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Potted History

Reputed birthplace of the legendary Aphrodite, the goddess of love, Cyprus was the place where the mythical gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece chose to dance and play.

Although the origins of the name Cyprus are uncertain, it is mentioned in the Iliad, where Homer refers to it as "Kypros", which is Greek for the henna plant which flourished on the island..

Cyprus' history spans 9000 years. Prized for her strategic trading position, she has been feted, colonised, ruled and divided by a myriad of civilisations.

It is reputed that Caesar even made a gift of the island to Cleopatra, as a token of his love. Egypt, Persia, Lebanon, Britain, all these countries and more have played their part in shaping the unique cultural blend that is Cyprus.

Today you can still see their influence, in the magnificent Byzantine frescoes hidden in the ancient churches dotted across the land, in the castles and palaces dating back to the days of Richard the Lion Heart and the Crusaders, in the splendid city walls built when the Venetians were fending off the Ottomans, and in the use of English language dating back to British rule from 1914 to 1960.

In 1974 Turkey invaded, occupying the northern part of the island. Although there is no fighting, thousands of people have been displaced and Cyprus has been divided ever since.

Culturally a Western nation, Cyprus has successfully sought entry into the European Union and became a member in 2004.



January 1st: New Year's


March 25: Greek National Day


April 1st: Greek Cypriot National Day


April: Easter


October 1st: Cyprus Independence Day


December 25: Christmas Day


Time: GMT/UTC plus two hour



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