(Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, Republic of Cyprus, Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti)
- Location : Middle East, In the extreme northeast corner of the Mediterranean, South of Turkey
- Capital: Nicosia
- Language: Turkish, Greek, Arabic
- Population: 775,927 km2
- Total Area: 9151 km2
- Currency: Euro
- Annual average liquor consumption per capita: 9.26 liters per year
- Annual Beer Consumption Per Capita: 3.25 liters per year
- The most popular drink: Cyprus Brandy, Keo Beer, Ouzo, Frappe
The Republic of Cyprus is a nation that has been known for centuries. This island nation is the home of some of the best wines in the world, not to talk of its scenic and jaw-dropping beauty. Once colonized by Britain, the nation became independent in 1960. The capital is the city of Nicosia and for years, the beautiful nation has been the bone of contention between Greece and Turkey. Today, the northern portion is made up of a state (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) recognized only by Turkey while the other portion is a Greek Cypriot state fully supported by Greece. In spite of all these, Cyprus is one of the most popular hotspots for tourists in the Mediterranean. Although located in the middle of a sea, Cyprus is not too far from many continental countries like Turkey, Syria, Egypt and Greece.
On the island, an overwhelming majority of the citizens (around four-fifths) are Greek Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots make up around 20% while there is a considerable population of Armenians and Maronite Christians who form a minority. Most of the Greek Cypriots belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, which is a unique body in the sense that it is not under the authority of any patriarch. Other Cypriots are Muslims, Jewish, Hindus, Sikhs or Baha’is. There are two official languages on the island –Greek and Turkish. Other languages are Armenian, English, French, Romani and Arabic (spoken by the Maronite Christians).
Like many of the island nations in the world, Cyprus has some of the finest beaches you can find anywhere, and over time, these beaches have been the hub of tourism in the Mediterranean. Apart from the beaches, there are numerous churches and monasteries toured by visitors. These buildings are eloquent testimonies to the religious nature and history of the people of the island. Some of the most churches and monasteries on the island are Kykkos Monastery and Asinou. There is also the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque, and according to some Muslims, is one of the holiest sites in Islam. You can also check out the breath-taking beauty of the Akamas National Park and the lakes in Larnaca.
One of the main reasons people call Cyprus the island of sin is this small town. It is the party place of Cyprus, which is strange if you consider not long ago it was little more than a fishing village. Today the fishermen have been replaced by a multitude of tourists, particularly British tourists in the late summer months who come to party at night and sun bathe during the day. If they are into water sports, the waters are perfect for surfing and wind surfing. Another strange fact about the town is that it is famous for being home to a sea monster- a cross between a porpoise and a dragon.
A Greek man called Teucer just after the Trojan Wars founded this now destroyed city. Quickly becoming a rich region, Salamis eventually became the country’s capital. When it was destroyed by a series of earthquakes, however, at the beginning of the 4th century, it had long lost its privileged status. Today tourists can walk around the ruins..
The Karpas is known as the most unspoiled region in the Mediterranean. The farmers living there are so down to earth that most of them still plough their fields with the help of horses- tractors are a novelty. For tourists the most impressive aspect of the region is the wild life. As well as hundreds of species of plants, including 22 endemic plants and numerous amphibians plodding through the wet soil, it is a migration route for eastern European birds on the way to Africa. An accessible place for Western Europeans in particular to spot some rare species.
Cypriot meals are typically Mediterranean –olive oil, fruits and vegetables are used generously. Apart from being tantalizing, Mediterranean foods are some of the healthiest in the world. In Cyprus, cheese is used in many of the foods, and it can be consumed on its own, as in halloumi. This is a type of cheese that is used in many of the meals on the island nation. In one of the meals I took, halloumi was chopped into bits and sprayed on pizza. Another nice meal on the island is tahini and is a mixture of sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic and vegetables.
When it comes to guzzling on the island, wines are the favorites. And where else can you get the finest wines if not the Mediterranean? There are also various local drinks like zivania and are widely sold.
©2012 World By Shotglass. All rights Reserved.
Special Thanks To Our Contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria) for story editing.
Simon Arms (Berlin, Germany) for story editing.