Tucked away in the easternmost corner of the Mediterranean Sea lies Cyprus. An island republic of spectacular beauty with sandy beaches enclosed by rugged cliffs, cool cedar forests, scented orange groves and gentle meadows blanketed in wildflowers.
A sophisticated country, whose nine-thousand-year cultural legacy infuses East and West. An historic island, the third largest in the Mediterranean , where modern travelers retrace the footsteps of figures as diverse as St. Paul , Alexander the Great and Leonardo da Vinci. And a romantic island, once Anthony's gift to Cleopatra and where, according to mythology, the goddess Aphrodite first emerged from the sea. In Cyprus , one can share a meze - a table laden with up to thirty "little" culinary delicacies - with friendly locals in a charming stone village. Witness artisan crafts made according to ancient traditions. Wind surf, sail, snorkel and even snow-ski in the most cosmopolitan resorts. Luxuriate in five- and four-star hotels, or while away your time in quaint village inns. There are truly worlds to discover in this eminently accessible island, where the service is extraordinary and the people (often English-speaking!) are as warm as the Mediterranean sun.
The whims of history have endowed Cyprus with an incomparably rich heritage, making it a world-renowned destination for anyone interested in art, history, and culture. Stone Age ruins, Greek temples, Roman theaters, Venetian structures and Byzantine churches cover the island. Golden icons, colorful frescoes and archaic statuary are among the artifacts that will captivate you, taking you back centuries.
Modern cultural interests abound as well. The museums of Cyprus feature the expressive works of late 20th century artists. While theatres present contemporary drama and elegant concerts - often under the stars.
Gourmets appreciate another legacy of Cyprus ' many-layered history. The Greek, Venetian, British, and Near East cultures have all lent their hand in creating a cuisine unlike any other. Almost every port and mountain village has a specialty: whether it be a variety of the renowned Cypriot wine, a special goat cheese, or a uniquely prepared lamb dish, new sensations await even the most urbane palate.
Inveterate shoppers, too, have much to celebrate. Stroll through the glittering jewelry stores, handicraft centers and local boutiques. Delicately woven Cypriot lace, hand-turned pottery, and regional paintings and sculptures are among the souvenirs and gifts travelers most often bring home.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are the Troodos Mountains , a rugged region that hikers, campers, and nature-watchers call paradise. In spring, the range is a dazzling carpet of wildflowers (as is all of Cyprus , home to myriad blossoming plants - over one hundred species found solely on the island). In Spring, Summer and Fall, there are walking trails and panoramic vistas for all to enjoy. And in winter, astonishingly, skiers hit powder in the mountains of Cyprus .
When the thoughts of some turn to bed, night owls begin to plan their evenings. Cyprus is famed for hospitality that knows no hours; tavernas, night clubs, bars, and discos that draw international crowds can be found in every major town. For those who love a good party but don't want to stay up all night, there are wine festivals, Carnival revelry, village fairs and many other island celebrations.
Families enjoy the wide variety of activities the island holds for both adults and children. Couples find themselves happily alone on empty beaches or wandering through quiet villages. Singles and youthful travelers come for fast-paced fun and conviviality. It's easy to see why Cyprus has become a magnet in itself as well as a natural stopping-off point on trips to Israel , Jordan , Egypt , and Greece .
Rich in history yet replete with modern amenities, relaxing and effortless yet full of surprises, Cyprus is irresistible to everyone. And has been for 9,000 years.
Data taken from www.cyprustourism.org
The official web site of the Cyprus Tourism Organization.