Thesis Statement: Cyprus is one of the major touristic centers in the Mediterranean because of its natural beauty, significant citizens and cultural heritage.
- A brief introduction to the history of the island
- The factors of being Cyprus the island of tourism (Thesis statement)
- People in town and village
- Brief History of The Island
Like most other countries lying on the Mediterranean coast, Cyprus has been part of ancient history. The island has been central to conflict between East and West. This situation has continued even in the modern ages as Turkey and Greece have been through a very long and bitter conflict over the island in the past three decades. In 1991, the United Nations passed a resolution urging the creation of a federal Cypriot state made up of two politically equal communities. In 1994, the European Union ruled that all Cypriot exports must have authorization from the official government which excludes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This led to more Turkish involvement in the defense and foreign policy of Turkish Cyprus. Despite all these conflicts and problems, and without considering the political side that one would take, every visitor to Cyprus knows that Cyprus is the island of enjoyment. In short, Cyprus is one of the major touristic centers of the Mediterranean because of its natural beauty, significant citizens and cultural heritage (Encarta World Atlas, 4).
- Factors Related To Tourism in Cyprus
Geographically, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. It lies in the eastern corner of the Mediterranean basin. It is situated between the South of Turkey and the west of Syria, stretching 138 miles from the western coast to its easternmost tip, and 95 miles from north to south. The island’s total area is 3,572 square miles (Purcell, 16-17). For decades, Cyprus’s economy has depended on agriculture due to its arable land. Most of the population is involved in farming even though most farmers use simple methods, and even though rainfall levels are considered insufficient. The most important crops in Cyprus are potatoes, grapes, citrus fruit and olive. Livestock breeding is also an important activity on the island, especially sheep and goats, mainly important for the production of diary products such as cheese and yogurt. On the other hand, the island is famous for certain minerals, especially copper from which the island derives its name. Nevertheless, mining activities have been reduced significantly in past years (Purcell, 43-49).
Two mountainous ranges distinguish the nature of the island. The Kyrenia range runs northeast to form the island’s panhandle. The Trodos range rises out of the island’s wide Mesaoria plain. The presence of these two ranges results in a unique natural view due to rugged cliffs and cool cedar forests (Home, 159-174).
While the mountainous ranges stand inside the island, the beaches stretch all around the island. These beaches are characterized by their sandy nature and clear turquoise waters. These waters provide perfect conditions for sailing, skiing and all kinds of water sports. Limassol, the second largest city on the island is situated at the most beautiful sea shore. Since the climate and the coasts of Cyprus are so attractive to tourists, the government has enhanced and encouraged the building of villas and furnished apartments along the coast. It has also encouraged investment in summer and water sports. All through the summer and even through mid autumn, beaches are very crowded with tourists from all over the world (Purcell, 51).
One of the major reasons which attracts millions of visitors and tourists to Cyprus is the island’s climate. The average annual range of temperature falls between 35 and 45 F. In summer, Cyprus enjoys a very sunny and dry weather inside the island, and a sunny and humid climate on the coasts. In winter, even though the weather tends to be cold, most of the days are sunny and bright. It is not strange therefore to see tourists from cold countries such as Sweden and Finland enjoying sunbathes during the winter sunny days on the island’s beaches. At the same time, one can take an hour’s drive to the Trodos Mountains to enjoy a skiing adventure (Purcell, 17).
The people of Cyprus are unique in their individuality and warmth. Their behavior and nature is the product of thousands of years of culture. Cyprus has been the crossroads of world events for centuries. Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, British and Islamic civilizations had all passed through the island, enriching its culture and history. The most influential, however, had been the Turkish occupation from 1571 to 1878 and the British which lasted until 1960. Cypriots have a unique ability to make strangers feel at comfortable and at home. The warmth and the unhurried pace of daily life are attractive to foreigners from all over the world (Purcell, 19-23).
