Lying on the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, the island of Cyprus is known worldwide as an island boasting with cultural heritage and a turbulent history originating as far back as 9000 years.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean followed by Sicily and Sardinia. The island is slightly less than ten thousand square kilometers. The beautiful island is located at the crossroad of three main continents, thus providing easy access to Europe, Asia and Africa.
Cyprus has proven its worth through its long history, and is still considered a vital financial and trading hub throughout the world. During the Bronze Age, Cyprus served as a thriving trading centre connecting the East with the West. Throughout its existence, the island created a connection with a plethora of cultures, mainly due to its beneficial location. It is a fact that the island’s historical importance and location outweigh its size.
The island’s rich natural beauty and strategic location was the reason the island was conquered by so many nations in the past. Cyprus was under the rule of a manifold of conquerors including the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, and British to name a few. Each of these nations left behind traces of their time on the island, such as ancient Venetian castles, Roman palaces, Byzantine churches, Medieval forts, Ottoman mosques and much more which still stand on the island as testimony of its past. Although the island suffered many invasions, its people managed to maintain their Greek identity, origin, heritage and background.
The capital city of the island is Nicosia, located on the central-east part of the island. The city is home to approximately 330,000 people and is by far the largest city in Cyprus. Limassol is the second largest city, lying on the south-west coast and is home to approximately 240,000 inhabitants. Limassol is also famed for being the maritime and shipping hub of the island. Limassol, being an incredibly developed and coastal city, attracts a multiplicity of tourists annually. Larnaca is the third largest town, located by the southern shoreline of the island and home to about 195,000 inhabitants. Larnaca is also popular amongst tourists as it is home to the island’s international airport and known as a developing tourist centre. The smallest city of the island, Paphos, lies on the western coastline of the island and has a population of about 92,000 inhabitants. Paphos is especially known for its tourist industry and archaeological sites. The city is undeniably the heart of culture and history.
Cyprus follows a democratic government system, where every five years elections are held and the citizens of the island vote and appoint the president. The House of Representatives comprises of 56 members, who are also appointed through election and serve a five-year term. The legal system on the island is based upon the European Union and English legislation. The island is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Council of Europe.