A Guide to Cyprus - The Country
Information kindly provided by Living in
the Sun - http://www.livinginthesun.com
| The Country
country in the Mediterranean. Climate, sea, mountains,
culture, history, and Cyprus properties are amazing
value for money The island really does offer everything
at a price you can afford. Your income is taxed
less, and the things you buy with it cost less!
If you have ever dreamt of Living In The Sun, Cyprus
really is the place where you can make it come true.
The name Cyprus comes from the Greek word for copper, as
it was once a source of the mineral. It’s the Isle of
Aphrodite, where after being created in the sea she
emerged as the Goddess of Love to step ashore on the
southwest corner of the island.
Cyprus became a full
member of the EU in 2004, and it’s anticipated
that after that date membership will increase
demand and prices for holiday and retirement
homes. The past has seen a huge rise in property sales to
many foreigners, especially the British, buying
now to beat the forecast property boom.
. Not only do you get the lifestyle, the
climate, and the sheer pleasure of living there,
but also perhaps to see the value of the property
appreciate considerably. Land prices have risen
recently as Developers are acquiring large plots
and holding them awaiting permission to develop.
All the signs suggest that there has never been a
better time to invest and buy property in Cyprus
– you too can then enjoy Living In The Sun.
The island is beautiful and picturesque,
offering sandy beaches, cliffs, rocky coves, and mountains
that provide skiing in winter. The
mountains are forest clad volcanic hills, with deep valleys
and fertile plains. The highest mountain is inevitably called
Mount Olympus, at 6401 ft, and the mountains enjoy a cooler
climate, and the topmost peaks offer 2-3 meters of snow often
lasting until April. There are excellent planned walks and
mountain bike trails through spectacular scenery.
The south coast contains the main
tourist areas, and behind the beaches and hotels are the
foothills with glorious views of the sea just a short
drive from the amenities. The northern coast tends more
towards cliffs and coves – some good diving and snorkeling
– and is quieter. The water temperature is
around 63 in winter and 73 in summer.
Larnaca offers good value - close to
an airport, with prices less than at the other end of the
island. Further west is Ayia Napa, the nightclub resort,
but nearby are Protaras and Paralimni which offer some
good properties. Paphos remains the absolute favourite,
where most people want to be - lots of facilities,
antiquities and property choices. To the north of paphos
is Polis - a superb bay with mountains at either end which
is a quiet retreat, with little development - well worth
It is 3750 sq. miles in area, 140
miles long and 60 miles deep. It’s 40m from Turkey, 59
from Syria, and 236 from Egypt, and there is a range of
boat connections from the island.
The mornings are deliciously warm – straight from bed to a breakfast
in the sunshine on the terrace where another beautifully warm
morning awaits. You can sit in the sun watching the first sailboats
leaving the harbour to catch the offshore breezes, and start
planning your day. This is the life!
Cyprus has one of the healthiest climates
on the planet. 340 days of sunshine every year, and warm days
of 16 to30 degrees from winter to summer. Most rainfall occurs
between November and March, and the wettest month is generally
January, which might have 10 days of rain. Umbrellas get dusty
rather than wet!
Between May and September there is
normally about 300 hours sunshine per month, and often no
rain in July and August. Solar heating is becoming popular
as a result.
(The time is 2 hours ahead of the UK.)
There are two international airports, and plenty of
flights, so getting there is easy, and there are flight
bargains to be found. Over 30 airlines fly to Cyprus, so
there is always plenty of capacity. The airports are at
Larnaca and Paphos, and Limassol has a deep-water port.
Cyprus is the centre for cruises in this part of the
world, with Greece, Egypt and Israel all reachable.
British Airways is to fly to Paphos - a twice weekly service
from Gatwick from October 12 - from £159 return. Helios Airways
are expanding their services at very good prices - the contact
for more information on fares and availability is their office
in London on 08707502750.
You drive on the left, and a visitor from the UK holding a
valid driving license from his country or an international
one is allowed to drive. There are 3k miles of surfaced roads
and 3.7k un-surfaced, and in the mountains a four-wheel drive
is advisable. There is no railway system.
Taxis run from town to town on a
shared basis in stretch limos carrying up to 8 people. (tel
Petrol is inexpensive and can be
found over 24 hours in the card-operated stations. Other
stations operate 0600-1800, and until 1500 on Saturdays.
On Sundays and bank holidays only about 10% are open, on a
Cyprus has an extremely low crime rate – a sixth of the
European average - it’s a very safe and law abiding
place to visit and to live. The law is based on the same
principles as English law, with most laws translated into
English. It’s also a pollution free environment, apart
from the centre of the major towns. When many countries
are seeing crime rates rising, particularly street crime,
Cyprus is a safe haven where you can life without these
fears. Theft is very uncommon, and everyone feels very
secure on the island.
