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Cyprus, the island

Cyprus may be a small country, but it's a large island - the third largest in the Mediterranean. And it's an island with a big heart - an island that gives its visitors a genuine welcome and treats them as friends.

With its spectacular scenery and enviable climate, it's no wonder that Aphrodite chose the island as her playground, and since then, mere mortals have been discovering this 'land fit for Gods' for themselves.

Cyprus is an island of beauty and a country of contrasts. Cool, pine-clad mountains are a complete scene-change after golden sun-kissed beaches; tranquil, timeless villages are in striking contrast to modern cosmopolitan towns; luxurious beachside hotels can be exchanged for large areas of natural, unspoilt countryside; yet in Cyprus all distances are easily manageable, mostly on modern roads and highways - with a secondary route or two for the more adventurous.

Most important of all, the island offers peace of mind. At a time when holidays are clouded by safety consciousness, a feeling of security prevails everywhere since the crime level is so low as to be practically non-existent.

Few countries can trace the course of their History over 10.000 years, but in approximately 8.000 B.C. the island of Cyprus was already inhabited and going through its Neolithic Age.

The island's strategic position, its copper deposits and its timber attracted the first Greeks who came to the island over 3.000 years ago at the end of the Trojan wars. They settled down bringing in with them and establishing the Greek identity, language and civilisation. Over the centuries Cyprus came under the sway of various rulers including the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, the successors to Alexander the Great and the Romans, before Cyprus became part of the Byzantine Empire. Later came the Crusaders, the Frankish Lusignans and Venetians, Ottomans and British. Cyprus won its independence in 1960, for the first time in 3.500 years, but the Greek identity of language and culture has been retained. In July 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and since then 37% of the island in the North is being illegally occupied by Turkish troops who acted in violation of all principles governing international relations.

From the topmost point of Mount Olympos to the coasts and sweeping plains, Cyprus is nature's island. Many exquisite wild flowers grow in splendid profusion in springtime. Trees, shrubs and plants luxuriate in the Mediterranean sunshine all year round. Bright bougainvillea blazes vividly against white walls, reflecting its splendour in the crystal clear waters.

Cyprus is also prized for its bird life, and the migratory birds that use the country as a stopover are eagerly awaited between seasons.

Due to the wonderful climate and variety of scenery, the island offers endless opportunities for nature lovers and outdoor sports fans. Activities such as angling, mountain-hiking, hiking, gliding, golf, sea sports and yachting are but a few of the special activity holidays that the island offers. 

With so many possibilities, Cyprus is a bird watcher's paradise, an archaeologist's heaven, a photographer's dream.

 

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