village, welcome many children and guests helping country’s economic prosperity and educating people about the island’s cultural heritage. The Centre is also operated by the local community, which is represented by the Troodos District Development Agency. For the observant geotourist, local festivals, taverns, vineyards, traditional workshops, geology and nature trails, waterfalls, museums, monasteries, ancient bridges, and 11 UNESCO World Heritage Byzantine churches complete the image.
The archaeological ruins of Kourion which, in antiquity, was one of the island’s most prominent city kingdoms, are among the most magnificent on the island, and excavations have discovered numerous notable artefacts, which may be seen at the site. The city-kingdom was constructed on the area’s hills, overseeing and controlling the fertile Kouris River valley. Data proves that Kourion was linked to the Greek legend of Agros of Peloponnese and that its residents thought they were descendants of Argean immigrants, according to archaeological findings.
The site’s highlight is a spectacular Greco-Roman theatre that was erected in the 2nd Century BC and expanded in the 2nd Century AD. The theatre has been rebuilt and is currently utilised for open-air musical and dramatic performances, mostly in the summer, making it one of the most popular venues for great cultural events.
The House of Achilles is built around a peristyle and contains two beautiful mosaics, one devoted to Achille and the other portraying Ganymede’s kidnapping. Several magnificent mosaics portraying historical battles may be seen at the House of Gladiators.
Anyone visiting Cyprus will have the chance to experience the Cypriot Cuisine. Food is as vital to Cypriots as oxygen, and with good company, it would look more like a celebration with laughs, loud voices, songs and most likely some wine, beer or Zivania.
With a long history and a geographically strategic position located at the crossroads between the European, African and Asian continents, Cyprus’ gastronomy has been influenced by a variety of cultures, many of which have contributed to its local cuisine.
The island’s cuisine has been influenced by its connection to the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern cultures and thus, flavours in Cyprus have similarities with cuisines such as Greek and Armenian cuisines, amongst many others.
Despite its rich, multi-cultural flavours, some dishes are truly unique to the Cypriot culture – now, to write them all would mirror authoring an entire book (and make us very hungry) and so the below serves as a glimpse to the traditional Cypriot cuisine:
The mild salty flavour and rubbery texture of Halloumi distinguish it as Cyprus’ most popular food; it undoubtedly forms an essential part of Cyprus’ culture, trade, economy and of course, heritage. Chefs all over the world have been fans of this delicacy and use it to create gourmet recipes. This type of cheese is made by mixing goat’s and sheep’s milk and then setting with rennet. Due to a lack of acid-producing bacteria in certain part of the process, which is common for most dairy products, this is a rare practice. Halloumi can be fried, grilled or even eaten cold with freshly cut watermelon for a refreshing, must-try summer meal.
Did you know?
In March 2021 the EU unanimously voted for and halloumi is now in the Register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications. Only Halloumi produced on the island of Cyprus and according to the traditional recipe can now be marketed in the EU with the name “Halloumi”.
Koupepia & Gemista
The Cypriot Dolma is made of minced beef or pork, rice, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of herb-based ingredients. The filling is then covered in fresh vine leaves with care. Koupepia, as it is known by the locals, is a village favourite dish that can be eaten all year round; it’s on every Cypriot grandmother’s homemade menu. The filling of vegetables, known as Gemista, is a Cypriot variation to Koupepia that replaces the grape leaves with peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, zucchini, onions and even courgette flowers!
Souvlakia – Shieftalia
The Cypriot-style souvlaki is a spin-off of the classic Greek dish, consisting of small pieces of charcoal-grilled meat on a steel skewers and a quantity of fresh salad filling. This very common dish plate. The pitta bread used is thinner and larger than the Greek variety, and it typically has space between the bread to keep the ingredients rather than being wrapped in the Greek fashion. Souvlakia can be either with chicken or pork meat and is often served along with Shieftalies; grilled spiced sausage parcels with spices, minced pork or lamb. For vegans and vegetarians, grilled mushroom and halloumi in pitta bread is a definite must-try.
Similar to Souvlaki yet distinctive in flavour, Souvla comprises of large pieces of meat on a big steel skewers cooked over a “foukou” as the locals call it, a charcoal barbeque. The meat can be either pork, lamb or chicken and it is a very common meat dish for Cypriots when gathering altogether. Souvla has been embedded in the Cypriot culture for years now, especially during celebrations like Easter Sunday, when families cook their Souvla while drinking beer, chatting and having fun. It is customary to snack on small bits and pieces of the meat while it is cooking (a tradition known as “meze”) as this dish requires a good 2 hours to be ready-to-eat.
