8 amazing facts about Cyprus
Cyprus attracts tourists from all over the world thanks to its luxurious resorts and ideal beaches. More than 45 of them are considered the best beaches in Europe. But how much more interesting and surprising this island is fraught with! We have collected 8 little-known facts about Cyprus that will be of interest to you. And after traveling to Cyprus, you can replenish this list yourself.
1. Cyprus – a true island of love
Legend has it that the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite is a Cypriot. She came out of the sea foam off the coast of the Cypriot city of Paphos.
2. Cyprus – today the only place outside of England where the wedding of the English king took place
It was the wedding of King Richard the Lionheart and Princess Berengaria of Navarre. It took place in the St. George Chapel of Limassol on May 12, 1191.
3. Cyprus has the richest art collection of the Byzantine era
The Byzantine Museum in Nicosia has been open since 1982. Today it has the most impressive collection of Byzantine art. The museum’s special pride is the collection of 12th century icons – the “golden age” of Byzantine icon painting.
4. Cyprus – the southernmost ski resort in Europe
Mount Olympus – the peak of Cyprus (1951 m.). There is one of the best ski resorts in Europe – Troodos. Tourists are offered 4 lifts and 12 runs. The ski season lasts from December to April.
5. In fact, Cyprus is the ocean floor
From a geological point of view, the Troodos mountain complex in Cyprus is the ocean floor that has risen above the surface of the water under the influence of natural factors. In scientific terms, this is called the ophiolite complex.
6. The capital of Cyprus is at the same time the capital of two states
Nicosia is also the capital of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (a partially recognized state). It is the only divided capital in the world.
7.3% of the island is controlled by the British
Cyprus is so beautiful that many states dream of it. And, although Cyprus gained independence from England in 1960, the British still control 3% of Cyprus land. English military bases are located on this territory.
8. 100 years in a row Cyprus belonged to Venice
In the 7th century, Cyprus was presented to the Republic of Venice by Queen Katerina Kornaro. She became the last queen of the Kingdom of Cyprus. Venice has owned Cyprus for 100 years. Shakespeare described this period in the Othello tragedy. And Desdemona was allegedly killed in the castle of the Cypriot city of Famagusta. Now it is called the Othello Tower.
The name of the island of Cyprus itself is shrouded in secrets and legends. Today, history and hedonism are bizarrely intertwined here. Everywhere the typical Mediterranean landscape is blessed with the unfading beauty of antiquity: Crusader fortresses surrounded by high cypresses, Greco-Roman amphitheaters carved into the cliffs, and Byzantine monasteries perched on mountain peaks. In cosmopolitan cities, the elements of antiquity and modernity are harmoniously interwoven. The capital of Cyprus Nicosia is full of attractions:
“Old Nicosia”, i.e. the central part of the city has a radial layout and is surrounded by a ring of impressive stone bastions and massive gates of the Venetian wall (1567-1570).
The gate of Famagusta is one of the architectural masterpieces of the protective ring of old Nicosia. Exhibitions and musical evenings are regularly held in their internal premises (the beautiful restoration of the gates was awarded the “Europa Nostra” international prize).
The Archbishop’s Palace is one of the main attractions of the capital. Here is the residence of the highest clergyman of Cyprus, and given the importance that the Orthodox Church had and has in the life of Cypriots, this place can rightfully be considered the heart of the country. In front of the palace is a monument to Archbishop Makarios III – the first president of independent Cyprus.
The Byzantine Museum and the Art Gallery are located in the residence of the archbishop, are famous for one of the best collections of Byzantine icons of the VIII-IX centuries in the world and a rich library.
Municipal Park is the best place for walking and relaxing holidays.
The Museum of Cyprus is the most interesting museum of Nicosia, the largest archaeological museum on the island. Its expositions and individual exhibition galleries occupy 14 halls.
Curium is an ancient city-state, one of the most significant archaeological sites of Cyprus. It is located on a hill with a magnificent view of the coast, washed by the sparkling azure sea.
Limassol. Numerous architectural monuments of the city and its environs can compete with any historical region of the Mediterranean. The fortress of Limassol, erected at the beginning of the XIV century on the ruins of a Byzantine castle. In her chapel, the English king Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria of Navarre were married. The rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiu), near which the beautiful Aphrodite emerged from the foam of the sea.
“Font of Aphrodite” is a grotto where, according to legend, the goddess of love once basked. Amathus is one of the oldest cities in Cyprus, which arose one thousand years BC and flourished for sixteen centuries. In the VII century. AD the city was destroyed by the Arabs, and Richard the Lionheart, who landed in these places in 1191, completed the destruction. Modern archaeologists have discovered the basilica of the early Christian era, the sanctuary of Aphrodite, the ruins of bathhouses and a water system. All this is rather poorly preserved, but even in this form makes an impression.
Kikko Monastery, the most famous and richest monastery on the island. It was specially built to store one of the three holy icons, which, according to legend, the Apostle Luke himself wrote from the Mother of God. It can still be seen in the monastery church today – it is covered with a precious salary, and its upper part is draped with matter, which is removed only when the icon is taken out of the church to attract rain. Another miraculous relic of the monastery is a belt that is believed to help women recover from infertility. In the late 80s of the XX century, the monastery was restored, paintings and beautiful mosaics appeared, and the largest of the monastery bells (1280 kg) was cast in Russia.
Larnaca is located on the site where it was once built in the 10th century. BC. and the city of Kition, repeatedly founded in the Bible, founded by the grandson of Noah.
The most interesting biblical moment in the history of this region is life and the miraculous resurrected from Jesus dead by the most famous local resident – St. Lazarus. After the resurrection, Lazarus moved to Cyprus and lived here for 30 years, becoming the first bishop of the present Larnaca. Here, in Kition, he was buried.
In his memory, the church of St. Lazarus was built in the city center. The inscription is engraved on the marble sarcophagus of the saint: “Lazarus, friend of Christ.” St. Lazarus is still considered the patron saint of Larnaca, and a week before Orthodox Easter, the townspeople celebrate the Resurrection of Lazarus, carrying the icon dedicated to him, which is stored in the church the rest of the time, through the streets of the city.
The church of Panaya Angeloktistos, according to legend, was built by angels. The name of the church is translated “built by angels.”
Salt Lake located in the area of Larnaca Airport. According to legend, St. Lazarus turned into a salt lake a man who refused to give him a bunch of grapes. In winter, flocks of pink flamingos fly to the lake.