It’s Greek to Me! 10 Little-Known Facts about Cyprus

You might know a handful of facts about the island of Cyprus, such as its location in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, or the fact that it has been under the rule of many different nations during its long history.  But there’s probably plenty you don’t know about this beautiful island, and here are just a few fun facts that may interest you.

lemesos tranquility cyprus

  1. It’s known as the Island of Love.  This island has a long history of love.  It was thought to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, Antony gave it to Cleopatra as a gift, and Richard the Lionheart fell in love with a woman there, prompting him to put the Crusades on hold for a year while he stayed with her.
  2. Cyprus isn’t part of Greece.  Although Greek is one of two recognized languages in Cyprus (the other is Turkish) and the island is on the outskirts of the Greek isles, it isn’t actually part of Greece (and it hasn’t been for hundreds of years, thanks to wave after wave of conquerors sweeping through).  In 1960, it became the independent nation known as the Republic of Cyprus after breaking away from British rule.
  3. It’s split into two territories.  Because the population of the island is split between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the geography is also split, with the former inhabiting the southern portion of the island and the latter residing in the north.
  4. It’s at a crossroads.  This easterly island is often referred to as the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and visitors will see influences from all of these regions.
  5. The summer is eight months long.  The sub-tropical climate of Cyprus is fairly typical of the Mediterranean, but the summers there last from April to November, with temperatures staying close to 75 degrees Fahrenheit all summer long.
  6. Cyprus gets snow.  Although the winter in Cyprus is relatively short and most of the island sees only rain (and temperatures in the 60s), visitors during the winter months can see snow on the Troodos Mountains, which include the famed Mount Olympus.
  7. The biodiversity is extreme.  It is estimated that due to the unique climate and topography of Cyprus, the species of animals, flora, and fauna that thrive there numbers in the thousands, and it historically included sea “monsters”.
  8. It has its own cheese.Cyprus is the birthplace of halloumi cheese, a mixture of goat and sheep milk that is unique in that it relies on no acid (or acid-producing bacteria) for preparation.  Try it fried, grilled, or served fresh.
  9. The wine is old.  Some of the vineyards on Cyprus are considered to be the oldest in the world to continuously produce their wares.  Whether this means their wine is more masterful is for you to decide, so tip a glass to your good health.
  10. Visitors are welcome!  The people of Cyprus are generally considered to display an old-world sense of hospitality.  So don’t hesitate to book a room at a local B&B or stay at the Cyprus Villas during your trip.  You’re bound to come back again and again.
This was written by Carol Montrose, a contributor for Aphrodite Hills and writes about all things Cyprus.

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