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Beauties of Cyprus

Cyprus

About Cyprus
 
Fall in love with Aphrodite''''s isle, where legend has it the goddess of love arose from the waves, and discover ancient UNESCO-listed sites, wonderful beaches and crystal clear waters. Although compact, this attractive island offers a rich variety of landscapes from pine-clad mountains to golden sandy beaches.
 
Even if you’ve been here before, there’s always a new world to discover. Cyprus lies at the crossroads of three continents, where East meets West and a new experience awaits for you under the sun every day. Where Championship Golf courses, inviting beaches, and breathtaking mountain trails lie around 
luxurious hotels.
 
Its area is 9,250 square kilometres, stretching 240 km, from west to east and 96 km from north to south. The population of Cyprus is approximately 818,200. Almost 2.7 million tourists visit the island each year. The 10,000 years of tumultuous history in Cyprus, entwined with mythology, has created a country with character and traditions all of its own. It is also an island of great scenic beauty. A startling variety of landscapes veer from sandy beaches to charming unspoiled villages nestling in vine-clad foothills; from fertile citrus and olive groves to lofty forests of pine and cedar.
 
Cyprus has undergone significant modernisation following its entry into the European Union. A modern country with an ancient history, its stone villages, glitzy resorts, scented citrus groves and perfumed mountains are waiting to be discovered.
 
 
Cyprus Culture, Weather and History
 
Renowned for its healthy and pleasant climate Cyprus enjoys dry summers and mild winters. The sun shines for more than 300 days per year. Minimum temperatures in the winter are 6°C to 13°C and warmest temperatures in the summer vary between 21°C to occasionally 40°C. It is the general consensus that the natural beauties of the island, its unspoiled environment and archaeological wealth and the traditional hospitality of its people, make Cyprus an ideal place for holidays, relaxation and retirement.
 
Today Cyprus is a modern country which effortlessly marries European culture with ancient enchantment.
 
The Cyprus mystique is as much a product of its legendary beauty as it is of millennia of competing empires, all unable to resist the strategic allure of the island. The perfect location, of course, never goes out of style. But close as Cyprus may be to the world's centre stage, it is a distinctive place that can feel blissfully apart from it all. 
Abundant copper in antiquity put small Cyprus on the map. In fact Cyprus (Kypros in Greek) gave copper its Latin name: cuprum. In the late Bronze Age, Mycenaean Greeks settled on Cyprus and established trade links with Egypt and the Aegean islands. This is also the period when ceramic art first flourished. As centuries drifted by, the island came variously under Persian, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Roman rule. It was during the latter era that Marc Antony, enraptured by the island's sweet wines, gave Cyprus as a gift to his lover, the matchless Cleopatra. After a long period of Byzantine domination, European awareness of Cyprus surged with the Crusades. In 1191 a fierce sea storm led Richard the Lionheart to put his ship into port at Lemesos. He claimed the island as his own. 
From 1489 to 1571 the flag of Venice flew in Cyprus, until which time the Ottoman Turks moved in. That era ended in 1878 when Cyprus became part of the British Empire. Despite a turbulent past, or perhaps because of it, the Cypriots themselves are a resilient people. They have always remained a distinct culture - different even from their closest cousins, the Greeks - and retained their unique character. The Republic of Cyprus achieved independence in 1960 and is now a member the European Union. 
From independent travellers to honeymooners, archaeology aficionados to friends of nature, every visitor to Cyprus finds the island offers layer upon layer of discovery. Food lovers delight in farm-fresh halloumi cheese and delectable meze, the local specialty appetizers that mix Western ingredients with Eastern zest. Add it all up and you have an ideally-situated island that truly has no equal. A place that measures up to its mystique: Cyprus.
 
Government and Regime
 
Government
Cyprus is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government. Under the 1960 Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office. The President exercises executive power through a Council of Ministers appointed by him. Ministers may be chosen from outside the House of Representatives.
 
Cyprus is a member of the United Nations and U.N. Agencies. It is also a member of the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and many other international Organisations.
Following the signing of the EU Enlargement Treaty in Athens on April 16, 2003 and its subsequent ratification by the Cypriot House of Representatives, Cyprus officially joined the EU on May 01, 2004.
 
