Cyprus from A-Z


so called because of the re-unification paper tabled by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. It was the basis for the referendum in Cyprus on 24th April 2004. Both communities – Greek and Turkish Cypriots – had to decide on their own future. The 9.000-page-plan (includig all special rules) proposed political, legal and social regulations for an united Cyprus: constitution, public holydays, the right to return in the respective other part of the island and the reduction of the military presence of foreign states, just to name a few. At the referendum 75,83% of  the Greek Cypriots vote against and 64,91% of the Turkish Cypriots in favour of the plan.


In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture. According to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean, which began to churn and foam about them. From the aphros ("sea foam") arose Aphrodite, and the sea carried her to Cyprus. In Roman mythology Venus is the goddess of love and beauty.

Bellapais Abbey

Bellapais Abbey / © cips/vidaluzEmbedded in the mountainous region and visible over a long distance lays the ‘Abbey of Peace’ – Abbaye de la Paix, later called Bellapais. The contrast between its Gothic arcs and the environment, lined with palms and cypresses, emphasises the charm of the monastery, which was donated in the 12th century. Popular ist he International Bellapais Music Festival with classical concerts held in the magnificent Bellapais Abbey Refectory Hall.


Hundreds of flamingos overwinter every year in in Cyprus. Their most favourite spot is the salt lake in Larnaca next to the runways of the Larnaca Airport. In December 2011 even a total of 12,093 flamingos were spotted there, way more than the 3,500 spotted in 2010 and the most since 2000, when only 1,692 were seen. Generally Cyprus is a major staging post used twice a year as migratory birds move between Africa, Europe and Eurasia. Over 200 species occur as regular passage migrants in varying numbers, where as the resident species are quite low in number, some 50 odd species, with a further 40 or more species that are migrants, which regularly or occasionally breed. The Cyprus list currently stands at 379 species. Cyprus has two endemic species, the Cyprus Wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca) and the Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax). In addition there are four endemic subspecies, Cyprus Scops Owl (Otus scops cyprius), Coal Tit (Parus ater cypriotes), Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla dorotheae) and Cyprus Jay (Garrulus glandarius glaszneri).


BirdLife Cyprus


Book and Film Tips

  • Lawrence Durrell: "Bitter Lemons“ (1957)
  • Charles Foley: „Island in Revolt“ (1962)
  • Charles Foley: „Legacy of strife: Cyprus from rebellion to civil war“ (1964)
  • Türkan Aziz: „The Death of Friendship“ (2000)
  • Antonis Angastiniotis: "Voice of Blood" (Documentary, 2004)
  • Panicos Chrysanthou: "Akamas" (Movie, 2005)
  • Tabitha Morgan: "Sweet and Bitter Island" (2010)

  • Buffer Zone

    Following the hostilities of July and August 1974, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions which have affected the functioning of UNFICYP and have required the Force to perform certain additional functions relating, in particular, to the maintenance of the ceasefire. Following the de facto ceasefire, UNFICYP inspected the deployment of the Cyprus National Guard and the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces, and ceasefire lines and a buffer zone were established between the areas controlled by the opposing forces. The United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus runs for more than 180.5 kilometres (112.2 mi) along what is known as the Green Line and has an area of 346 square kilometres (134 sq mi).

    CLERIDES, Glafcos

    Glafkos Clerides / © cips/vidaluz(* 24. April 1919 in Nicosia; † 15. November 2013) was the President of the Republic of Cyprus from 1993 to 2003.

    In July 1960 he was elected to the House of Representatives that, in turn, elected him as its first President. He held this position until July 1976. In the circumstances created by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, he temporarily assumed the duties of the Acting President until December, the month of the return of Archbishop Makarios III, President of the Republic. In May 1976 he founded the Democratic Rally Party (DISY). He is married to Lila-Irene and has one daughter, Catherine, who is also a politician.


