All about Cyprus: information about the country

All about Cyprus: information about the country

After the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western, the Byzantine period begins in the history of Cyprus (330-1191 AD). During this period, Cyprus became part of the Eastern Roman state - Byzantium. A new earthquake that happened in the 4th century AD ., completely destroyed the main cities of the island. Devastated, they were rebuilt, and the capital of the island became the city of Constantinia, located near Salamis. During the IV-V centuries, the largest royal churches were rebuilt here.

The Age of the Royal Churches

In 488 BC. ... after the grave of the Apostle Barnabas and his relics, as well as the handwritten Gospel of Matthew were discovered in Salamis, the emperor Zinon grants the Cypriot church complete freedom and autonomy. The archbishop is endowed with imperial rights: instead of a staff, have a scepter, wear the red robe of the emperor and sign documents with red ink.

During this era, many old Christian royal churches were built, mainly with three and five naves, the ruins of which are found throughout Cyprus. Among them, it is necessary to highlight the three-nave royal churches of the Holy Trinity in Yalus, the Apostle Barnabas, the Virgin Mary in Canakaria, St. Heraclidius in Tamassa, St. George in Piegia, as well as five-aisled churches - St. Epiphanius in Constantinia and Holy Resurrection in Lower Paphos.

A sufficient number of mosaic paintings have come down to us from these times. These paintings are unique both in their artistic performance and in their figurative content. Throughout the Byzantine Empire, an extremely small number of mosaic works of this era have survived due to the complete destruction of human images that followed during the years of the reign of the Inquisition.

The rise of the monarchy and the Crusades

In 647 A.D. ... Arabs, led by Moavia, make their first foray into Cyprus. For more than three hundred years, Arabs and pirates ravaged Cyprus, and in 965 AD. ... Emperor Phoca liberates Cyprus, driving out the conquerors from its territory. After the expulsion of the Arabs, the island again became part of the Byzantine Empire, and Nicosia was proclaimed the capital of Cyprus.

The ruling dynasty of the Komnenos was especially interested in strengthening and protecting the island. After Asia Minor was occupied by Muslims, Cyprus became one of the fortified points of Byzantium. At this time, the castles of St. Hilarion, Vufavento and Cadaras were built on the Pentadaktylo mountain range for the purpose of protection and defense. In addition, such numerous monasteries as the Virgin of Kykkos, St. John Chrysostom, the monastery of Maher, St. Neophytos, St. Nicholas of the Intercession, Mother of God Araki, Asinos and others were founded.

The emergence of many new monasteries proves the flourishing of the monarchy on the island and shows the strong religious feeling of its inhabitants. Among the believers, the Mother of God was most revered, and most of the monasteries were dedicated to her.

In 1191, King Richard the Lionheart of England takes part in the Third Crusade. One of the ships on which the sister of King Berengaria of Navarre and other guests were sailing, was wrecked near Limassol.

Cyprus has long been considered an island of beauty and, at the same time, an island of contrasts. After all, it is not for nothing that Aphrodite was born near Cyprus - it is difficult to imagine a more suitable place for the appearance of the goddess of love. Cyprus has an amazing combination of cypress-covered mountain peaks, at the foot of which there are world-famous beaches with golden sand and modern skyscrapers located in the center of the island. There are many picturesque resorts in Cyprus, in this article we will talk about 4 of the most popular ones. Let's start with Ayia Napa.

Ayia Napa

For several decades Ayia Napa has been able to make its way from a small fishing village to one of the most popular resorts in Cyprus. Ayia Napa has secured a leading place among the resorts of the island thanks to its comfortable climate, amazing beaches and well-thought-out infrastructure. The name of the resort, translated from Greek, the official language of Cyprus, means “sacred forest”, because according to legend, there was once an uninhabited forest on the site of modern Ayia Napa. One of the local residents went there to hunt and accidentally saw a cave in the forest, in which he discovered the icon of the Mother of God. A small fishing village, from which the brave hunter was born, was named Ayia Napa, after the forest in which the find was made.

The resort is famous not only for its picturesque beaches, but also for the many festivals and celebrations that are held here just during the summer season, i.e. from June to September. The most famous holidays are the Day of Light, the Carnival before the Maslenitsa, Easter, Green Monday and, of course, the enchanting festival of Ayia Napa, which is held at the very end of the summer season. The resort provides excellent opportunities for recreation for both adults and children. Adults can go windsurfing, golfing or diving. Children, for sure, will be interested in the Dinosaur Park, which opened quite recently, or in the WaterWorld water park, which, since 1996, has been constantly expanding with new attractions.

Local authorities are concerned about the environmental situation in the world, therefore in the center of Ayia Napa it is forbidden to travel by car, only by bicycles. Leaving this colorful resort, we strongly advise you to visit a small village called Liopetri, which is located near Ayia Napa. This, at first glance, unremarkable village is famous throughout Cyprus for its masters of weaving baskets and dishes. These items are inexpensive and make a great souvenir or gift.


