Cyprus is a country island with exquisite beauty and a remarkably rich past. Thousands of tourists visit Cyprus every year during the summer to enjoy the warmth of the ample sunshine and the healing, rejuvenating power of the crystal-clear Cypriot seas.
Still, the place has a lot more to share with the lucky ones spending time there. If you are intrigued to be one of them, keep on reading. Here, we present you five interesting facts about Cyprus you probably didn’t know!
Cyprus ranks 3rd in size and population in the Mediterranean Sea. To be more specific, Cyprus covers 9,251 km2 of land, and its population amounts to approximately 1,088,503 permanent residents, right behind Sicily and Sardinia.
It is remarkable that Sardinia, about three times larger than Cyprus, has around the same number of residents. Cyprus is a rather densely populated island, especially in the island’s capital, Nicosia.
An interesting -and sad- fact about Nicosia is that it is the only capital in the whole world that is split in half!
The northern part has been occupied by Turkish troops since 1974 when they invaded the island. The southern part belongs to the legally elected and internationally acknowledged government of the Republic of Cyprus.
The good thing about this issue is that local Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots have found a way to co-inhabit the island peacefully, forging strong business and trade relationships.
Recognized by the Guinness Book Committee, Commandaria, a dessert wine known for its unique aroma and flavour and produced in the south-west area of Cyprus, has a history of at least 5,000 years!
It was named after a branch of Crusaders, back in the 13th century, and rumour has it that King Richard the Lionheart himself drank it at his wedding and described as “The king of wines!”
You might have heard that France is the motherland of scents and perfumes, yet recent archaeological excavations revealed the oldest perfume bottle found in the world in the soil of Cyprus. The Italian archaeologists who made the discovery claim that their discovery is at least 4,000 years old, and it contained extracts from pine, coriander, almond, bergamot, anise and parsley.
This impressive discovery came not as a surprise to historians specialised in the region. Cyprus has been the most important trading centre of the eastern Mediterranean at least since the dawn of the bronze era.
In fact, there are only two states around the globe that have integrated their map on their flag - Cyprus and Kosovo. Cyprus’s flag is white with a copper-orangey coloured map of the entire island on the centre and two olive branches below it. The white colour and the two olive branches symbolising peace. It was designed in 1960, created by a Turkish-Cypriot art teacher. The terms of the competition forbade the use of the colours of the Greek and Turkish flags, as well as the depiction of the crescent and the cross.
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