 
Health & Safety / Inoculations
 
Medical Services and Hospitals Dialysis Units
Medical care-needs in Cyprus are met through: 
1. Government General Hospitals
2. Private Clinics/Hospitals
 
Government General Hospitals and Private clinics/hospitals are mostly concentrated in urban areas, while health centres, sub centres, and dispensaries function in the rural areas, providing a network to meet the medical needs of the whole population.
 
All Government General Hospitals as well as some private clinics have Accident and Emergency Departments for emergency cases. (See also title “Emergencies”).
Medical treatment and assistance is offered free of charge to international tourists in case of health emergencies at the Accident and Emergency Department of Government Hospitals/Institutions. Out-patient and in-patient treatment is provided against payment of the prescribed fees, except for  EU citizens who produce form E111, issued by their country's health care authorities.
Holiday-makers can also make use of their health insurance, which covers medical expenses, provided that this insurance covers the length of their stay on the island.
 
Almost all brands of manufactured medicines are available in Cyprus. Local newspapers list pharmacies which are open during the night and on weekends/holidays, as well as the names of doctors who are on call on weekends/holidays.
 
Information on private doctors on call on weekends / holidays is given by the following telephone numbers: 
Lefkosia: 90901422 Pafos: 90901426
Lemesos: 90901425 Ammochostos: 90901423
Larnaca: 90901424
 
Most hotels make arrangements for Medical services for their guests upon request.
The majority of doctors are English speaking.
Private doctors’ visiting hours (on weekdays): 09:00-13:00 hrs and 16:00-19:00 hrs.
 
 
FOOD SAFETY AND DRINKING WATER QUALITY
 
In Cyprus the safety of food and drinking water quality is monitored by the Health Inspectors of the Medical and Public Services of the Ministry of Health and the Local Authorities. Food and drinking water are of high quality, absolutely safe and no food or water-bore diseases occur.
 
Water is safe to drink in Cyprus, as water pollution is negligible and every home has fresh running drinking-water.
All the District Water Boards are in constant collaboration with the Government Health Services and the General Laboratory for the prevention of any toxicological and bacteriological infection of water in Cyprus.
Tap-water in hotels, restaurants, public premises, etc., is safe to drink.
 
Cyprus is also free from dangerous infectious diseases. No vaccination requirements for any International Traveller.
 
 
Business / Shopping Hours
 
Public Service Hours
Winter Period (September 1 - June 30)
Monday - Friday: 07:30 - 15:00
Summer Period (July 1 - August 31)
Monday - Friday: 07:30 - 15:00
 
SHOPPING HOURS
Winter Period (November 1 - March 31)
Mon, Tue, Thu : up to 19:00 hrs
Wednesday : up to 14:00 hrs
Friday : up to 20:00 hrs
Saturday : up to 15:00 hrs
Summer Period (April 1 - October 31)
Mon, Tue, Thu : up to 20:00 hrs
Wednesday : up to 14:00 hrs
Friday : up to 20:30 hrs
Saturday : up to 17:00 hrs
Summer afternoon recess Mon, Tue, Thu and Friday (June 15-August 31) from 14:00-17:00 hrs
 
OFFICES HOURS
September 15 - May 31
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 13:00, 15:00 - 18:00
June 1 - September 14
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 13:00, 16:00 - 19:00
 
Banking hours for the public:
Monday - Friday: 08:15 - 13:30
Monday: 15:15 - 16:45.
(May, June, July, August: Monday - Friday: 08:15 - 13:30)
 
Centrally located Banks provide "afternoon tourist services".
 
Banks at the Larnaka and Pafos International Airports provide services in the daytime, as well as a night service for most flights.
 
Banking facilities are also available at the Lemesos (Limassol) Harbour.
 
A number of Automatic Exchange Machines operate on a 24hrs basis in central places of all towns and the main tourist resorts Agia Napa and Paralimni. Most currencies and denominations are acceptable.
 
Hotels, large shops, restaurants, e.t.c. usually accept traveller’s cheques and major credit cards. Rates of exchange are published daily in the local press, and are also broadcast at the 10:00 o’clock News Bulletins by the CBC (except Sundays) on Second Radio Channel on 91.1FM.
 