Cyprus achieved independence from Great Britain in 1960. However, the island was by then poor and underdeveloped. After years of development and modernization, the island was attacked by Turkish forces in 1974. A substantial area of the northern part of the island is occupied by Turkey today. This invasion led to a dramatic mass migration of Greeks and Turks in opposite directions, and the two groups remain geographically separated with the Greek Cypriots in the South and the Turkish in the Northern third of the island. Even the capital Nicosia is divided by a physical barrier policed by troops from the United Nations (Purcell, 19-23).
- People in Town and Villages:
The fact that Cyprus has undergone a very quick development, especially in the cities, has resulted in a growing difference between the people in the towns and those in the villages. The people in towns are very civilized, cultivated and educated. They mainly work in services, especially in companies, institutions and businesses, in addition to engineering and medicine. The towns are a mixture of ancient sites and modern buildings. By contrast, the villagers are mostly illiterate, living a slower and simpler life which emphasizes agriculture and family ties. Their homes are very traditional, mainly flat-roof houses made of mud brick. In the mountains, dwellings built from white stone and tiled roofs are very common. However, both city dwellers and villagers in Cyprus share a very important factor: they both wait for the weekend to go out and enjoy their time. Cypriots in general remain warm, welcoming, always smiling and above all, they consider that a visit to their island is a compliment. Besides, touristic cities such as Limassol are unique in the mixture they show between the ancient and the modern. For example, the shops in Limassol sell handmade and ready made products. The buildings are also a mixture of ancient and modern sites which attract foreigners (Purcell, 19-26).
The official language in Cyprus is Greek. However, in the occupied territories, it is Turkish. Despite this, both Greek and Turkish are taught in schools and universities. English is widely spoken all over the island, especially in the main towns and cities, and more specifically in restaurants, shops, hotels and other service areas. Because the Greek alphabet differs a lot from Latin alphabets, most tourists tend to learn some Greek which enables them to read signs and to communicate with Cypriots. The most commonly used words in Cyprus are Parakalo which means please; Sygnomi which means excuse me; Calimera which means good morning and Kalinechta which means goodnight. It is important to point out that the Greek dialect used in Cyprus differs a lot from that used in Greece. The Cypriot dialect tends to be stronger, more stressful and mainly influenced by the village culture of the island. However, many argue that Socrates and other ancient Greeks used the Cypriot dialect in their communication and writings. Yet, even though foreigners learn formal Greek, they can still use it to communicate easily with Cypriots (Purcell, 69-72).
Culturally, Cyprus is one of the richest sites in the Mediterranean. Museums, castles, temples, churches and mosques reflect a very rich culture which is considered to be a growing attraction for tourists from all over the world. A visitor from Lebanon, Egypt, Greece, Britain, or any other Mediterranean culture will certainly find some cultural remains left by his or her ancestors on the island. However, uniqueness can easily be seen in the Cypriot folk art which is slightly similar to the Greek folklore. Cyprus is also rich with the castles built during the 13th and 14th centuries, especially the famous Kyrenia Castle which was built with the construction of thick walls around an ancient Roman fort. Limassol in specific, is a very important cultural site. Many festivals are celebrated there round the year. The wine festival is of great importance and it is celebrated in September. This festival is related to ancient religious meanings, but today it continues as one of the joyful celebrations in the city. Another major festival in the city is the Limassol festival in which the inhabitants of the city share their joy and fun with the visitors from all over the world. It is not difficult to say that it does not matter much whether it is night or day in Cyprus, especially that the night is a very active time in the towns and cities. For example, one can choose from dining to dancing, to enjoying folklore and many others such as watching a play for Shakespeare. Cypriot food is served day and night, especially the Moussaka and Souvlaki. This is in addition to the famous Cypriot potato which is cooked in a unique way and then filled with different toppings and fillings, making it a great delight. More romantic in Limassol is to watch a Greek drama in an ancient theater under the light of a Cyprus fullmoon.
In conclusion, Cyprus is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. It is a very attractive site for millions of tourists from all over the world. The Cypriots are a very warm and welcoming people whose warmth attracts strangers to them. They have the ability to make strangers feel at home. With its culture, history and beauty, Cyprus is really a place to visit to spend a very marvelous vacation.
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