18 Interesting Facts about Cyprus 06/02/2018


Cyprus is a beautiful island off the Mediterranean and has a lot to offer tourists. From clean beaches to mummified cats, here are 18 interesting facts about Cyprus.

Taxi drivers in Cyprus do not give change. They keep change as a tip. So be sure to give exact change if you do not wish the driver.

English Royal Weddings are usually hosted in England. However, one Royal Wedding took place in Cyprus on May 12, 1191: King Richard the Lionheart and Queen Joanna. It took place at Limassol Castle and marks the only foreign venue at which an English Royal Wedding has been hosted.

Cyprus is nicknamed the Island of Love. This is because in Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was born and rose from the foam near a rock off what's now called Aphrodite's Beach near Paphos. Waves breaking over the rock create pillars of foam that islanders say look just like the goddess herself. It is for this reason as well that Cyprus is also known as the playground of the gods.

Speaking of Paphos, the whole town is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is due to the number of historical things you can see in the town such as the Paphos Mosaics, Sanctuary of Aphrodite, and the main attraction, The Tombs of the Kings. Although no kings are buried (just people of high society), its architecture is beautiful. Parekklisia also has a famous burial as the remains of the oldest known pet cat with its master can be found there be dating back about 9,500 years.

The evidence of Cyprus being called the island of love can be further backed up with the fact that Cyprus have the oldest known wine and perfume. The Cypriot dessert wine Commandaria is was discovered 5000 years in the foothills of the Troodos mountains. King Richard the Lionheart of England at his wedding called it "the wine of kings and the king of wines." It is still in production with over 50 wineries where you can taste it. The world’s oldest perfume was founded in Pyrgos more than 4000 years. The scents included lavender, bay, rosemary, pine, and coriander and are kept in tiny translucent bottles.

Its national symbol is a (very shy) sheep: It's the national symbol, but you may never see it. Cyprus' mouflon is one shy sheep. It was once considered vermin, so you can't entirely blame hunters for its demise. By the 1930s, there were only 15 mouflons, technically a subspecies of wild sheep, left on the island. But conservation programs mean there are now thousands -- somewhere. A couple of small herds are kept under protection. One is at Stavros tis Psorkas on the west side of the Troodos mountains -- but, even here, the animals keep a low profile. A rare variety of sheep–The Cyprus Muffon–can only be seen in the country and nowhere else in the world.

Lefkara is known for its beautiful lace. Lefkaritiko lacemaking is passed down from mother to daughter. It is rumoured that during a visit to Cyprus, Leonardo Da Vinci found Lefkara lace to be so gorgeous that he purchased some for the main alter of the Duomo di Milano and inspired the tablecloth design in his famous painting “The Last Supper”.

Cyprus was once a nation of incredible wealth during the Copper and Bronze Ages due to its rich natural copper resources were exported to other countries. In fact, one of the theories of how Cyprus got its name is from the word ‘copper’ (cuprum). Another theory says that it is derived from the name of the cypress tree.

There is a tree in Cyprus known to fulfil wishes at the entrance to the Christian catacombs. Islanders say infertile women can bear children, lost husbands return, and family feuds be resolved. If you tie handkerchiefs, ribbons, or votive rags to it.  As well as that, people will return to their loved ones when you tie something that belonged to them like a sock or handkerchief to the tree.

Cyprus provides a variety of flora and fauna as there are around 370 species of bird, 1950 species of flowering plants, (140 of which are unique to Cyprus) and 260 species of fish. Cyprus is also one of only a few places in the world where Green Turtles and Loggerhead Turtles nest and every autumn, you can see 10,000 flamingos at Larnaca Salt Lake who migrate there.

Cyprus has one of the worlds widely acknowledged top 10 wreck diving sites: the wreck of the Zenobia. This cargo ship sunk in June 1980 but remains intact with carpets and vending machines rotting on her decks. As well as that, divers can view all the beautiful fish (see above the number of species) but watch out for the deadly barracuda.

As of early 2018, Cyprus ranks 57 in terms Life expectancy at an average of 76.18 for men, 81.93 for women and 78.97 overall.

Cyprus’ Eurovision entry has usually been in Greek, sometimes in English but in 2007 it was in French. Cyprus came last in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1986. Its best result was fifth scoring this in 1982, 1997, and 2004. Maybe this year’s entrant Eleni Foureira will increase this year’s ranking to something higher when she signs in the 2018 Eurovision Song contest in Portugal.

Despite being home to a Mount Olympus, Cyprus didn’t qualify for the Olympics until 1980 both summer and winter. However, it wasn’t until 2012 in London that won their first Olympic medal by Pavlos Kontides who won silver in the men's laser sailing event.

The summers in Cyprus are long resulting in it being one of the places with the healthiest climate lasting up to 8 months with an average of 24 degrees Celsius.

Cyprus’ beaches are constantly named the cleanest in all Europe for the past 12 years. As of 2017, 63 beaches and a marina have been rewarded the Blue Flag. 

As well as gorgeous beaches, you can also ski thanks to the height of the Troodos Mountains (around 6,400 feet at the highest point) There is a ski club that even have a chair lift that is exclusive for tours.

The people of Cyprus support tourism being welcoming people accommodating all from those who are looking a quite time or are looking to party during the night life of Cyprus.

 

Written by: Diarmuid Crowley from StayPlanet