Bank holidays are the same as Public Holidays plus Easter Tuesday. Christmas Eve is a working day for banks.
 
Shopping
Locally produced items, which are popular to visitors, include leather goods, woven goods, (curtains and tablecloths), ceramics, copperware, silverware (especially filigree), baskets and the famous traditional hand-made Lefkaritika lace. These can be purchased from the many souvenir shops found throughout the island and the Cyprus Handicraft Centres.
 
Cyprus wines and spirits, which have been famous for centuries, are also high on visitors’ shopping lists and can be purchased from supermarkets or grocery shops.
Shoes, shirts, imported textiles and spectacles are good value for money.
In most of the tourist areas, both souvenir shops and supermarkets remain open until late in the evenings, and all day on Sunday.
 
In towns, shops close at 19.00hrs during the Winter period (November-March) and at 20:30 hrs during the Summer period (April-October). As from 15th of June till 31st of August shops in towns close between 14:00 and 17:00 hrs for the summer afternoon break.
 
On Sundays, shops in towns are closed. On Wednesday and Saturday shops close at 14:00 hrs.
Just before Christmas and Easter, shops usually remain open until late in the evening.
Supermarkets close one hour later on Friday evening.
 
CHEMISTS PHARMACIES / DRUG STORES
They stay open during shopping hours. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of chemists which stay open until late at night, on Public Holidays and on Sundays are listed in the daily papers. They can also be traced through the following automatic telephones: Lefkosia: 90 90 14 12, Lemesos: 90 90 14 15, Larnaka 90 90 14 14, Pafos: 90 90 14 16 , Ammochostos: 90 90 14 13.
 
 
 
Schools
 
Children are required to attend school until they are age 15. Most stay on until they are 18 and gain a high-school diploma, which is required before they can apply for university or a job. All free schools are Greek-speaking. The Cyprus Government wishes to ensure that children from other EU countries continue their education while they are in Cyprus.
 
To facilitate this, children with other native languages who do not speak Greek can receive special lessons in the language so that they can go to a state school.
 
There are also more than 30 private English-speaking schools, of varying quality.
 
Pre-school education is offered by Greek-language state schools and private schools operating in other languages. It is provided for children aged from three years to five years and eight months. Attendance is voluntary.  There are also private and state baby nurseries for children up to three years of age.
 
Primary education is provided free of charge at state schools for children aged from five years and eight months to 11 years and eight months. Age is the only criterion for the entry of children into primary education. The school year is divided into three terms of three months, with attendance on five days of the week. The system of afternoon attendance is being extended to primary schools.
 
 
 
Currency / Banking Hours / Credit Cards
 
Cyprus Currency
 
The currency of the Republic of Cyprus is the Euro (€). It is divided into 100 Euro cents (¢).
 
Notes and coins currently in circulation are as follows:
 
Banknotes: €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10, €5
 
Coins: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro, 2 euros
 
 
 
 
Banking
 
 
Commercial banks in Cyprus offer a wide range of banking services in Cyprus pounds, as well as in foreign currencies, and have correspondents in most major cities around the world. They are also full members of the Society for Worldwide Interbrain Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). Commercial banking is based on UK banking law and practice and commercial banks are supervised by the Central Bank of Cyprus.
 
Banking hours for the public
 
·         September
Monday-Friday 08:15 - 13:00
Monday 15:15 - 16:45
 
·         October to April
Monday-Friday 08:30 - 13:00
Monday 15:15 - 16:45
 
·         May to August
Monday-Friday 08:15 - 13:00
 
Banks are closed at weekends and on public holidays and Easter Tuesday. Christmas Eve is a working day for banks.
 
Banks at Larnaka and Pafos International Airports provide exchange bureaux services on a 24-hour basis. Similar facilities are also available at Lemesos harbour.
 
There are many Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) outside most branches of banks in all towns and in the main tourist resorts of Agia Napa and Paralimni.
 
Hotels, large shops and restaurants normally accept credit cards and traveller's cheques. Banknotes of major foreign currencies are also acceptable. Rates of exchange are published daily in the local press and are broadcast through the media.
 