English is taught at most schools for two years, and given
the long association with Britain, there is a very warm
welcome for British visitors and residents. Most road
signs are bi-lingual, and there are English newspapers and
radio stations. Satellite TV is, of course, available. You
feel right at home here very quickly, and integration into
the community is quick and easy.
|Flora and Fauna
Cyprus collects wildlife of all kinds from 3 continents.
There are over 1350 species of flowering plants. 90 plants
are rated as only being found on the island, and to some
extent evolution has done the same for animals – there
are races of birds, insect and shrews that are only found
Butterflies are abundant, and the very
exotic Swallowtail is to be found here. The plant life does
contain exotic species introduced by humans – palms, cacti,
mimosa, and citrus trees. Food plants include avocado, prickly
pear, tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, citrus and pomegranate.
Lying astride the migration routes, Cyprus
is a popular destination with birders at those times. There
are still a number of birds of prey to be seen. Though scarcer
than they were. There are Hoopoe, alpine swifts, bee-eaters,
and spectacularly, flamingos wintering on the island.
Only 16 mammals, including 8 types of
bat, exist. There are more reptiles, and there are 2
poisonous varieties. These are shy and retiring, and avoid
humans if they can – so it’s worth wearing stout
footwear in areas where they can’t be seen. Only one
(the blunt nosed viper) is really a risk and this is quite
are stocks of anti-venom held in most chemists in the
event of a real emergency, but it’s probably less of a
risk than the Adder is in England.
Sea turtles breed on Cyprus – the
fisheries department runs a camp to protect nests and
fledglings. Dolphins can be sighted off the north coast,
but not commonly.
The largest mammal is the Mouflon, a
form of sheep, widely used as a symbol of the island.
Otherwise it’s very like England though the detail of
species varies a little – e.g. the hedgehogs have long
Estimated at 750,000, 85% belongs to the Greek community,
with 3% foreign residents. Greek is the official language, though English is
widely spoken and understood, and regularly used in
commerce and government. The capital, Nicosia, lies inland
whilst the next three main towns are all on the coast -
Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. Half of the population live
in the six major towns. Outside of these the quaint
villages can offer some stunning locations to live in a
more relaxed style.
The people are warm and welcoming,
and visitors and residents alike find themselves quickly
making friends and joining the community. Spend time in
the local Taverna and you’ll be a local in no time at
The history goes all the way back to the Neolithic age.
Its position has made it almost a civilisation roundabout,
with all the major empires having an interest in Cyprus at
some time or other. It has important archaeological and
historical sites that map its long history.
8500 BC life is evidenced by some
cave dwellings near Liopetri, with the bronze and copper
age seeing much development and contact with the main
cultures nearby. 1200 BC saw the Greeks arrive and give
birth to the Hellenic tradition on the island.
The story is a long and rich one.
Persia was effectively the landlord for a long period,
until Alexander the Great defeated them and Cyprus became
part of his empire. On his death if fell to one of his
generals, who ruled Egypt. Around 30 BC the Romans
There followed a period under
Byzantine control, and dispute between Christendom and
Islam saw Richard the Lionheart capture Cyprus in 1191. He
sold it to the Frankish King of Jerusalem, and the franks
rule lasted until 1489. It was the turn of the Venetians
who saw it as an important stop on the Silk Route to
China. But the Turks conquered in1571.
In 1878 Cyprus was leased to Britain,
and when Turkey entered the war in 1914 on the side of
Germany, Britain annexed Cyprus and turned it into a crown
Colony. Turkey surrendered all claims to the island in the
Lausanne Treaty that it concluded with Greece in 1923.
It became independent in 1960. Problems between Greek and
Turkish Cypriots arose, and when a coup took place, Turkey
invaded, and effectively annexed the northern part of the
country in the world other than Turkey recognises the
illegal state in the north, and this situation has
remained frozen since then. There are UN peacekeepers
along the green line separating the two areas. Though
Cyprus makes continual efforts through political lobbying
to try to get the island unified, it remains a complex
situation with no easy solution.
The Cyprus pound is supported by a good banking system,
with about five major banks. These all adhere to the
British method of banking. Weights and measures are
metric. There is a well-developed insurance industry on
the island, which can handle all types of cover, including
Cyprus property cover which covers earthquakes.. The Euro
will become the Cypriot currency in due course.
There are international schools of a high standard in Paphos
These are of a high standard, and are accessible to
everyone. Paphos has a new General Hospital, well equipped
and up to date with both medical and surgical facilities.
Private treatment is available also. The cost in
government hospitals is not high, and a consultation with
one of the many competent doctors, specialists and
surgeons in Cyprus will cost around CYP 7.00.
An appendectomy would cost you £55
for the operation, and a daily hospitalisation rate of £10-£18.
25% extra pays the anesthetist and another 10% the
expenses. A stay in a private clinic would be nearer £35
per day. All drugs and diagnostic procedures are charges
separately. Whilst these charges are relatively modest, a
health insurance policy may be a good idea.