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Monday 23rd October
Cyprus Facts
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily and Sardinia.

The area in the Troodos known as the Sea of Tethys (once beneath the ocean) is an important area to geologists as it is useful in the study of how the crust of the ocean was formed millions of years ago.

Cyprus is said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite (Venus), the Greek goddess of love. The myth says that she rose from the sea at Petra tou Romiou in Pafos.

The Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia, in the District of Larnaca, is on the World Heritage List.

Copper has been mined in Cyprus for thousands of years. The name Cyprus probably derives from the Greek for copper.

General Kimon the Athenian is remembered for commanding a fleet of ships against the Persians who occupied Cyprus.

The philosopher Zeno of Kition, founder of Stoicism, was born in Larnaka but later lived in Athens.

Pafos, both the Greek and the Roman capital of Cyprus, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Kyrenia ship, excavated in the late 1960s, was built in the fourth century and sank just off Kyrenia.

The Tombs of the Kings in Pafos are underground tombs, carved out of rock around the fourth century BC.

At the beginning of the Byzantine era (330 AD) earthquakes destroyed many buildings in Cyprus.

St Paul's Pillar in Pafos commemorates St Paul's sentence to thirty-nine lashes for teaching Christianity.

Paul and Barnabas converted the Roman governor of Cyprus, Sergius Paulus, to Christianity. He was the first Christian ruler in the world.

Lazarus, raised from the dead by Jesus, was Cyprus' first bishop and the island's patron saint.

The Church of Agia Faneromeni, in Larnaka, was built over a cave in the eighth century.

Richard the Lionheart, King of England, married Berengaria of Navarre in Limassol Castle.

In the twelfth century Cyprus came under the rule of the Lusignans. Nicosia was known as Lefkosia.

Kolossi Castle was the headquarters of the Knights of St. John also known as the Templars.

The village of Fikardou is an ancient monument with houses of woodwork and folk architecture dating back to the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. In 1987 some of the houses received the Europa Nostra Award.

Britain annexed Cyprus at the beginning of the First World War. In 1925 the island became a British Colony.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960.

The "Green Line" is the name of the border in Nicosia between the Greek and Turkish communities. It was so called because the line was drawn on the map with a green pencil (1963).

There are many Cypriot ex-patriots around the world who have migrated to countries such as the UK, the USA and Australia.

In 1993 Asil Nadir, a Turkish Cypriot businessman living in England, fled to Cyprus when his business empire collapsed and he was accused of fraud.

Cyprus is a member of the Commonwealth.

In December 2002 Cyprus took part in EU accession negotiations with nine other countries (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia). The Accession Treaty was signed on 16 April 2003 with 1 May 2004 the formal entry date.

In April 2004 three of out of four Greek Cypriots voted against the plan put forward by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to reunite the Turkish and Greek sides of the island. Around sixty-five percent of Turkish Cypriots approved the plan.

April 2008 saw the opening of the Ledra Street crossing between the Turkish and Greek sectors of Nicosia.

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