About Cyprus

About Cyprus

Name of State: The Republic of Cyprus

Independence Day: 1st October 1960

Capital: Nicosia (Lefkosia)

The Cyprus Flag

It was defined in 1960 after Independence. The ground is white. The map of the Island of Cyprus, in the middle, has the colour of copper. The crest under the island and the olive-tree leaves have the colour of olive-green.

Location and Area

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily and Sardinia) with an area of 9.251 sq kms , extending 240 kms from east to west and 100 kms from north to south. It is strategically situated in the far eastern corner of the Mediterranean, at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, and in close proximity to the busy trade routes linking Europe with the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia and the Far East.


Executive Power
Presidential system of government. The President is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised through an 11-member Council of Ministers appointed by the President. Turkish Cypriots have refused to participate in the government since late 1963.

Multi-party unicameral House of Representatives. Voting system: Simple proportional representation. Number of seats 80. 56 are allocated to Greek Cypriot members and 24 reserved for Turkish Cypriot deputies. House members are elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. Since 1963 the Turkish Cypriot seats remain vacant.

Judicial Power
The administration of justice is exercised by a separate and independent Judiciary: the Supreme Court, the Assize Courts and the District Courts.

District Administration

Cyprus is divided into six administrative districts. These are: Nicosia, Limassol, Pafos, Larnaka (in the government-controlled areas) and Famagusta and Keryneia (in the occupied areas).

Local Authorities

Local government is the responsibility of the Municipal and Community Councils. Municipal Councils provide local government services and administration of the towns and large rural areas, while the Community Councils manage village affairs. The Councils are independent and their members are elected by universal suffrage.

The Central Bank of Cyprus 

The Central Bank was established in 1963. It is responsible for formulating and implementing monetary and credit policy. It also administers the foreign exchange reserves of the Republic, supervises banks and acts as banker and financial agent of the Government.

International Relations

Cyprus is a member of many international organizations including:
The United Nations (1960) and its specialized agencies
Council of Europe (1961)
The Commonwealth (1961)
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (1975)
World Trade Organization (1995) The International Monetary Fund

Cyprus and the European Union (EU)

Cyprus is a member of the EU since the 1st May, 2004 and member of the Eurozone since 1st January, 2008. 


There are two mountain ranges running from east to west: the Troodos range, in the southwest, highest peak, Mount Olympos at 1.953 metres;
the Kyrenia or Pentadaktylos range in the northeast with its highest Peak Kyparissovounos at 1.024 metres.
The central Messaoria plain has a low relief. There are no perennial rivers, only a few springs and streams.


Mediterranean, with mild, wet winters (mean daily minimum 5°C, 41°F), and hot, dry summers (mean daily maximum 36°C, 97°F).

Flora and Fauna

Seventeen percent of the island is woodland. The natural vegetation includes forests of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and flowers. The flora comprises about 1.800 species, sub-species and varieties. About 140 or 7% of these are endemic to Cyprus.

There are also 365 species of birds but only 115 breed on the island. Two species and five sub-species have been classed as indigenous to the area.
Among the animals the moufflon is the most noteworthy. It belongs to the sheep family and is unique in the world.


952.100 (Dec. 2011)*
71,5% (681.000) Greek Cypriots **
9,5% (90.100) Turkish Cypriots
19,0% (181.000) foreign nationals
Population density: 103 persons/sq km

* The population does not include the illegal settlers from Turkey (currently estimated at about 160.000) residing in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus. 

** This figure includes the 8.400 (0,9%) Maronites, Armenians and Latins who opted to join the Greek Cypriot community. Under the 1960 Constitution they had to choose to belong to either the Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot community.

The population in the areas controlled by the Republic of Cyprus amounts to 862,000

Population (Dec 2011)
Nicosia (Lefkosia) (Capital): 245.900*
Limassol (Lemesos): 184.600
Larnaca (Larnaka): 86.400
Paphos (Pafos): 63.900

* The population in the Government controlled part of the city only

Towns under Turkish occupation*

Famagusta (Ammochostos): 38.960
Morphou (Morfou): 7.466
Kyrenia (Keryneia): 3.892

*Population prior to 1974 Turkish invasion

Vital Statistics

Birth rate 11,3 per thousand (2011) 
Death rate 6,5 per thousand (2011)
Growth rate 2,6% (2011) 
Life expectancy (males) 79 (2010/11)
Life expectancy (females) 82,9 (2010/11)

Official Languages

Greek and Turkish
English is widely spoken


The majority of the Greek Cypriot Community adheres to the Autocephalus Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus while others are members of the Roman Catholic (Latin and Maronite Communities) and the Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenian Community). The Turkish Cypriot Community adheres to Islam.


