Cyprus a Well Visited Island or What?

By: Kev Moore

There is little doubt that the beautiful Island paradise of Cyprus has seen many visitors over the years. However they have not all been your regular tourist and for many of them a holiday was the last thing on their minds. Cyprus was originally rich in copper deposits and gets it's name from translation of the word copper from the Greek Kupros. For this reason and the Islands strategic position in relation to the middle East many Nations have wanted to claim her for their own. The orginal settlers on Cyprus were there from the Neolithic age with evidence of settlements along the North coast. The first civilization was Hellenic or ancient Greek and it is this culture which has survived to this day. At one time there were 10 ancient Greek kingdoms on the Island and each one would have been governed independently This is in itself quite remarkable when one considers the number of civilizations that have ruled the Island over the centuries.

The first people to arrive and spoil the party were the Assyrians who only hung around until the Egyptians turned up to spoil their fun too. Although over the next few centuries the Egyptians came and went a few times they too were displaced firstly by the Persians. They were at the time real busy taking over much of the known world so they had quite a big army and lots of rugs too. Despite having nice rugs the Persians were no match for Alexander the Great who really was great at making war and expanding his own empire. So they left with their tails between their legs back to Persia leaving Alex to get on with ruling Cyprus along with his ever expanding empire. Anyway some time after this period the Egyptians popped back for another longer visit and they were still in Cyprus up until 58 BC when the romans turned up. After some serious negotiations between Mark Anthony, Julius Caesar and queen Cleopatra the Island ended up as part of the Roman Empire.

Actually the Romans were great (unless you happened to be a gladiator) because they were real good at making roads and many of the modern roads in Cyprus follow their originals. The Romans had other skills too like plumbing and conquering the world to mention just a few. Despite all their good points however their empire eventually disintegrated around them too and now they just make great looking clothes and fast cars. After the fall of the Roman empire Cyprus became part of the Byzantine empire controlled from Constantinople. The Byzantine's built a lot of basilicas around the Island and some of them remain to this day should you fancy taking a peek at one or two. In 1191 however King Richard the Lionheart turned up on one of his crusades and after taking over Cyprus sold it to the Knights Templar. I guess they either didn't like the place much or they were offered a quick profit because they sold it on to some bloke called Guy de Lusignan.

Then the Venetians turned up who were great with blinds and pretty nifty with fortifications too. In fact some of the walls they built around Famagusta and Nicosia remain to this day. Despite them making such a great job it unfortunately didn't stop the Ottomans invading Cyprus in 1571 which was actually a bit of a relief for the Inhabitants. Although the Venetians did trendy blinds and great stonework they were a real pain to live with. In fact they massacred thousands of residents in Famagusta just because they complained about the high taxes they levied against the town. Anyway the Ottomans (Turks) have been around since dispite the British taking over from 1878 until 1960 when Cyprus gained independence. The Brits must have loved the place though because they keep coming back year after year. This time however its a friendly invasion and the Cypriots love it too.The Island is thriving under a huge holiday home property boom and she continues to draw those visitors to Cyprus.

Cyprus Guide
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Cyprus Guide
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles