Cyprus has a population of about 800,000, 77% of which are Greek Cypriots. The main language is Greek, although English is spoken almost everywhere too. French and German are also spoken, but not as widely. The local currency is the Cypriot Pound, divided into 100 cents.
Cyprus is an independent sovereign republic and has a presidential system of government, administrated from the capital, Nicosia. Parliament has a single chamber, The House Of Representatives, and the President is elected separately by the people.
Since the Turkish invasion of 1974 the island has been divided into two, and the northern areas still remain under Turkish military control. Only recently have visitors been allowed across the border, and Cyprus's EU membership has now accelerated the need for a solution to the situation.
The main towns of Cyprus are Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos, with smaller towns like Agia Napa and Polis becoming increasingly well-known for attracting tourists. Cyprus has long been popular with travellers, and its beauty and glorious weather have been the inspiration of many writers and artists. The numerous archaeological treasures are a sight to behold, so make sure you have a camera and a good guide-book!
The villages of Cyprus offer a wonderful contrast to the towns. Each village is different from the next and each offers its own unique and memorable moments reflecting the slower pace of life, closely linked to the passing seasons. The villages have interesting architecture, diverse crafts and colourful folklore to discover - but the one thing they all have in common is that they will always welcome you with warm Cypriot hospitality.