Cyprus lies in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, off the coast of Turkey and Syria. It is often said that it has the sunniest and mildest climate of all the islands in the Mediterranean. It is full of contrasts: The Troodos mountains, covered with pine forests where you can find respite in the summer heat, while coastal beaches are always bathed in sunlight. The numerous small villages are very well preserved and look the same as they did many years ago, adjacent to the modern resorts, designed for tourists from almost all over the world.
The island has a centuries-long history, from the Neolithic period to the bronze age, Hellenistic, Roman and all the way to the Byzantine and Venetian. For several hundred years it was under Turkish rule. In 1878 the government of Cyprus was taken over by the British, turning it into a colony. It regained independence only in 1960, but in the 1970s there was a Turkish invasion, the effect is lasting to this day: a division of the island between the independent part and the other half under Turkish occupation, which created a separate state.
Numerous monuments reflect the turbulent history of Cyprus. Tourists interested in history can visit many interesting places, including the remains of settlements from the second millennium B.C such as: theaters carved into the rock from Greek and Roman times, fortresses from the time of the Crusades and Byzantine monasteries.
Most guests come here because of the great beaches and beautiful weather. As calculated by an annual average of over 300 days of sunshine and the maritime climate of the island makes the summer heat not as intense as the south of Spain or Italy. The most popular beaches are Coral Beach and Agia Napa. Virtually every beachfront hotel provides equipment for all water sports: windsurfing, kayaking, diving, water skiing and sailing.
You can also explore the interior of the island, wandering one of the dozens of trails specially prepared by the Cyprus Tourism Bureau.
The main centers in Cyprus are:
Nicosia – the capital of the state, a city with a 1000-year history. It has a center with the old walled city built by the Venetians in the sixteenth century in the shape of a star. There are many museums including The Cyprus Archaeological Museum, Jewelry, Mint Museum of Cyprus and the Byzantine Museum. The city is today divided by the Green Line, patrolled by UN troops, part-Cypriot and Turkish.
Limassol – the second largest city of Cyprus, is the center of the wine industry and a bustling seaside resort. Two of the most famous festivals on the island are held here: Carnival (famous for the fanciful creations of participants) and Wine (in September). The city was created from the merger of two ancient settlements Amathus and Kourion. In both cites archaeological digs are carried out and in Kourion a theater is preserved in excellent condition, which today is the setting for summer concerts and performances. In the Middle Ages in Limassol, King Richard the Lionheart married a Spanish princess and proclaimed her Queen of England. This historical city is a remnant of the Crusades and features a wonderfully preserved medieval castle Kolossi.
Paphos – is the capital of the western part of the island. The central point is its beautiful fishing port near Fort of Paphos and the surrounding tourist district. Legend says that it was here that the goddess Aphrodite emerged from the sea foam. A huge rock called the Hellenic Rock is located in the mythical place of her birth.
The most worthy sights to see in the city are the famous mosaics from the Roman UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Paphos there is also a column on which St. Paul was scourged during one of his first evangelistic missions.
The Troodos Mountains are a great contrast to the coastal Paphos and Limassol. The highest peak is Mount Olympus with a height of 1952 meters above sea level in the mountains where the air is fresh and slightly cooler. Here you can take a break from the intense sunny beaches and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can also visit 9 Byzantine churches inscribed on the UNESCO list as well as numerous villages where time seems to flow more slowly and the people are very hospitable. Each village produces a different product, which it is famous for, eg. Fruit, sweets, wine. In the mountains are many paths to traverse both on foot and on mountain bikes.