Flaouna is a halloumi, anari and hard cheese-filled pastry occasionally made with raisins and garnished with sesame seeds. According to Easter custom, flaounes were made on Holy Saturday in traditional Cypriot clay ovens and were then transported to the Church, where they were shared and consumed following the Resurrection. Flaounes were originally made in the 19th Century and have since become a popular, must-try savoury pastry of Cyprus.
Did you know?
The word “flaouna” is derived from the ancient Greek word “palathi” (a dried fruit pie) or the Latin word “fladonis”. Another theory suggests that “flaouna” is derived from the ancient Greek verb “flao”. “Flaouna” may be found in Arcadia, defined as a grilled pie cooked on a barbecue.
Pourekia are a type of pastry filled with a variety of ingredients and created with a very thin layer of puff pastry. Sweet pourekia are stuffed with anari cheese and cinnamon, whereas savoury pourekia are stuffed with halloumi or feta cheese, mushrooms, or minced meat.
The pourekia are cooked untill they get a golden colour on both sides in a large amount of oil. They are then placed on paper towels to soak off the oil before they are consumed. It is customary to sprinkle sweet pourekia with icing sugar.
The sweet dessert wine with an amber hue, Commandaria, is one of Cyprus’ most renowned and is a must-try when visiting the island. Commandaria was first mentioned around 800 BC by the Greek poet Hesiod, who mentioned a wine prepared from dried grapes called ‘Cypriot Nama’. Commandaria was once considered to be a wine with medicinal properties, and it was frequently used as a tonic.
Commandaria is exclusively produced using the same method for generations, using grapes from the same 14 wine-growing villages located in South-West of the island. Mavro (red) and Xynisteri (white) grapes harvested late in the season and dried in the sun to increase their sugar content, giving the wine its unique flavour. After pressing the dried grapes, the run-off liquid is collected and fermented in tanks or large earthenware jars, like those used in the past. Remarkably, today Cyprus has approximately 55 wineries, 90% of which are family run.
Did you know?
Commandaria is in the Register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) of the EU and has a trademark and Geographical Indication (GI) protection status in Canada and enjoys similar protection in the USA.
Zivania & Ouzo
Zivania is a clear-colour alcoholic beverage with a faint grape fragrance and a 45% alcohol level on average. There is no sugar or acidity in this drink. “Zivania” comes from the word “zivana” or “zivano” which refers to the residues of the grapes used to make it. It has been made in Cyprus since the Venetians ruled the island in the 14th Century.
Ouzo is an anise-flavoured aperitif made with grape must (the remnants of winemaking) and may also include flavourings like star anise, fennel, mastic, cardamom, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon. Its clear colour becomes cloudy white when diluted with water or served on the rocks. Apart from being served as a shot drink, Ouzo is also a popular blend in cocktails all over Greece and Cyprus and it served with meze.
Did you know?
As a spirit drink, Zivania has Protection as a Geographical Indication (GI) from the EU for Cyprus, while Ouzo has a GI Protection from the EU for Cyprus and Greece ultimately making both Zivania and Ouzo truly local.
The unique flavours and beautiful aromas of its local dishes have clearly made Cyprus’ cuisine popular across the globe. It should be noted that apart from its delectable flavour, the Cypriot cuisine is also nutritious because of its Mediterranean diet base, which is considered to be one of the healthiest diets in the world.
A POPULAR BUSINESS & FAMILY DESTINATION
Over the years, Cyprus has gained popularity amongst people and businesses that wish to relocate to a new jurisdiction. Recently, three (3) business leaders have shared their experiences and the reasons that made them choose Cyprus to relocate not just their business, but also their family, particularly in the context of the Fast Track Business Activation mechanism – in their words:
Corporate & Legal Services
We undertake the entire relocation (redomiciliation) process of companies to Cyprus, ensuring the smooth transition in the continuity of the given entity’s business and assist entities looking to enrol in the Fast Track Business Activation mechanism.
Immigration & Residency Services
We undertake the entire procedure to secure any type of residency and immigration permit from the competent authorities, carrying out the naturalisation process in order to obtain citizenship and any other immigration-related service.
Economic Substance Services
We assist clients in building economic substance by advising on, designing and helping in the implementation of appropriate and cost-effective measures, which support the company’s tax residency status and eliminate the risk of potential challenges.