Cyprus – An Island Paradise
Cyprus is a Eurasian island country located in the Mediterranean Sea east of Greece. Neighbouring countries include Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. The central plain of the island, known as the Mesaoria, is dominated by two dramatic mountain ranges, Troodos and Kyrenia. Cyprus is widely recognized for spectacular Mount Olympus, situated in the centre of the Troodos Mountains. The comfortable subtropical climate affords visitors and residents mild winters and hot summers. Cyprus has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of international visitors during the summer season, which lasts from April through November.Shown above are the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus in winter.
Cyprus is divided into segments based on political and religious factions. The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern two-thirds of the island, with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus occupying the northern one-third. The United Nations established a Green Line, which provides a buffer zone separating the two political groups. Distinct and unique cultures exist between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Each community maintains individual cultures linked to the mother countries of Greece and Turkey. Greek is spoken in the south, while Turkish is spoken in the north. Due to the influx of tourism, English is spoken by approximately 75 percent of the population.
Whilst there is limited cultural interchange between the two groups, music, art and architecture share influences dating back at least 10,000 years. Cyprus is home to world-class religious iconic paintings from the middle Ages. The island’s architecture was influenced by French Gothic and Italian Renaissance designs introduced during the era of Latin dominance. Many of the churches and villas in Cyprus were built during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Due to its proximity to the Mediterranean and its highly sophisticated infrastructure and tax system, Cyprus has become a centre for numerous off shore business enterprises, including export shipping and transportation. Travel and tourism has become one of the country’s most lucrative economic enterprises.
Cyprus is alive with vibrant art and music. Traditional folk music and chattista, a form of musical poetry, is often interspersed with new-age rock and rap music. Traditional music is typically performed at weddings, celebrations, local festivals and feasts. The local cuisine is characteristic of specific regions within the country. The close proximity to the Mediterranean brings multiple varieties of seafood including squid, octopus, sea bass and mullet. Traditional meat delicacies include smoked pork loin, charcoal-grilled lamb and chicken, as well as souvlaki.
Travelling to Cyprus requires a valid passport for stays of up to 90 days. Work and residency visas can be obtained through respective embassies. Many visitors from Europe and the United States choose to relocate to Cyprus on a long-term or permanent basis. Cyprus is an attractive choice due to optimal weather conditions, relatively low taxes and cost of living, as well as the relaxed atmosphere of living in an island paradise. Many British expatriates choose residences in Oroklini and Pyla, rather than popular tourist destinations such as Lemesos, Limassol, Paphos and Ayia Napa. The overall cost of living is somewhat lower than countries such as the USA and United Kingdom, although restaurant, gasoline and grocery prices have risen since the recent introduction of the Euro.
Cyprus has many beaches; the above shows a typical beach scene in summer.
Long-term and permanent housing is available throughout the country. Rates vary according to the size of unit and location. Many Cyprus villas have been converted into apartments, which can comfortably accommodate two residents. Villa apartments can be found on the waterfront, in secluded areas and in small villages. Six and 12-month tenancy contracts are available in many popular towns including Larnaca, Paphos, Limassol and Nicosia. Many tenancy contracts have extension options. Properties usually include private villas with pools, parking facilities, spectacular landscaping and laundry facilities. Utilities are not included in long term rental contracts. Apartments in converted Cyprus villas offer opportunities to reside on one of the most spectacular islands in the world. Residents enjoy dramatic architecture, cultural diversity and delightful weather.
Enjoying a peaceful, comfortable and lucrative life in Cyprus begins with understanding and respecting cultural differences. The establishment of trust with local residents will lead to relationships and friendships that will last a lifetime.