- Cyprus, with a land area of 9251 square kilometres, is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. Its nearest neighbours are Turkey (75km) and Syria (105km) respectively. The capital, Lefkosia or Nicosia is over 900km from Athens and only 250km from Beirut. The island’s highest point, at 1952m, is Mount Olympus.
- The official population (of the whole island) stands at just under 900,000, of which 75.4 percent are Greek Cypriot (and therefore Orthodox Christian), ten percent Turkish Cypriot (and therefore Muslim) and 14.6 percent expats.
- The government of the Republic of Cyprus (and therefore de jure of the whole island) is a democracy which, since 2004, has been a member of the EU. North Cyprus, occupied by Turkey since 1974, has declared itself to be the “Turkish Republic of North Cyprus”, but is recognized internationally only by Turkey. Since 2003 the number of crossing points on the dividing (and UN-administered) Green Line has increased to seven. Attempts to reunite the island are on-going.
- Over 1 million Britons visit Cyprus each year (42 percent of total arrivals). The fastest growing group of visitors are Russians (over 470,000 in 2012).
- Famous people of Cypriot origin include singers George Michael, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Peter Andre and Tulisa Contostavlos (N-Dubz), actress Angela Bowie (ex-wife of David), sportspersons Marco Baghdatis (tennis) and Muzzy Izzet (Premiership football), celebrity chef George Calombaris (Masterchef Australia), businessmen Stelios Haji-Ioannou (founder of easyJet) and Asil Nadir (of Polly Peck fame) and artist Tracey Emin.
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