The history of Cyprus is among the oldest in the world. The first signs of civilisation traced in archaeological excavations and research, date back 11.000 years to the 9th millennium BC.
The discovery of copper in Cyrus in the 3rd millennium BC brought wealth to the island and attracted trade from its neighbours. Yet, although geographically placed at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa – and a meeting point of great world civilisations, Cyprus has developed and for centuries maintained, its own civilisation.

The Mycenaean and Achaean Greeks settled on the island between the 13th and 11th century BC. They introduced the Greek language and culture, both of which are preserved by Greek Cypriots to this day.
At the end of the 4th century BC Cyprus became part of the kingdom of Alexander the Great. The Hellenistic period ended in 30 BC when Cyprus became part of Roman Empire until the 4th century AD.
In 330 AD Cyprus formed part of the Eastern Section of the Roman Empire and later of the Byzantine Empire, and remained so until the 12th century AD. During the Crusades Cyprus was conquered by Richard the Lionheart followed by the Lusignans and the Venetians.

In 1571 Cyprus was conquered by the Ottomans and in 1878 it was ceded to Britain. In 1914 Britain annexed the island and in 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquished all claims on the island. In 1925 Britain declared Cyprus a crown colony. 

In 1955 the Greek Cypriots launched a liberation struggle against British rule and the island won its independence in 1960


Neolithic period 9th - 4th millennium BC
Chalcolithic period 4th-mid – 3rd millennium BC
Bronze Age mid 3rd millennium – late 2nd millennium BC
Iron Age 1st millennium BC
Archaic Period 8th – 5th century BC
Classical period 480-310 BC
Hellenistic Period 310-30 BC
Roman period 30 BC -330 AD
Byzantine period 330-1191 AD
Cyprus Under the crusaders 1191-1192
Lusignan (Frankish) period 1192 – 1489
Venetian Period 1489-1571
Ottoman (Turkish Period) 1571-1878
British Period 1878-1960


Since 2000 Cyprus has been contributing to the European Union defence capabilities and is participating in 5 of the 19 ECAP Project Groups, which deal with issues covering the deficiencies of the European Military Capabilties. 

UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)

The United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) currently numbering 858 soldiers, 85 civilian police and 152 civilian personnel, was established with the consent of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on 27 March 1964. The creation of the Force was mandated by the Security Council of the United Nations in its resolution adopted on 4 March 1964 [186, (1964)] following the outbreak of the inter-communal conflict on the island and the threat of an imminent invasion by Turkey. Its main task following the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974 is to supervise the buffer zone along the ceasefire, since Turkey still occupies part of the Republic of Cyprus.

British Sovereign Base Areas

The British sovereign military bases at Akrotiri/Episkopi and Dhekelia cover 2,74% of the country’s territory. The bases were retained by Britain under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment between Britain, Greece, Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus. 


The free market economy in the government-controlled area has made remarkable recovery since 1974 attributed to, among other factors: the adoption of a market-oriented economic system, sound macroeconomic policies, a dynamic and flexible entrepreneurial community and a highly educated labour force. The economy turned from agriculture to services and light manufacturing. Today, Cyprus is a major tourist destination and a modern economy offering dynamic services with an advanced infrastructure. The per capita income in PPS (Performance Presentation Standards) reached 81,6% of EU 25 member–states average in 2004. Additionally, Cyprus was ranked 29th in the United Nations 2003 Index of Human Development. On 29 April 2005 the Cyprus pound joined the EU Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II). Cyprus joined the eurozone on 1st January 2008. 

Contribution to GVA (2007)

Primary (mainly Agriculture): 6,5%
Secondary (mainly Manufacturing and Construction): 16,7%
Tertiary: 70,1%