Geography and Demographics
Cyprus, with an area of 9,251 km² and coordinates at 35°N and 33°E, lies at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia at the crux of the busy shipping and air routes linking the three continents.
The population of Cyprus is about 847,000 (2016). The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia (Lefkosia), situated at the heart of the island with a population of approximately 336,000. The second largest city is Limassol (Lemesos) on the south coast with a population of approximately 241,000 and the island’s major port. Larnaca and Paphos are the third and fourth largest cities, each with a new airport, situated on the south east and south west coasts respectively.
Cyprus has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, enjoying year-round sunshine, with mild winters (mean daily minimum 5°C and maximum 13°C) and sunny, dry summers (mean daily minimum and maximum temperatures are 21°C and 36°C respectively).
Government & Political System
The Republic of Cyprus is a Presidential Democratic State, founded in 1960. The Executive authority is vested in the President who is elected for a five-year term by universal vote, and exercised by a Council of Ministers appointed by the President.
The Legislative authority of the Republic is exercised by the House of Representatives, whose Members are elected by universal vote every five years.
The administration of Justice is exercised by the Judiciary, which is a separate and independent body. The Members of the Cyprus Supreme Court are appointed by the President.
European Union & Eurozone Member State
The Republic of Cyprus became a full member of the European Union on May 1, 2004. Accession to the EU was a natural choice for Cyprus, driven by its culture, civilization and history, as well as its unwavering commitment to the values of democracy, freedom and justice.
With the dawn of 2008, Cyprus joined the European Monetary Union leveraging a robust economic performance marked by banner key indicators, thus adopting the Euro as its national currency.
Cyprus launched an era of opportunities and responsibilities for the island, as well as an era of commitment to growth. Cyprus encourages Foreign Direct Investment in priority economic growth sectors, as highlighted in the country’s Strategic Development Plan 2014-2020, with the introduction of a number of measures, reform initiatives and investment opportunities.
Cyprus has a lot to benefit from EU membership and despite its small size, a lot to offer as well. Being Europe’s Eastern outpost at the intersection of important transport and communications routes and at the crossroad of three continents, Cyprus provides a secure gateway for European enterprises into the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, while offering non-European businesses and entrepreneurs possibilities for investment into Europe.
With its advanced technical infrastructure and skilled human talent, Cyprus has become a regional quality business and financial centre, as well as a major communications and transport centre, and is also fast developing into an energy hub in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Apart from the EU, the Republic of Cyprus is a member of many international organisations including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Commonwealth, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and is represented through diplomatic missions in over 40 countries.
Overall, Cyprus is a member of the following international organisations:
- European Union and Eurozone
- The World Trade Organization
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- The World Bank
- The Commonwealth
- The Council of Europe
- The United Nations
With a constantly evolving system of advanced and modern infrastructure, Cyprus offers sophisticated road, air and sea transport solutions and services, which are widely recognised as an important competitive advantage in attracting foreign direct investment.
Cyprus’ two multi-purpose deep sea ports are located in the coastal cities of Limassol and Larnaca. The Limassol port handles both passenger and freight cargo while offering logistics solutions through advanced facilities for cost-effective transport and processing. In addition, the Limassol port is a renowned cruise liner hub and a popular “stop-over” for international cruise ships.
Two modern international airports in Larnaca and Paphos, offer their services to approximately 10 million visitors per year, connecting the island to the most popular transit hubs throughout the world.
Considerable investment has also been made to transform the island into a major telecommunications hub in the region, connecting Cyprus via submarine fibre optic cable and satellite to other networks in the Eastern Mediterranean basin and beyond.
Art, Culture and Gastronomy
The rich cultural landscape is reflected in the hundreds of archaeological sites and monuments located throughout the island, representing the numerous different historical periods in the island’s evolution. A large number of museums in the towns and villages of Cyprus showcase abroad array of archaeological collections and cultural treasures from different time periods.
Moreover, the island boasts great natural beauty with rare flora and fauna, a stunning coastline with golden sandy beaches, clear blue waters and year-round sunny weather, making it a popular tourist destination. Local and international festivals, concerts by renowned performers, museum nights and other cultural events take place in ancient and modern open-air amphitheatres, museums, archaeological sites and other venues throughout the year, including international independent film festivals, annual classical music festivals and opera festivals.
Cypriots are known worldwide for their genuine and sincere hospitality and friendliness. Like Cypriot culture, Cypriot cuisine is an amalgamation of different influences from Greece, the Mediterranean region and the island’s previous conquerors.
The first signs of civilization in Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, are traced back to the 9th millennium B.C. According to tradition, Aphrodite, the ancient goddess of love and beauty, was born from the foam of the sea on the southwestern coast of Cyprus, near the ancient city of Paphos.
The geographic position of the island determined its destiny through the ages. While Cyprus functioned as the crossroads between the East and the West and as a true international trade centre, it was also conquered by successive powers dominating the Mediterranean through the centuries. As a result, this small, modern European state has developed its own unique character, harmoniously blending various cultural influences through its multifaceted interaction with neighbouring countries, but maintaining its Greek character.
Independence from British rule in 1959 led to the declaration of Independence of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.