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Holidays in Cyprus

Understanding Cyprus

Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960 Despite a constitution which guaranteed a degree of power-sharing between the Greek Cypriot majority and the Turkish Cypriot minority, the two populations – with backing from the governments of Greece and Turkey, respectively – clashed vehemently in 1974, with the end result being the occupation of the northern and eastern 40% of the island by Turkey In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" So far, only Turkey recognizes the TRNC, while all other governments and the United Nations recognize only the government of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island The UN operates a peacekeeping force and a narrow buffer zone between the two Cypriot ethnic groups Fortunately, open hostilities have been absent for some time, as the two sides now with the growing involvement of the European Union gradually inch towards a reunification of some sort

Climate

Temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters

Terrain

Central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast

Talking in Cyprus

The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish Greek is spoken predominately in the south and Turkish is spoken predominately in the north English is very widely spoken by locals of all ages thanks to previous British rule Other common languages spoken on the island are French, German and Russian

What to see in Cyprus

  • the many archaeological and antiquities sites scattered around the island, dating from the New Stone Age through to the Roman Empire
  • the beautiful coastline of the island - still quite unspoilt in many places - is well worth exploring
  • Nicosia, the capital as it has a wealth of history, preserved Venetian walls surrounding the city, some wonderful bars and restaurants within the old walls of the city and of course the 'green line' - the dividing line with the Turkish part of Cyprus, which cuts through the centre of Nicosia, now the only divided capital
  • the Troodos mountains, rising as high as 1952 metres, offering some beautiful trail walks and also quaint little villages such as Kakopetria, Platres and Phini In winter there is the chance to ski there and the ski resort is being developed
  • Hamam Omerye in Nicosia, Cyprus is a 14th Century building restored to operate once again as a hammam for all to enjoy, relax and rejuvinate - it is indeed a place to rest Dating back to French rule and located in the heart of Nicosia's old town is Hamam Omerye - a true working example of Cyprus' rich culture and diversity, stone struggle, yet sense of freedom and flexibility The site's history dates back to the 14th century, when it stood as an Augustinian church of St Mary Stone-built, with small domes, it is chronologically placed at around the time of Frankish and Venetian rule, approximately the same time that the city acquired its Venetian Walls In 1571, Mustapha Pasha converted the church into a mosque, believing that this particular spot is where the prophet Omer rested during his visit to Lefkosia Most of the original building was destroyed by Ottoman artillery, although the door of the main entrance still belongs to the 14th century Lusignan building, whilst remains of a later Renaissance phase can be seen at the north-eastern side of the monument In 2003, the EU funded a bi-communal UNDP/UNOPS project, "Partnership for the Future", in collaboration with Nicosia Municipality and Nicosia Master Plan, to restore the Hamam Omerye Bath, revitalising its spirit and sustaining its historical essence The hamam is still in use today and after its recent restoration project, it has become a favourite place for relaxation in Lefkosia In 2006 it received the Europa Nostra prize for the Conservation of Architectural Heritage

Buying stuff in Cyprus

Since 2008, the official currency of Cyprus is the euro € If you have any old Cypriot pounds lying around, the Central Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia will exchange them at a rate of CYP 0585274 per €1 until 2017

Things to buy

  • Cypriot wine - the iconic local variety known as Commandaria is strong, sweet and somewhat akin to Porto wine
  • Lacework of an intricate nature - from the village of Lefkara
  • Zivania - is a strong spirit based alcoholic drink
  • Leather goods such as shoes and handbags
  • Jewellery

Food and eating in Cyprus

  • Cypriot meze appetizers akin to Spanish tapas are an art form, and some restaurant serve nothing but Meze are available in a meat variety or fish variety but quite often come as a mixed batch, which is rather pleasing
  • Halloumi Χαλλουμι is a uniquely Cypriot cheese, made from a mix of cow's and sheep's milk Hard and salty when raw, it mellows and softens when cooked and is hence often served grilled
  • Taramosalata is traditionally made out of taramas, the salted roe of the cod or carp The roe is either mixed with bread crumbs or mashed potatoes Parsley, onion, lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar are added and it is seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Tahini

