Cyprus, an island-republic in the Eastern Mediterranean, stands at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa. Its history and culture is living proof of its age-long function as a bridge between peoples and civilizations of Southeast Europe and the Middle East. The Syllabic-script-b, for example, found in Cyprus, is believed to be the link between the Phoenician and the Greek alphabets.
Today Cyprus is a modern state enjoying a democratic system of government with an executive president and a house of representatives where pluralistic expression is in full bloom.
Despite suffering an invasion by neighbouring Turkey in 1974, which still occupies about 37% of its territory, Cyprus has managed to develop its economy to such an extent that it now constitutes a significant regional financial hub.
In addition to its role as a regional financial and services centre, Cyprus plays a significant role in acting as a bridge between the peoples of the Middle East. It enjoys good relations with both Arab countries and Israel and it could act as a catalyst for cementing the ongoing Peace Process among Middle East nations.
Cyprus is in quest of peace. It wishes to see an end to the tragic division of the island with the conclusion of a negotiated settlement between its two major communities - the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots - with the establishment of a federal republic, the withdrawal of foreign troops and settlers brought in from Turkey and the demilitarization of the island. Politically Cyprus has moved towards Europe, by becoming a full Member State of the European Union, on 1 May 2004. It is, however, still a member of the family of non-aligned nations and the Commonwealth and links with Third World Countries are expected to remain strong.
Small in area (9,250 sq km) and population (746,100 in 1997), it enjoys a high standard of living, with low unemployment and low inflation rate. It has excellent communications and telecommunications infrastructure and has developed into a major off-shore banking centre. The island enjoys a very high educational and health services standard. Its ethnic composition is about 84,5% Greek Cypriots (including Maronites, Armenians and Latins) and 12,5% Turkish Cypriots and 3% others. Major religions include Orthodox Christianity (84%) and Islam (13%) while the official languages of the state are Greek and Turkish. English is widely spoken and used in business transactions.
Despite its small size, Cyprus's beauty is indeed unique. The island offers a rare variety of scenery consisting of an indented coastline with long, sandy beaches in numerous coves and a broad plain stretching between two mountain ranges which are mostly covered with forests of pine and cedar.
The climate is also quite diverse and according to Fador's Guide to Europe "one of the best climates in the world". Intense Mediterranean climate prevails at sea-level with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, low humidities inland during summer and more than 300 days of sunshine a year. The mountains (highest peak Mount Olympus 1951m), on the other hand, enjoy cooler weather during the summer and the highest elevations are snow- clad for most of the winter. In addition to scenic beauty and a healthy climate the island possesses a wide variety of wild life - rare and endemic species of flora and fauna.
Cyprus is one of the richest open air museums of the world. Here to be found are neolithic settlements, ancient Greek temples, Roman theatres, villas, early Christian basilicas, Byzantine churches, impressive medieval monasteries, Crusader Castles, Gothic churches, Venetian fortifications, Ottoman mosques and aqueducts and British colonial buildings.
Yet, Cyprus's greatest asset is the friendliness and hospitality of the locals. In some villages old customs die hard. Young girls still engage in lace-making in the beautiful village of Lefkara and elsewhere, potters still create wondrous shapes to decorate their earthenware vessels, the sound of handlooms can still be heard in distant Pafos villages and old men congregate in the coffee shops for a game of backgammon or to listen to and discuss the day's interest news.
> click here to view a map of Cyprus
> click here to view a presentation about Investment Opportunities in Cyprus