    Commandaria is the oldest wine in the world still being produced until today. For the past 3,000 years this very special sweet concoction has been pressed from dried grapes. There is evidence that its unbroken tradition began in the year 1,100 B.C. with the wine’s reference in Homer’s writings. Its great time came in the Middle Ages when Richard the Lionheart took possession of the island of Cyprus. He came to appreciate its wine and made sure that it was heard of for the first time in his home country England. The Knights Templars, who took control of Cyprus the same year and following them the Knights of the Order of Saint John, subsequently carrying its excellent reputation world-wide. In the vineyards of their commandry’s estates, La Grande Commanderie, the crusaders produced the sought after Commandaria. Here – and only here – the grapes for the honey-like drink are being cultivated and pressed to this day.

    Crusader Castles

    Cantara Castle / © cips/vidaluzCyprus’ abundance of crusader castles amazes visitors time and time again. At the north coast, the defensive works St. Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara are placed next to each other like pearls on a string. Undoubtedly, St. Hilarion is preserved best in its original form. But you have an astonishing bird’s eye view of the mountains, the coastline and the azure blue Mediterranean Sea from each of the three castles.

    Cyprus Cedar

    As indicated by the name, the Cyprus Cedar (Cedrus Brevifolia) only occurs on the island of Cyprus. Cedar forests are said to once have covered whole areas until the Phoenicians came 3,000 years ago and used it for shipbuilding. Only the trees in the Cedar Valley and on Tripylos Mountain were left and today cover the hillsides like a dense green carpet. Also, the Cyprus Cedar is suited perfectly for bonsai cultivation.

    DENKTASH, Rauf Raif

    Rauf Raif Denktash / © cips/vidaluz(*24. January 1924 in Paphos, † 13. Januar 2012) From 1983 to 2005 President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognised by the International Community.

    In 1944 he went to the United Kingdom to study law and graduated from the Lincoln’s Inn in 1947. The same year he returned to Cyprus to start his own law practice. Since 1948 was very involved for the independence of Cyprus, wrote articles on the problems of the Turks on the island and assumed a leading role in organising the Turkish Cypriot Resistance movement against the ENOSIS movement. He was the head of the Turkish Cypriot Delegation of the Constitutional Committee drafting the Cyprus Constitution. With the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960, Denktash was elected as the President of the Turkish Chamber. Following Greek coup in Cyprus and the landing of the Turkish troops on the island in 1974, Denktash played a key role in the proclamation of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, in 1983 he was the „architect“ of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. He is the founder of the National Unity Party in 1975. He has also been the chief negotiator in the U.N. supervised peace talks since 1968 and as such was considered as a hardliner.


    Enosis (Greek: union) refers to the movement of the Greek-Cypriot population to incorporate the island of Cyprus into Greece. In December 1949, the Cypriot Orthodox Church challenged the British colonial government to put the Enosis question to a referendum. The colonial government refused, and the Church proceeded to organize its own referendum in 1950. The referendum took place with an overwhelming majority 95.7% of the people voted in favor of extricating the island from the British Empire and annexing it to the Kingdom of Greece. In 1955, the resistance movement EOKA was formed in Cyprus in order to end British rule and annex the island to Greece.


    „EOKA“ („Ethniki Organosis Kiprion Agoniston“ – „National Organization of Cypriot Fighters“), the military wing of the „Enosis“-movement formed by Colonel George Grivas, started in April 1955 a guerrilla campaign against British colonial rule aimed at self-determination and union with Greece (Enosis). The violently attacks were against the British but hit the Turkish Cypriots, too. In response to the growing demand for Enosis, a number of Turkish Cypriots became convinced that the only way to protect their interests and identity of the Turkish Cypriot population in the event of Enosis would be to divide the island into Turkish and Greek portions - a policy known as “Taksim“ (partition). In 1958 the TMT (Türk Mudafa Teskilat = Turkish Defence Organisation) was founded to fight the EOKA activity. Those events created mistrust and civil strife between the two Cypriot communities.


    Since 1st of May 2004 Cyprus is a member of the European Union – but the EU-rules are valid only on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The application of the acquis has been suspended in Northern Cyprus pending a comprehensive solution since the Turkish Republik of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is not recognized internationally (only by Turkey) and is considered territory under Turkish military occupation.


