Cyprus Travel Information

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Cyprus Conservation Foundation

Facts About Cyprus

Background: Independence from the UK was approved in 1960 with constitutional guarantees by the Greek Cypriot majority to the Turkish Cypriot minority. In 1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled almost 40% of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", but it is recognized only by Turkey. UN-led talks on the status of Cyprus resumed in December 1999 to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement.
Government type: republic
note:  a disaggregation of the two ethnic communities inhabiting the island began following the outbreak of communal strife in 1963; this separation was further solidified after the Turkish intervention in July 1974 after a Greek junta-based coup attempt gave the Turkish Cypriots de facto control in the north; Greek Cypriots control the only internationally recognized government; on 15 November 1983 Turkish Cypriot "President" Rauf DENKTASH declared independence and the formation of a "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey; both sides publicly support a settlement based on a federation (Greek Cypriot position) or confederation (Turkish Cypriot position).
Capital: Nicosia
Currency: Greek Cypriot area: 1 Cypriot pound = 100 cents; Turkish Cypriot area: 1 Turkish lira (TL) = 100 kurus

Geography of Cyprus

Location: Middle East, island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 33 00 E
Area:
total: 9,250 sq km (of which 3,355 sq km are in the Turkish Cypriot area)
land: 9,240 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 648 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: temperate, Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool, winters
Terrain: central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Olympus 1,951 m
Natural resources: copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 13%
other: 70% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 390 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: moderate earthquake activity
Environment - current issues: water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island's largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note: Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia).

More Geography

People of Cyprus

Greek and Turkish Cypriots share many customs but maintain distinct identities based on religion, language, and close ties with their respective motherlands. Greek is predominantly spoken in the south, Turkish in the north. English is widely used. Cyprus has a well-developed system of primary and secondary education. The majority of Cypriots earn their higher education at Greek, Turkish, British, or American universities. Private colleges and state-supported universities have been developed by both the Turkish and Greek communities.

Population: 780,133 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  22.95% 
15-64 years:  66.26% 
65 years and over:  10.79%
Population growth rate: 0.59
Birth rate: 13.08 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.65 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 7.89 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  76.89 years
male:  74.6 years
female:  79.3 years 
Total fertility rate: 1.93 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Cypriot(s)
adjective: Cypriot
Ethnic groups: Greek 78% (99.5% of the Greeks live in the Greek Cypriot area; 0.5% of the Greeks live in the Turkish Cypriot area), Turkish 18% (1.3% of the Turks live in the Greek Cypriot area; 98.7% of the Turks live in the Turkish Cypriot area), other 4% (99.2% of the other ethnic groups live in the Greek Cypriot area; 0.8% of the other ethnic groups live in the Turkish Cypriot area).
Religions: Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, Maronite, Armenian Apostolic, and other 4%
Languages: Greek, Turkish, English
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 98%
female: 91% (1987 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Cyprus > Map Economy History