Further information of Cyprus's banking system is available at the Central Bank's website www.centralbank.gov.cy or the website of commercial banks.
 
·         Credit Card
 
Visitors in possession of any of the following international credit cards may contact the appropriate bank for the withdrawal of cash.
 
·         VISA Card
 
1.      Bank of Cyprus Ltd.
 
2.      Cyprus Popular Bank Ltd.
 
3.      Hellenic Bank
 
4.      Alpha Bank Limited
 
5.      National Bank of Greece
 
6.      Arab Bank
 
7.      Commercial Bank
 
8.      Co-Op branches.
 
9.      DINERS CLUB
 
10.     CARTE BLANCHE: Bank of Cyprus Ltd
 
·         MASTERCARD
 
1.      Bank of Cyprus Ltd.
 
2.      Cyprus Popular Bank Ltd.
 
3.      National Bank of Greece
 
4.      Hellenic Bank
 
5.      Alpha Bank
 
6.      Co-Op branches.
 
·         AMERICAN EXPRESS
 
1.      Cyprus Popular Bank Ltd.
 
 
More than 15.000 shops, restaurants and hotels accept at least one of the above Credit Cards. Establishments with P.O.S. accept also VISA ELECTRON and MAESTRO. Usually the Card symbol is displayed in the shop window or at the reception. Eurocheques and travellers cheques are also accepted by all banks, shops, restaurants etc.
 
 
This information has been provided by the Cyprus Tourist Organisation
 
 
 
Telecommunications
 
The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) is a corporate body established by law and is responsible for the provision, maintenance and development of telecommunications facilities, both local and overseas. Since the beginning of 2003 the telecommunications market has been liberalised so is now open for other telecommunication providers.
 
Services provided by CYTA include fixed telephony, mobile telephony (pay monthly and pay as you go), data transmission, telegraphy, maritime, TV transmission/ reception, private leased circuits, audio text, video conferencing, ISDN, DSL, Internet and ATM/Frame Relay.
 
 
Fixed Telephony Services
 
Customers can access from Cyprus essentially all countries in the world through telephone and telefax (for countries that do not support telefax service, telex is also available).
 
 
 
Off-peak Telephone Rates
 
CYTA offers reduced telephone rates (fixed telephony) for national and international calls during off-peak hours as follows:
 
-         National calls: 20:00-07:00 during weekdays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
 
-         International calls: 21:00-08:00 during weekdays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
 
 
 
Directory Inquiries
 
By calling the number 192, you can get a 24-hour service for directory inquiries regarding customers in Cyprus, whereas for foreign customers, country codes and area codes you can get information by dialing 194.
 
 
 
Public Card phones and Payphones
 
Public telephones of CYTA are installed at various central locations in all towns and villages as well as at International airports, harbours and other locations. There are three types of public telephones:
 
1.      Coin phones
 
2.      Outdoor card phones
 
3.      Indoor card phones
 
All public payphones can be used for both national and international calls. In all payphones, dialing instructions as well as charges rates are posted.
 
Tele-cards can be purchased at any CYTA shop, at banks, post offices, kiosks and other shops.
 
Public telephones of other providers are also installed at various central locations.
 
 
 
Prepaid calling cards (CYTA COMMcard)
 
CYTA COMMcard, is a prepaid calling card that allows you to make calls from your mobile phone, your hotel phone or any other fixed telephone and charge the calls to the card instead of the phone you are calling from. Using the service is very simple as you are guided all the way through a series of friendly prompts.
 
 
 
Visitors Yellow Pages
 
The Cyprus Visitors Yellow Pages is a new guide especially designed to give easy access to any information a visitor might need during his/her stay in Cyprus. In the guide a visitor can find useful tourist information, plenty of ideas for entertainment and leisure, maps and a comprehensive classified directory which can be used as a complete shopping guide. In the guide, the "Visitors Discount Card" is also included. This discount card can be used in a wide range of shops and enterprises that advertise in the guide, allowing you to obtain reduced prices for your purchases. The guide is available free of charge in most hotel rooms.
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