    In 1963 when the conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots got worse, they accepted the cease-fire with the mediation of Britain. In December, the Peace Keeping Force constituted by the troops of three guarantor states GB, Greece and Turkey commanded by a British commander began its mission. Parts of the commission were also members of the both Cypriot communities: Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash. The British colonel Peter Young drew the „Green Line“. This line separated the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides of Nicosia. It was called the „Green Line“ since it was drawn with a green pen on the map. Today the Greenline is a synonym for the demarcation-line in the whole island.

    GRIVAS, Georgios

    Georgios Grivas / © PIO Republic of Cyprus(*23. May 1889 in Trikomo; † 27. January 1974, Limassol) also called Dighenis.

    In his meaning a Cypriot patriot who helped bring Cyprus independence in 1960. His goal was Enosis (union with Greece). Grivas organized EOKA, (Ethnikí Orgánosis Kipriakoú Agónos) about 1955, after leading a right-wing resistance group in the Athens.


    Making Halloumi/Hellim / © cips/vidaluzHalloumi or Hellim (Turkish) is the Cypriot national cheese – made from milk of cow, sheep and goat. It tastes terrifically, no matter if grilled, baked, boiled or raw.


    circa 9000 B.C. 

    Earliest settlement of the island.

    2300–1050 B.C. 

    Mycenaeans and Achaeans from Peloponnese in Greece arrive in Cyprus; discovery of copper on the island brings trade and wealth.

    709–333 B.C. 

    Alternating reign of Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians.

    58 B.C.–395

    Roman era; Julius Caesar and later Marc Antony give Cyprus to Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, as proof of passion; in 45 A.D. the apostles Paul and Barnabas succeed in converting the Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus to Christianity; Cyprus becomes the world’s first country to be governed by a Christian.


    Byzantine period; recurrent Arab raids.


    Richard the Lionheart occupies the island during his crusade to the Holy Land and sells it to the Order of the Knights Templar, who cede the isle to the French crusader, Guy de Lusignan; reign of the Franks until 1489, subsequently Venetian reign.


    Cyprus is a province in the Ottoman Empire.


    Cyprus is leased to Great Britain; in 1925 the island becomes a British crown colony.


    Cyprus becomes an independent republic. 


    Facing conflicts between Turkish and Greek Cypriots, the country is on the brink of civil war.


    After a military coup against president Makarios, which is initiated by the junta in Greece, military intervention of Turkish troops; territorial division of the country.


    Foundation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; the state is not internationally recognised. 


    The Republic of Cyprus becomes a member state of the European Union.


    In Cyprus, taro, a tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, is known as Kolokasi. It is usually stewed with celery and meat. 'Baby' taro is called 'poulles' on the island and after being fried is stewed in a sauce of crushed garlic and freshly pressed lemon juice with water. Important: break the Kolokasi peaces off, don’t cut. without breaking off, the vegetable will melt while cooking and has a soapy taste.

    KÜCÜK, Dr. Fazil

    Dr. Fazil Kücük / © PIO Republic of Cyprus(*14. March 1906 in Nicosia; † 15. January 1984 in London) qualified as a general medical practitioner from Switzerland, and returned to work in Cyprus in 1938. He became a tireless champion of Turkish-Cypriot rights and a vigorous opponent of British colonial rule in Cyprus.

    During the 1950s, Dr. Kücük set up his own political party, established the first Turkish labour union in Cyprus and launched his newspaper “Halkin Sesi“ (The Peoples' Voice). Dr. Küçük represented the Turkish-Cypriots at the independence talks in 1959 and signed the agreement establishing the Republic of Cyprus on behalf of his community. He was elected the first Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus. Although Rauf Denktash took over as the Turkish-Cypriot leader in 1973, Dr. Küçük never ceased working for the cause, even during his illness. He passed away, in Westminster Hospital-London on January 15, 1984.



    Léfkara is situated in the southeast of the island. Well-known it became for the famous lace “Lefkaritika“, which the diligent village-women embroider. It is even reputed that Leonardo da Vinci, on a visit to Cyprus in 1481, was very impressed by the Lefkara women’s adaptation of Venetian embroidery. He is said to have taken a piece of work with the “potamos” design on it back to Italy to grace the altar in Milan Cathedral. This design is known today as the “Leonardo da Vinci design”.


