Here's a little introduction to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Scroll down for our flag printables and Cyprus colouring flag, too.
Coastal scene, Cyprus
A Little Geography
- Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and lies around 70 km south of Turkey.
- The total area of the entire island is approximately 9,252 sq km.
- The coastline of Cyprus is around 400 miles long.
- Around one-third of the island of Cyprus is made up of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and The Republic of Cyprus makes up the remaining two thirds to the south of the island.
- The capital city Nicosia (also known as Lefkosia) is the last divided capital city in the world. One half of the capital belongs to the Republic of Cyprus, the other to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
- Cyprus is a major tourist destination.
A Little History
- Cyprus is full of ancient remains, some dating back to 10,000 BC.
- With its useful strategic location - between East and West - it was occupied by many different powers over the years, including Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, Greeks, Romans (the Byzantium Empire ruled Cyprus for 800 years), Venetians, and French, before coming under the control of the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s.
- Placed under British administration in 1878, Cyprus became a full British colony in 1925. It gained independence in 1960.
- After independence, both Greece and Turkey wanted to claim the island as their own and war broke out in 1974. Eventually a separate Turkish Cypriot entity was established in the north, making up about 35% of the island geographically. The United Nations maintains a buffer zone between the two sides.
- Cyprus has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and joined the EU in 2004.
Some Interesting Facts
- Cyprus is home to the world's oldest brand of wine. The dessert wine 'Commandaria' has been produced for at least 5000 years, and there is a legend that King Richard the Lionheart drank it at his wedding and called it "The King of Wines!"
- Italian archaeologists have found what they believe is the oldest perfume bottle in the world in Cyprus. It's over 4000 years old and contains extracts of pine, coriander, almond, anise, parsley and bergamot.
- Cyprus has a very shy national symbol, a sheep called the mouflon, which is hardly ever seen! In the 1930s there were only 15 mouflon left on the island due to hunting, but thanks to conservation efforts there are now thousands on the island - somewhere!
- Cyprus is one of only two states in the world to include its map on its flag - the other is Kosovo.
- The island is famous for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Cypriot legend claims she was born and rose from the foam near a rock at Paphos, which is now known as Aphrodite's Beach. The location is now a popular venue for weddings!
- If you like halloumi cheese, you have Cyprus to thank for it!