Drinking in Cyprus

Cuban national cocktails include the Cuba Libre rum and cola and the Mojito rum, lime, sugar, mint leaves, club soda and ice

If you request a rum in a small country restaurant do not be surprised if it is only available by the bottle Havana Club is the national brand and the most popular Expect to pay $4 for three year old white rum or $8 for seven year old dark rum

Cristal is a light beer and is available in "dollar" stores where Cubans with CUCs and visitors may shop Cubans prefer the Bucanero Fuerte, which at 55% alcohol is a strong hence the "fuerte" darker beer Both Cristal and Bucanero are brewed by a joint venture with Labatts of Canada, whose beer is the only Cuban beer sold in CUC A stronger version, Bucanero Max is also available - primarily available in Havana

There are also smaller brews, not available everywhere, such as Hatuey and Corona del Mar These are sold in CUP

Accommodation in Cyprus

There are countless hotels and hotel apartments of varying degrees of luxury within Cyprus Some of the hotels are: Holiday Inn, Four Seasons, Le Meridien, Hilton, Elias Beach Hotel Alternative self-catering accommodation is offered in restored traditional houses in picturesque villages all over Cyprus through the government Agrotourism initiative

Working in Cyprus

Cyprus' climate and natural advantages mean that there is always a steady supply of travellers seeking employment and residency on the island Perhaps the biggest change that has occurred in recent years has been the accession of southern Cyprus to the European Union on 1 May 2004, opening up new employment opportunities for European citizens

The burgeoning Cypriot tourism industry, however, means that there is a huge seasonal demand for temporary workers of most nationalities during the summer months, with a definite preference for English-speaking workers in order to service the very large numbers of British tourists The Greek Cypriot South remains the best overall bet for jobs, as the South is where the majority of the tourist trade is located The Turkish North is much harder to get work in as a traveller, as the local economy is in a precarious position and high local unemployment means competition for work is fierce

Seasonal employment will most probably involve working in one of the countless bars, hotels and resort complexes of the South Such work is usually poorly paid, but accommodation is often thrown in as some compensation and the Cypriot lifestyle usually makes up for low wages Many holiday companies employ 'reps' representatives and marketing staff to assist their operations on the island - this work is usually more financially rewarding

Teaching English as a Foreign Language EFL is another worthwhile option, well paid though often difficult to find

Finally, Cyprus' ongoing construction boom in tourism infrastructure results in a demand for skilled builders and tradesmen

Cities in Cyprus

aradippou  chlorakas  dipkarpaz  dromolaxia  empa  gazimagusa  geri  girne  guzelyurt  iskele  lapithos  larnaca  lefka  lemesos  livadia  nicosia  pafos  pano polemidia  paralimni  polis  ypsonas  ziyamet  

What do you think about Cyprus?

How expensive is Cyprus?
(1 EUR = 1.12 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant11.03 EUR
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)38.8 EUR
McDonalds meal5.52 EUR
Local beer (0.5 draft)2.76 EUR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 3.88 EUR
Cappuccino3.55 EUR
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)1.47 EUR
Water (0.33 bottle)0.87 EUR
Milk (1l)1.49 EUR
Fresh bread (500g)1.3 EUR
White Rice (1kg)1.68 EUR
Eggs (12) 2.66 EUR
Local Cheese (1kg) 7.99 EUR
Chicken Breast (1kg) 9.43 EUR
Apples (1kg) 1.87 EUR
Oranges (1kg) 1.3 EUR
Tomato (1kg) 1.33 EUR
Potato (1kg) 0.91 EUR
Lettuce (1 head) 0.49 EUR
Water (1.5l)0.89 EUR
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 5.62 EUR
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)1.09 EUR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 1.48 EUR
Cigarettes4.28 EUR
One way local bus ticket1.67 EUR
Monthly pass for bus38.57 EUR
Taxi start3.25 EUR
Taxi 1km1.21 EUR
Taxi 1hour waiting11.68 EUR
Gasoline (1 liter) 1.56 EUR
Utilities for a "normal" apartment153.38 EUR
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 11.16 EUR
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 351.93 EUR
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 336.11 EUR
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 545.96 EUR
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 468.22 EUR
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