1) Cyprus is known as the playground of the gods, and for good reason too! Aphrodite is said to have risen out of the water near Paphos.
2) Archaeological evidence suggests that people first settled on the island of Cyprus 10,000 years ago.
3) Cyprus was once a nation of incredible wealth. It was during the Copper and Bronze Ages when the island’s rich natural copper resources were exported to other countries. The word copper, in fact, derives from the Greek name for the island, Kupros.
4) King Richard the Lionheart – the English crusader king – wed Berengaria of Navarre at Limassol Castle on 12 May, 1191. To this day it is the only foreign venue at which an English Royal Wedding has been hosted.
5) Famagusta was once the island’s most important port city, with its natural harbour and high protective walls, and it was from where the Silk Route merchants transported their goods to the west of Europe.
6) There are 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cyprus – Paphos, the Painted Churches in the Troodos Region and Choirokoitia.
7) The Neolithic settlement of Choirkoitia is one of the most important Neolithic sites in the eastern Mediterranean.
8) Cyprus is a divided country. A UN buffer zone – known as the Green Line – separates the self-declared Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek controlled South.
9) There are two British military zones in Cyprus. Known as United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas, the two zones are a legacy of the British occupation of Cyprus which ended in 1960.
10) Cyprus Independence Day is celebrated on 1st October.
11) The Byzantine Museum in Nicosia holds the largest collection of Byzantine Art in Cyprus.
12) Stavrouvouni Monastery in the Troodos Mountains is the oldest monastic site in Cyprus. It was founded in the 4th century by St Helena.
13) The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylatis was one of the main sites of religious worship on Cyprus. The site covers over 15,000 square meters and lies near Kolossi in the south.
14) Cyprus became a province of the Roman Empire in 22 B.C.
GEOGRAPHY / GEOLOGY / NATURE
15) Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is now the only capital in the world to be divided between two nations; North Cyprus and South Cyprus.
16) Cyprus is one of Europe’s most southerly ski resorts.
17) There are around 370 species of bird recorded on the island of Cyprus. Due to the island’s location on one of the major migration routes across the Mediterranean, many species can be spotted in spring and autumn.
18) In geological term Cyprus is an ophiolite and is made up of three distinct geologic regions.
19) Cyprus is home to 20 rare species of orchid.
20) There are more than 1950 species of flowering plant in Cyprus, 140 of which are found nowhere else in the world.
21) 260 species of fish circle the warm Mediterranean waters around Cyprus.
22) Cyprus is one of only a few places in the world where Green Turtles and Loggerhead Turtles nest.
23) Cyprus is the easternmost island in the Mediterranean Sea.
24) The Cyprus mouflon is a wild sheep that is only found in the Troodos and Paphos mountains.
25) More than 55 beaches on Cyprus have been awarded the Blue Flag for high water quality, cleanliness and safety.
26) The highest peak in the Troodos Mountain Range is Mount Olympus, which reaches up to 6402ft above sea level.
27) Around 10,000 flamingos temporarily stop over to feed at Larnaca Salt Lake every autumn during their migration south to warmer climes.
28) Southern Cyprus joined the European Union on May 1st 2004.
29) The major industries that contribute to the Cypriot economy are tourism, fruit & vegetables, wine, cement, clothing and shoes.
30) The population of Cyprus is approximately 1.141 million.
31) Life expectancy is just over 79 years.
PEOPLE / CULTURE & FOOD
32) Lefkara Lace is hand made in Cyprus.
33) Kolokasi – a type of sweet potato – is a speciality root vegetable grown on Cyprus.
34) Commandaria is a sweet desert wine produced in the foothills of the Troodos mountains. It is reputed to be the oldest wine in the world.
35) During August every year the villages in Cyprus host the August Village Festivals. At least 20 villages take part.
36) George Michael (musician), Fatima Whitbread (Olympic athlete) and Muzzy Izzet (English premiership soccer player) were all born in Cyprus.
SPORTS/ART & ENTERTAINMENT
37) Marcos Baghdatis, one of the most talented junior tennis players in the world, comes from Cyprus.
38) The first sporting contact between Turkey and Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish invasion was a Champions League 2nd round qualifying match between Famagusta Anothosis and Trabzonspor on July 26th 2005. Famagusta won 3-1.
39) There are 5 golf courses in Cyprus.
40) The Cyprus Rally is a rallying competition held yearly in Cyprus since 1970.
41) The largest freshwater fish caught in Cyprus was a 31lb 4oz Mirror Carp. It was caught in the Dhypotamos reservoir between Larnaca and Limassol.
42) Ayia Napa in Eastern Cyprus is one of the most popular nightclub districts in Europe.
43) The Pafos Aphrodite Festival takes place each year in August or September in front of the medieval castle in Kato Paphos.
44) The only horse racetrack in Cyprus can be found in Nicosia. Approximately 60 race meetings are held there throughout the year.
45) One of the world’s most famous shipwrecks lies off the Cypriot coast near Limassol Harbour. MS Zenobia, with its cargo of vehicles, sunk in 1980.
46) Traffic in Cyprus drives on the left-side of the road.
47) Cyprus has 1 of the top 10 wreck diving sites in the world.
48) Easter is the main holiday of the island; almost 80-pecent of residents worship the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox faith.
49) Cyprus has two international airports; one at Larnaca and the other at Paphos.
50) London Olympics 2012 gave Cyprus its first Olympic medal: a silver in men’s laser sailing.