General Information on Cyprus

 

Brief History

The history of Cyprus starts far back in 7000 B.C. In 1400 B.C., the first Greek came; they were merchants from Mycenae who started the Hellenization of the island. Later during the 12th and 11th centuries several waves of Greeks came on the island, bringing with them language, religion and customs.  
The country was conquered by Assyria, Egypt and Persia. Alexander the Great claimed it for part of his empire in 333 B.C. Cyprus became part of Roman Empire in 58 B.C. and Saint Paul spread Christianity.

Christianity was expelled when Ottoman troops invaded the island in 1571 and became a part of the Ottoman Empire. Under the Cyprus Convention in 1878, Britain assumes administration of the island although it remains part of the Ottoman Empire. However, in 1914 when the Ottomans entered the World War I on the side of Germans, Britain annexed the island. Later in 1923, Turkey relinquished all rights to Cyprus and in 1925 Cyprus was declared as a Crown colony. According to the Zurich Treaty, Cyprus became an independent Republic on 16th of August 1960.

On 20th of July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus once again and took control of 38% of the island. Since then, United Nations Peacekeeping forces have maintained a buffer zone between the two sides but the border was closed between the two parts until 2003. In 2004, Cyprus joined the European Community and the negotiations about the status of the island increased. Since then members of both communities have been able to cross the buffer zone at the opened checkpoints.

 

Government & Administration

The Head of the State is the President who is elected by the people for a five-year term in office. The President with the Council of Ministers (which is appointed by the President) is the main executive organ of Cyprus.

The House of Representatives is the legislative organ of the Republic and is elected also for a 5-years term. A multi-party system operates in Cyprus and the electoral system is based on proportional representation.

 

Religion
About 78% of the Cypriot population is Greek Orthodox; 18% is Muslim and there are other small religious groups which constitute 4% of population.

 

Language
The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. The Greek language predominates in the south part and Turkish in the north, occupied part.

The Greek Cypriot is a dialect of Greek that reflects the influence of myriad of nations that have ruled Cyprus over the years. Although it is based on Greek language, it was enriched with many loan words from Arabic, Turkish, Italian & English, including some from Ancient Greek.

English is spoken everywhere in the country as the country was a British colony from 1878 to 1960. Many Cypriots strive to perfect their English because of the many Greek Cypriots have lived and worked or been educated in the United Kingdom.

 

Climate 
Cyprus has a subtropical climate with a summer dry season. Summer stretches from mid-May to mid-October and features high temperature. The days of September and October are still sunny, toward the end October of evenings do tend to get cooler. The months of winter are from December to January. During February and March days are cool (daytime temperature around 19C and 9C at night) but steadily moderate.
If you would like to learn more about the climate in Cyprus, please check the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Cyprus

 

Public Holidays and Traditional Festivities

Most of traditional holidays in Cyprus are of religious origin. Shops, banks, and offices may also be closed on the eve of a holiday. The following days are public holidays:

 

2016/2017 Dates

Cyprus Independence Day – October 1, 2016
National Holiday – October 28, 2016
Christmas Day – December 25, 2016
New Year’s Day – January 1, 2017
Epiphany – January 6, 2017
Green Monday – February 27, 2017
National Holiday – March 25, 2017
National Holiday – April 1, 2017
Greek Orthodox Good Friday – April 14, 2017
Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday – April 16, 2017
Labour Day – May 1, 2017
Holy Spirit Monday – June 5, 2017
Assumption of Mary – August 15, 2017

 

Useful words

 

Driving in Cyprus

Cyprus follows the British driving system, so the driving wheel is located on the right hand side. Following the left side of the street and overtaking cars the right side.

 

Air Travel

Please note that you can use flights landing at Larnaca and Paphos airport. In case you find flights landing to Ercan airport you are highly recommended not to take them since the airport is not controlled by local or European laws and you may be receiving improper services.
 

 

Transfer from the airport to Nicosia 

From Larnaca and Paphos Airport to Nicosia, you can take the Kapnos Airport Shuttle, or a private taxi.

 

  • Kapnos Airport Shuttle

Tel.: +357 24008718

Website: http://www.kapnosairportshuttle.com/

 

  • The price for a private taxi is around €50 from Larnaca Airport.

 

Public Transport

Information about public transport can be found on the following links: 

Car Rental

Car rental information can be found here: http://www.cypruscarrental.com/

 

Electricity plugs in Cyprus

Please note that electrical sockets (outlets) are of British type. If your appliance's plug does not match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug electrical device in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. Adaptors are widely available.

Hospitals in Cyprus

Single European Emergency Call Number: 112

Below you can find the main district hospitals with 24-hour Accident & Emergency departments:

Nicosia: 22 603 000
Limassol: 25 801 100
Larnaca: 24 800 500
Paphos: 26 803 100
Famagusta: 23 200 000

Pharmacies
Pharmacies are open during the day as other shops.
The information about late-night and emergency pharmacies is available on the following numbers:

Nicosia: 90 901 412
Limassol: 90 901 415
Larnaca: 90 901 414
Paphos: 90 901 416
Famagusta: 90 901 413

Police

Telephone numbers for police headquarters in each town are given below. 

Nicosia: 22 802 020
Limassol: 25 805 050
Larnaca: 24 630 200
Paphos: 26 806 060
Famagusta: 23 803 200

 

Smoking

Smoking in public places is forbidden in Cyprus as in most of other European Union member states.
 

Telephone services

Cyprus phone numbers have eight digits, the first two of which are the area codes:

22 - Nicosia
25 - Limassol
24 - Larnaca
25 - Lemesos
26 – Paphos
Mobile phone numbers start with 99, 96, 97, or 95.
Some new business numbers are prefixed 77.

To call Cyprus from abroad, dial 00 357 followed by the 8-digit number.

Time

Cyprus operates on Eastern European Time (EET), which is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. In spring, clocks are put forward one hour to Eastern European Summer Time, and in autumn they go back to EET.

Money

Cyprus adopted the Euro in 2008, when the currency replaced the Cyprus Pound.

 

Banks Opening Hours
May to September:
Monday to Friday: 8:15 -13:30

October to April:
Monday: 8:30-13:30 & 15:15- 16:45
Tuesday to Friday: 8:30 - 13:30

 

 

Public services

September-June

Mo, Tu, Th, Fr

07:30-14:30

 

Wed

07:30-14:30, 15:00-18:00

June-August

Monday-Friday

07:30-14:30