    Loukoumia are a type of sweet in Turkish (lokum), Cypriot, Greek, and Albanian cuisines. They are also known as Turkish Delight or Greek Delight.

    It is made from starch and sugar. A main ingredient is rosewater, although some are made with lemon. Some recipes include small nut pieces, usually pistachio, hazelnut or almonds. This dessert is highly valued by children.




    1 liter fresh milk 

    4 eggs

    5 tablespoons of sugar 

    1.5 spoons of flour 

    (optionally) 1 or 2 spoons of vanilla 

    (optionally) nut pieces

    (optionally) fine-grained sugar


    First mix the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until it forms a homogeneous, white mass. Then slowly add in and stir the flour and the vanilla creating a thicker mass. The milk should be at around room temperature (i.e. it might need to be warmed if it was in the freezer). Pour the milk slowly into the bowl, and mix well so that there are no clumps. Add in the nut pieces if desired. Pour the mix into a cooking utensil and put it on a heater on a medium setting. The mix must be stirred the whole time for about half an hour or until the cream is ready. Take the utensil off the heater and pour the cream into plastic shapes. Let it cool. Roll the shaped loukoumia on the fine-grained sugar that will serve as a coating and serve.


    Makarios III / © PIO Republic of Cyprus(*13. August 1913 in Pano Panagia; † 3. August 1977), born as Michail Christodulos Muskos; orthodox Eastern archbishop and Cypriot statesman, first president of the Republic of Cyprus (1960-77).

    Muskos studied theology in Athens, was elected Bishop of Kition in 1948 and Archbishop of Cyprus in 1950. As Archbishop he became Makarios III. He was the leader of the Greek Cypriots in the movement for ENOSIS (union with Greece), had an alliance with General Grivas. Nearly 600 people were killed in the struggle till Cyprus became an independent Republic in 1960 and Makarios III. was elected president. 14 years later he deposed by a Greek-sponsored coup in July 1974. After several month of exile he returned to Cyprus in December and resumed the presidency till his death.


    An essential part of eating for pleasure is meze – literally tit-bits – which are served in most places as small dishes, hot or cold, spicy or savoury. A typical collection might be: fried vegetables, slices of meat and sweet bottled fruit. Often 20 to 30 small dishes. But even Halloumi with olives is a meze.

    Nicosia Master Plan

    Old town of Nicosia / © cips/vidaluzThrough the Nicosia Master Plan (NMP), Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots work together to restore and protect Nicosia‘s multicultural heritage and to build a vibrant and prosperous future for this historic city.

    The Nicosia Master Plan Project Document was signed in early 1980. Now the NMP projects number almost a hundred. These focus on the restructuring and renovation of important areas of the historic centre, the improvement of traffic and transportation and visual improvements in landscaping, urban form and urban design.

    One of the priorities identified in the Nicosia Master Plan was the revitalisation of traditional residential quarters within Nicosia‘s historic city centre. Chrysaliniotissa in the south-eastern part of the city, and Arabahmet in the north-western part were ideally suited because of their traditionally residential character and the availability of properties in the early 1990‘s.


    What is cultivated in green houses and sold for a lot of money elsewhere in the world can be found in an inconspicuous meadow in Cyprus. The island is well-known for its wild orchids blooming in spring. These little flowers may not be as abundant and impressive as their tropical sisters but their delicate appearance is a delight. The orchids are under protection and may not be picked, but the pride on having spotted one keeps you from touching it anyway. Hobby botanists have a good chance to discover unknown specimens on the island. To an unexercised eye it will not be easy to find one of the flourishing preciousness. But in the months of February to May many expert guides offer orchid walks.



    The Tragedy of Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. By order of the Duke, Othello leaves Venice to command the Venetian armies against invading Turks on the island of Cyprus, in Famagusta.

