Cyprus, officially called the Republic of Cyprus, is an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is the third largest and most populous island in the Mediterranean, and lies south of Turkey; west of Syria; northwest of Lebanon, Israel and the Gaza Strip; north of Egypt; and southeast of Greece. Cyprus was also - most recently - the birthplace of Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis, but there are currently no plans to build a temple in his honour. Besides the cities of Cyprus, there are also many interesting towns and villages in Cyprus.
In the western and central part of the island, the Troodos mountain range marks the area and creates the mountainous backbone of Cyprus. This strategic location of Cyprus, at the crossroads of three continents, has defined its destiny and history over the centuries and millennia. The map below showing Cyprus and its neighbouring countries corresponds to the square diagram with the black outline of the global map above. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Cyprus is one of the leading holiday destinations in the Mediterranean.
They came to Cyprus because of problems in their then home country in four waves between the 8th and 13th centuries AD. A "golden green leaf cast into the sea and a land of "wild climate and volcanoes, in the words of the Greek Cypriot poet Leonidas Malenis, Cyprus comprises high mountains, fertile valleys and wide beaches. The rugged island of Cyprus resembles a saucepan, with the handle extending northeast from the main part. The Turkish Cypriot state made a unilateral declaration of independence in 1983 and adopted the name Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island supported by the Greek government. In general, driving in Cyprus is the opposite of the rest of Europe and the USA, so be very careful if you rent a car. Today, Cyprus is a popular tourist destination for visitors from Europe, favoured by honeymooners (as befits the legendary home of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love), birdwatchers attracted by the island's diversity of migratory species and other holidaymakers. Minority languages in CyprusThere are three recognised minorities in Cyprus: Armenians, Maronites and Latins.
Cyprus has successfully diversified its largely agricultural economy into one based on services, including a large tourism sector, and light manufacturing. In 2003 it founded the Peace and Democracy Movement in support of the UN Annan Plan for a united Cyprus within the European Union, and has also advocated a policy of greater political independence from Turkey.