Larnaca is the largest port and the third largest city in Cyprus, which, moreover, is one of the most ancient cities in the world (for some reason, this fact is hardly mentioned anywhere). The history of the city dates back to the pre-Christian era, when Noah's grandson founded it. Then the present Larnaca was called Kition, and its prosperity was due to the Phoenicians, who, being skillful traders, immediately calculated the huge prospects that promised a good location of the city. It would be wrong to say that the gods of Olympus have always shown favor to the inhabitants of Larnaca. This is by no means the case, because throughout its history, the city has suffered many earthquakes and enemy invasions. But in the first century BC, an event took place that largely determined the current appearance of one of the most popular resorts among tourists in Cyprus.

We are talking about the appearance of Saint Lazarus in Larnaca (at that time called Citium). Lazarus became the first bishop of the city and preached Christianity. The first thing Lazarus did was to build a church in which he could preach to the parishioners. The church, built by Saint Lazarus, conducted large-scale charitable activities (built schools and hospitals), helped the residents of the city during the period of hostilities from the Ottoman Empire. Although no one ever saw a smile on the face of Lazarus, but with his deeds he kindled them on the faces of those in need. The Church of St. Lazarus, where his relics are kept, has long been a place of pilgrimage for Christians from all over the world and is the first attraction that we advise you to visit in this city.

If you like to walk in the fresh air, then there is no better place in Larnaca than the Finikoudes promenade. This is the informal city center. It is always crowded here in the evenings. A little tip: we do not recommend that you appear here at a time when the Cypriots celebrate the holiday of Kataklysmos, because, according to tradition, they throw everyone into the sea who falls into their hands. Here, on Finikoudes, you can see a bust of the famous philosopher Zeno, a native of Larnaca. The most popular natural attraction in Larnaca is the Salt Lake. According to legend, Saint Lazarus, walking around the island in hot weather, felt thirsty, but the owner of the local vineyards refused to give Lazarus a bunch of grapes, saying that the basket contained not grapes, but salt. Angry with a greedy merchant (according to one version it was a woman), Lazarus turned all the vineyards into a salt lake. In winter, the lake becomes a habitat for pink flamingos. Hala Sultan Hekke Mosque, which is one of the most important shrines for Muslims, is located here, on the shores of the Salt Lake.

Lovers of diving will also be delighted with Larnaca, because not far from the coast there is a "cemetery" of sunken ships. Two vessels are especially popular with divers: Her Majesty's ship Cricket and the ferry Zenobia (almost 200 m long). Lovers of classic relaxation can go to Mackenzie Beach, which, by the way, is located near Finikoudes.


At the beginning of the article, we mentioned that Aphrodite was born near the coast of Cyprus. To be more precise, it happened near Paphos. This city, like Larnaca, was destroyed many times throughout its history, but each time the inhabitants of Paphos managed to revive it. Particularly difficult times began for this port city, when the Cypriot authorities, fearing earthquakes, moved the capital of Cyprus to Famagusta. This course of events had an extremely negative impact on the funding of Paphos, which has now been significantly reduced. As a result, the once flourishing city began to gradually turn into an inconspicuous village. The fate of Paphos would have remained unenviable if it had not been for 1974, when the Turks occupied the island, as a result of which Famagusta and Kyrenia were isolated. This forced the local authorities to turn their attention back to the forgotten Paphos.

As in most port cities, in Paphos, the main attractions are, of course, the beaches, the most famous of which are Coral Bay and Lera. As well as near Larnaca, there is also a "graveyard" of ships off the coast of Paphos, which will be especially appreciated by diving enthusiasts. The main historical and architectural sights of this picturesque city are located in its old part. We especially recommend you to visit the Castle of Forty Columns, the Catacombs of Saint Solomon, the Odeon amphitheater, the archaeological park of Kato Paphos, as well as see the mosaics of the House of Dionysus.

Haven't you been to Cyprus yet? We will help you get the right first impression of Cyprus in just 10 minutes! It's fun and useful!

The Republic of Cyprus (Greek Kipros, tour Kibris, English Cyprus) is an island state in the Mediterranean Sea, a member of the European Union since 2004

Political structure: The Republic of Cyprus is a presidential republic, has been a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004, and since January 1, 2008, it is also included in the euro zone (the national currency, the Cypriot pound, was fixed at the rate of 0.585 pounds per Euro). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a republic unrecognized by the world community (recognized only by Turkey).

Territorial structure: After the 1974 conflict, the once unified state of Cyprus is divided into two parts: the southern one, the Republic of Cyprus (57.6%), and the northern one, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (36%). To prevent conflict, UN peacekeeping troops were deployed to the island. Until now, they occupy a buffer zone separating hostile territories (about 3.7% of the island's territory). Another 2.7% of the territory was retained by Great Britain after Cyprus gained independence in 1960; now there are two British military bases there.

Official languages: Greek (RK) and Turkish (TRNC).

National currency: Euro (RK) and Turkish Lira (TRNC).

Population: 839 thousand people (RK, 2011 census) + 265 thousand people (TRNC, 2006 census).

Capital: Nicosia is the only (last) divided capital in the world. South Nicosia (Greek Lefkosia) is the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, North Nicosia (tur. Lefkosa - Lefkosha) is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The green line dividing the two states, guarded by UN forces, runs right through the historic city center.

One of the main items of national income is tourism.

The name of the island of Cyprus comes from the Latin cuprum (copper). The island has historically been famous for its copper mining and industrial production of copper products.

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