    Painted Churches

    Painted church in Asinou / © cips/vidaluzThe inconspicuous church of Asinou with its steep-pitched roof is typical of an architectural phenomenon in the Troodos mountains. Ten of these Byzantine churches dating from the 11th to the 17th century are protected by UNESCO’s World Heritage List due to their outstanding style and their gloriously colourful frescos. Particularly worth mentioning are the churches Panagia Forviótissa in Asinou, Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis in Kakopetria, Archangelos Michail in Pedoulas, Agios Ioannis Lampadistis in Kalopanagiotis and  Panagia tou Araka in Lagoudera.


    Tassos Papadopoulos / © cips/vidaluz(* 7. January 1934 in Nicosia; † 12. December 2008) was President of the Republic of Cyprus from 2003 to 2008.

    Papadopoulos was a lawyer and has been a politician since the mid-sixties. Papadopoulos took an active part in the country’s liberation struggle as Head of the Nicosia Section of the EOKA (Ethnike Organosis Kypriakou Agonos) and later as General-Head of PEKA (EOKA’s political section). He was one of the four representatives of the Greek Cypriot side at the Constitutional Commission that drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. From 2000 until August 2006 he was President of the Democratic Party (DIKO). He was married to Photini Michaelides (relative of Anastasios Leventis) and he had four children/stepchildren: Constantinos Yiorkadjis (since January 2012 Mayor of Nicosia), Maria Yiorkadjis, Nicholas and Anastasia.

    SAMPSON, Nikos

    Nikos Sampson / © PIO Republic of Cyprus(* 16. December 1935, Famagusta; † 9. May 2001, Nicosia); actual Nikolaos Georgiades; Cypriot politician, journalist and one week president of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The photographer joined the EOKA in 1955. He was arrested and sentenced to death in 1956, later pardoned – he got life - and released in an amnesty. He fanatic hated the Turks. With the slogan “death to the Turks” he became a member of the House of Representatives in 1970. As result of the coup in 1974 he was President of Cyprus – for six days. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for damage of national interests of Cyprus in 1976. Three years later he was released and gone into exile to Paris. He came back in 1990 and died 2001.

    Sea turtles

    Sea turtle watching / © cips/vidaluzEach year, from June to August, hundreds of sea turtles come to the beaches of Cyprus to lay their eggs. The young turtles hatch in summer, between July and September. Special reserves were created to ensure the population of the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia Mydas) and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta Caretta) at the coasts of Cyprus. Signs asking for considerate treatment of nature at these places. Visitors have the possibility to watch the animals under the guidance of members of the turtle projects at Ammoudi beach and in Alakati (Alagadi).


    The „EOKA“ started in April 1955 a guerrilla campaign against British establishment but the violently attacks hit the Turkish Cypriots, too. Because the expanded numbers of auxiliary Cyprus Police was achieved by disproportionate recruitment from the Turkish-Cypriot community. A situation that lead to open conflict between the island’s ethnic communities. In 1958 the TMT (Türk Mudafa Teskilat = Turkish Defence Organisation) was founded to fight the EOKA activity. Those events created mistrust and civil strife between the two Cypriot communities.

    Tree of Idleness

    In the shade of the Bellapais Abbey’s ruins in the north of the island once you could find the famous „tree of idleness“. Laurence Durell described its pleasant effect in full detail in his book „Bitter Lemons“. It is said that those who sit in its shade forget all their troubles and don’t move again, or at least only under protest.


    the United Nations Force in Cyprus, established by the UN-Security Council in March 1964 after all attempts to restore peace on the island had failed.


    YASHIN, Neshe

    Neshe Yashin / © cips/vidaluz(*1959) is a well known Turkish Cypriot poet and author.

    In Cyprus she became famous in 1976 for her poem „Which half“, till today a common peace symbol for both, Greek and Turkish Cypriots. For years she is very involved in the movement for the re-unification of the island. Since the mid 80s she has been living and working in south Nicosia.

    Zeno of Citium

    (* 333 B.C. in Citium/Cyprus, † 262 B.C.) is a famous son of Larnaca. In about 300 B.C. Zeno constituted his own school of philosophy in Athens – Stoicism.


    is the actual national drink of the Cypriots, a grape marc spirit per definition, distilled from the wine-making’s residuals. But Zivania is not only for drinking. The high-percentage brew serves superbly not only as home remedy for sore thorats and stomachache but also as a glass cleaner.