Claim here - but then, people do tend to get possessive when faced with such beauty.
Aphrodite made her home on Cyprus, and travellers throughout antiquity came here just to
pay her tribute.
Today Cyprus is a modern country that effortlessly marries European culture with ancient
enchantment. Here you will discover a compact world of alluring beaches and fragrant
mountain peaks, vineyards studded with olive trees and ancient ruins that stir the imagination,
citrus groves and old stone villages where sweet wine flows as freely as conversations at the
local café. A carefree place where a sense of timelessness is magnified by the kindness of the
The very name Cyprus, it has been said, shimmers with an ages-old mystique. Today, history
and hedonism are comfortably intertwined on the island. Ravishing five-star resorts within
walking distance of well-preserved Greek and Roman ruins offer every amenity the modern
traveller has come to expect and more, from knock-out pools, gardens and beachfronts to
state of the art thalassotherapy health spas. One of the most impressive archaeological sites,
the ancient city kingdom of Kourion, overlooks a magnificent stretch of beaches with a
sparkling blue sea beyond. Along the island's sun-kissed coastline., from Agia Napa in the east
to Pafos in the west, world-class beach resorts alternate with settings untouched since
Venture away from the sybaritic shore - if you can bring yourself to - and succumb to the slow,
seductive rhythms of the interior. There are old wine-producing villages with atmospheric
winding streets and terraced vineyards. You can often stay the night for a song in cozy
renovated traditional houses, part of the Cyprus agrotourism programme. Explore Greek
Orthodox churches nestled in the hills whose walls conceal vibrantly painted Byzantine
frescoes. Many are found among the pine-covered peaks of the Troodos, where a sublime
silence can dissolve all sense of time, not to mention stress.
Love Goddesses and Sacred Mountains
Along the route that leads from the port city of Lemesos (Limassol) to Pafos, the roadway
opens up to reveal a magnificent stretch of coastline where chalky white cliffs stand watch over
a dazzling aquamarine sea. Here sun worshippers make detours for a picnic and a swim at
Petra tou Romiou, a boulder that marks the spot where Aphrodite emerged from the sea foam
in ancient times. In the Akamas region, hikers exploring the area's rich flora can cool off at the
grotto where the love goddess bathed after her amorous interludes.
Throughout Cyprus, the typically Mediterranean landscape is still blessed with the timeless
beauty of antiquity. There are crusader fortresses framed by tall cypress trees, Greco-Roman
theatres carved out of cliffs and Byzantine monasteries perched improbably on mountaintops.
Sophisticated cities successfully balance the ancient and modern. The capital, Lefkosia
(Nicosia), is surrounded by Venetian walls with heart-shaped bastions; Larnaka, site of the
major international airport, is also home to St. Lazarus Church and the crypt of the eponymous
saint resurrected by Christ. Near the animated harbor at Pafos are the Roman floor mosaics of
the Houses of Aion, Achilles and Dionysus, their depictions of mythological scenes amazingly
All Eyes on Cyprus
The Cyprus mystique is as much a product of its legendary beauty as it is of millennia of
competing empires, all unable to resist the island’s strategic allure of the island. The perfect
location, of course, never goes out of style. Nestled into the eastern Mediterranean Sea and a
veritable crossroads of three continents, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean
and an ideal starting point for the discovery of other exotic locales such as the Greek Islands,
Egypt and the Middle East - in fact, mini-cruises set off for these places from Cyprus almost
every day. But close as Cyprus may be to the world's center stage, it is a distinctive place that
can feel blissfully apart from it all.
Abundant copper in antiquity put small Cyprus on the map. In fact Cyprus (Kypros in Greek)
gave copper its latin name: cuprum. In the late Bronze Age, Mycenaen Greeks settled on
Cyprus and established trade links with Egypt and the Aegean islands. This is also the period
when ceramic art first flourished. As centuries drifted by, the island came variously under
Persian, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Roman rule. It was during the latter era that Marc Antony,
enraptured by the island's sweet wines, gave Cyprus as a gift to his lover, the matchless
Cleopatra. After a long period of Byzantine domination, European awareness of Cyprus surged
with the Crusades. In 1191 a fierce sea storm led Richard the Lionheart to put his ship into
port at Lemesos. He claimed the island as his own.
From 1489 to 1571 the flag of Venice flew in Cyprus, until which time the Ottoman Turks
moved in. That era ended in 1878 when Cyprus became part of the British Empire. Despite a
turbulent past, or perhaps because of it, the Cypriots themselves are a resilient people. They
have always remained a distinct culture - different even from their closest cousins, the Greeks
- and retained their unique character. The Republic of Cyprus achieved independence in 1960
and is now a member of the European Union.
From independent travellers to honeymooners, archaeology aficionados to friends of nature,
every visitor to Cyprus finds the island offers layer upon layer of discovery. Food lovers delight
in farm-fresh halloumi cheese and delectable meze, the local specialty appetizers that mix
Western ingredients with Eastern zest. Travellers on business appreciate the fine conference
facilities and warm, professional service at more than 64 hotels and resorts, and like incentive
groups value the proximity of the beach. And that golden Old World sunshine - there are
generally 300-plus sunny days per year - is something few can resist. Add it all up and you
have an ideally-situated island that truly has no equal. A place that measures up to its
Cyprus: The Cruise Centre of the Eastern Mediterranean
Before the armies of Alexander the Great made their famous thrusts east toward lands
unconquered, their ships called into port at Cyprus to be readied and refitted. The same
strategic location, at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, that made
Cyprus a crucial starting point for Alexander’s expanding empire makes the island a desirable
centre today for a calmer kind of maritime activity: cruising. Whether for a cruise that originates
there, as a port of call or a fly and cruise option, today Cyprus is among the premier cruising
destinations in the Mediterranean.
As the easternmost island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a natural point of departure for
exploring this amazingly diverse region. Throughout the year locally based cruise lines help
locals and tourist alike get a first hand perspective of the splendors of ancient Egypt, major
attractions in Israel and Lebanon and, of course, the Greek Islands. Every year there are
around 800 such “mini-cruises” leaving from the port of Limassol (Lemesos), one of the
leading cruise ports in the Mediterranean, carrying around 250,000 passengers.
Port of History and Civilisation
Many international cruise ships utilize Cyprus as a major port of call on their international
European and Mediterranean itineraries. Every year more than 30 of the finest international
cruise ships make more than 80 calls at the ports of Limassol and Larnaka carrying in excess
of 100,000 passengers to visit the major attractions of Cyprus.
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Leda and the swan mosaic.
|Petra tou Romiou.
Aphrodites birth place.
|Pissouri bay. West of
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