Cyprus is a country with a long, challenging, and sometimes tragic history. It is a small island surrounded by rapidly developing ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean world. This refers to a desirable piece of cake, due to its favorable geographical position on the sea routes, linking Europe with the countries of North-Eastern Africa and the Middle East. No wonder, why the Greeks, who brought civilization to Cyprus, were attacked by the Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Turks, British and other nations.
Personal Cyprus Impressions:
Below there are pictures of Salamis – the largest fortified policies of Hellenistic Cyprus, situated 6 km north of modern Famagusta. According Greek tradition Salamis was found after the Trojan War (XIII-XII centuries BC) by Teucer, son of Telamon.
In 1191 there was the first ‘acquaintance’ of Britain with Cyprus, when the English King Richard the Lionheart captured the island during the Third Crusade. In Lemesos (currently, Limassol) Richard married Berengaria of Navarre, a daughter of the King of Navarre. It should be noted that this is the only wedding of the British royal person held outside England.
In 1489, after the Queen Caterina Cornaro of Cyprus abdicated from the throne, the island was seized by the Republic of Venice. But in the late 16th century the Venetians could not stand the Ottoman Empire attacks, being so much attracted by favorable geographical position of the island, and thus, ruling Cyprus until 1878. As a result, the new population community appeared and increased in number: the Turks. But in 1878 Britain returned in Cyprus again: that was a kind of exchange for support in the Russian-Turkish war.
In the early 20th century the power in Cyprus passed into the possession of the British Governor. In 1925, the island was officially declared a colony of Britain and remained so until 1960. Certainly, this affected both the development of the country and way of life on the island. However, in terms of economics, that was a positive effect. The entire period of British rule in Cyprus was characterized by the rise of agriculture and active construction of roads, connecting towns and villages of the island. The rail was also developed: about 40 railway stations were built. Finally, it was the improvement of education system, the development of tourism and light industry, as well as living in peace and safety. By the way, the British heritage is present in Cyprus up to this day: left driving and grid connection, built by English standards and having British-style sockets along with two sovereign military bases.
All in all Cypriots are a self-sufficient nation. Such a wide range of influences on this small island nation could hardly lead to the loss of Greek culture and civilization. The first armed collisions of Greek Cypriots for the sake of independence took place in 1955; and in 1960 Cyprus gained its independence at last. As a result of negotiations between Greece, Turkey and Britain the state was divided into two communities – Turkish and Greek, with about 80% of the latter population.
Despite independence, no piece was restored in Cyprus. Under the pretext of peacekeeping, the Turks invaded this country in 1974. So, 37% of the island was under the Turkish occupation until 1983, when the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed. Up to this day, it is not recognized by any nation, except Turkey. As you can see, this page of history is the uncovered and truly tragic story for the people of Cyprus.
But in spite of these and those sad historical facts and recent financial crisis, Cyprus continues to lead its way of life, inviting tourists. The island attractiveness is quite understandable: here, you can relax and sunbathe on the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean, enjoying the rich resort nightlife at the same time (especially at such resort as Ayia Napa). In addition, Cyprus is an inexhaustible source of learning the history, culture and traditions of other nations.
If you are a fan of wandering as a stranger, the ideal place to do it is Paphos. No other town has so much antiquity sightseeing! No wonder, why the city is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. Moreover, it is close to the town of Petra tou Romiou, a world famous place. According to the legend, the Greek goddess Aphrodite was born right here, having come from the sea foam.
Already mentioned Ayia Napa is a paradise for the youth, looking for the best resorts in Cyprus. Discover the perfect vacation on the beautiful beaches with unbelievable nightlife entertainment! The water park is one of the main attractions of Ayia Napa, where not only tourists, but also locals like to spend their free time. Based on the history episodes of ancient Greece, it is one of the largest theme parks in Europe.
Personal Cyprus Impressions:
Below you can see photos I made while staying in small tourist town Protaras near Ayia Napa.
Limassol, the second largest city after the capital of Cyprus, Lefkosia (Nicosia), is a universal resort. It’s good either for young people or respectable families. Visit its beautiful beaches and the main attractions of the island both in the very city or near it: Kolossi Castle, the ruins of ancient Amathus and Kourion policies, and the highest and most picturesque Troodos Mountains, within one hour drive. Another memorable thing will be to go to the medieval villages in the Limassol area. Do not forget that Limassol is also the wine capital of Cyprus and the center of viticulture. Every year in September, there is a festival of wine here, where you can taste the most famous wines of the island.
One more thing: Cyprus is what really attracts and makes you come back again and again. It’s hearty welcome and hospitality of local residents seems to be beyond comparison. Coupled with a beautiful sea and incredible beaches, it is never subject to any economic or political crises. Everybody gets the feeling that the hospitality and warmth are the integral part of this island culture, which Cypriots are proud of and want to show by all means. Wherever you are, whether it is a luxury hotel or a small village or tavern, you will be surprised by how friendly and welcoming these people can be…