Cyprus is the third largest island of the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the north east corner of the Mediterranean at the crossroads of the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. Its civilization according to archeological evidence dates back 11,000 yeas. Cyprus has a long history associated with the Greek civilization as it was inhabited by the Achaean Greeks 3-4 thousand years ago during the late Bronze Age.
The Jewellery tradition of Cyprus dates back to the Archaic Period (c.750-500 B.C.)
Because of its strategic geographic location the island has changed positions in the hands of conquerors throughout its history. All major empires of the ancient and modern times from the Persians, the Romans, up until the Venetians and the Franks and the Great British Colonial Empire, wanted to be in control of the island. As a result, everyone added some influential cultural elements in Cyprus making it a very unique Country. However, it is the Greek culture and ethnicity that has survived throughout the years and has had the most impact among the people of the island.
Cyprus today is known as the island that gave birth to Aphrodite, the Greek Mythological Goddess of beauty. An island that was liberated by Alexander the Great from the Persians. Later taken over by the Romans who gave it as a present to Cleopatra because their emperor was at the time in love with her. Also, the Crusaders once used Cyprus as their base and developed a local wine that they called Commandaria; which today is still a unique and popular Cyprus wine.
Apostles Paul and Barnabas introduced Christianity to Cyprus in 45A.D. and made it the first Christian country in the world. Later under Byzantine rule many monasteries where founded with the one of Staurovouni being one of the most important ones.
Giorgos Seferis the Nobel prized writer made many references to Cyprus as a historically important place. He particularly described the spiritual people and the magnificent environment.
Leonardo Da Vinci placed Cyprus on the map of the art world when he visited Cyprus and the village of Lefkara. He was so impressed by the traditional lace work that he took with him a large piece which he placed in the Catholic Church of Milan. The same lace that exists there today is again from Lefkara and identical to the original one. It was given as a gift to the Church from the people of Lefkara in order to replace the one that Leonardo Da Vinci took with him.
When in 1960 Cyprus gained its independence and the Republic of Cyprus was established the island became a popular tourist resort. About 3 million people visit Cyprus every year in order to enjoy the warm weather and the sandy beaches.
It is said that the influence of the sun to the culture of the people of Cyprus is what makes the people of the island extremely friendly and hospitable. Sightseeing is amazing as one can travel to very different time periods by visiting all the historical and archeological monuments as well as exploring the strong Christian element that can be found in the island. Finally the mix of her cultures can be found in the unique Cypriot cuisine and local handcrafts and Jewellery.
Today Cyprus has become
a full member of the European Union. However the Cyprus Pound is still
the currency of the country. The main language in the island is Greek
and the Cyprus Republic shares the same national anthem with Greece.