Experience the beauty of the Mediterranean whilst helping to protect endangered sea turtles!
Cyprus is the third largest island country in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily and Sardinia; it is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt and east of Greece. Greek and Turkish are the country’s official languages, although English is widely spoken and is still used on road signs and public notices (the country was under British colonial rule prior to 1960). The population of Cyprus is 1.1 million and the euro (€) is the currency used. Nicosia is the country’s capital.
- Relax on some of the most spectacular beaches in the Mediterranean.
- Head to the historic pre-Christian city of Salamis.
- Enjoy the tasty cuisine and buzzing nightlife.
Climate and Geography
Cyprus has a subtropical climate, ie. Mediterranean and semi-arid with warm to hot summers and very mild winters (the average temperature on the coast in July and August is 33 °C).
There are two main mountain ranges on the island, the Troodos Mountains in the Southwest and the smaller Kyrenia Mountains in the North. The Pedieos River, the longest on the island, drains the Mesaoria plains, which divides the two mountainous regions.
Culture and Religion
The culture of Cyprus is dominated by Western Europe, but its geographic proximity to Asia and Africa gives it more than just a hint of the exotic. Indeed, the country’s traditional folk music has elements in common with Greek, Turkish and Arabic music as well as Greco Turkish dances and Middle Eastern inspired dances. Common traditional dishes include seafood (squid, sea bass and mullet) and meat, such as souvlakia (pork and chicken cooked over charcoal) and sheftalia (minced meat wrapped in mesentery). Fruit, salads and fresh vegetables are also popular. Cyprus has a rich history in both art (dating back as far as 10,000 years ago) and literary production (dating as far back as the 7th century).
Most Greek Cypriots are members of the Greek Orthodox church, while most Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslims.
Wildlife and Environment
There are two species of marine turtle found in the waters surrounding Cyprus, the Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas, and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta caretta. Both are classified as Endangered according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Other marine animals found in Cypriot waters include dolphins, sharks and stingrays, as well as a diverse array of reef associated fauna such as grouper, scorpion fish, wrasse, octopus, moray eels, sponges and corals.