Cyprus – A thriving Mediterranean paradise

Cyprus peninsula from above

I heard a lot about Cyprus growing up. I went to an Armenian school, and I would often hear about Cyprus, mostly in history class. The population in Cyprus is mainly Greek, but there is also a small Armenian community, and the Armenian language is considered one of the minority languages of the island.

Like Armenia, Cyprus suffered many attacks from all the empires that ruled across Asia and Europe in ancient times, and the two countries share the Christian Orthodox religion, a trait they also share with Greece. When you travel around the Mediterranean, there are some things that become instantly clear, one of them is that Greeks love Armenians and hate Turks, similarly, Cypriots love Armenians, most of them also hate Turks, for both historic and religious reasons, but some of them are Turks.

Overview

The Ottoman domination left a large Turkish population in Cyprus. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots never quite managed to get along, to the point that the Turkish Cypriots created their one government in the Northern part of the island, declaring their own Republic state, which has only ever been recognized by Turkey.

Aphrodite’s rock

Cyprus is a thriving nation with a per capita income just above that of the whole European Union. It has been very clever at attracting foreign investment, and it has also seen a steady flow of foreigners relocating to the island. British rule has left some marks in Cyprus, where cars drive on the left-hand side of the road.

The third biggest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia, Cyprus is closest to Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. There are two international airports with flights to many European cities and another airport in the Turkish side, which only offers flights to Turkey.

Cyprus combines the Greek warmth and friendliness, the exotic aspects of the Muslim culture in the Turkish areas and a strong national culture which includes delicious dishes very akin to what you may find in Greece but also a special type of Lokum or Turkish delight, which has a special territorial denomination; as Armenians, we have always eaten lokum, which goes to show that, when it comes to great food, nobody really cares about religion…

Cyprus music is also very similar to Greek and Arabic music, including some of the traditional instruments of one can find in Greece, such as the bouzouki, but also indigenous elements such as the Cyprus flute or “pithkiavlin.”

Places to see

Castle of Paphos in Cyprus
Paphos castle

Cyprus holidays may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of summer in the Mediterranean, but there is so much to see on the island, that a couple of weeks will hardly be enough.

 Dating as far back as the 10th millennium BC, the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the main highlights for historical sightseeing around the island. Other interesting sites include the archaeological sites of Paphos and the Painted Churches of the Troodos Region.

There is also a beautiful mountain named Olympus in Cyprus, although, apparently, the dwellings of the mythological gods are said to have been on the Mount Olympus located in Greece. As far as mythological site claims, Paphos is recognized as the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite.

Mount Olympus

The impressive Avakas Gorge, home to the endemic plant “centauria akamandis,” Cape Gkreko National Forest Park in the south-eastern coast and the beautiful Pitsilia area east of Mount Olympos are some of the most popular local havens of natural beauty.

According to Tripadvisor´s community ratings, the most popular attractions in Cyprus are Beauty Palace a famous spa in Peyla, Latchi Watersports Centre in Polis and Ride in Cyprus Ltd., which offers horseback riding tours around some of the regions most spectacular locations.

 

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