Cyprus

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Facts About Cyprus

Area: 9251 sqkm (3608 sqmi)

Coastline: 648 km

Natural resources: Citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, wheat, copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment.

Literacy rate: 98% (2003 est.)

Official Holidays in North Cyprus:
Jan 1 - New Year's Day
Feb 1-4* - Kurban Bayram (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Apr 23 - National Sovereignty and Children's Day
April 1- Labour and Spring Holiday
May 19 - Ataturk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day
20 July Turkish Intervention
Aug 1 Establishment date of T.M.T (Social Resistance Day)
Aug 30 - Victory Day
Oct 29 - Republic Day
Nov 15 Republic Day of T.R.N.C
Nov 14-16* - (End of Ramadan) Ramazan or Seker Bayram

PS: Muslim festivals (*) are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximations. This means Ramadan and Kurban Bayrams are realized in different dates for every year. In general,the date of Ramazan Bayrami and Kurban Bayrami would be skipped depending on the period of '10 days before' the last celebrated date. For instance: If Ramadan Bayram is celebrated in Feb 1,2004, for the next year (2005), it should be approximately realized in Jan 21. The skipped period between Bayrams is permanent which is the '10 day before' the last celebration date.

History of Cyprus

For the visitor to understand and fully appreciate the island's many historical sites a short introduction to 9,000 years of habitant is very beneficial.

The early settlers most probably came from the nearby Mediterranean countries clearly visible from Cyprus' shores.

The Early and Middle Bronze Ages (2300-1600 BC) saw the first real towns and commercial centers developing going through expansion and trade.

The next stage in development was the Iron Age.

The dawn of the classical period saw an attempt by the islanders to throw off the Persian rule, with the result that large areas in rebellion were defeated and only parts of the island were freed.

After Persian Rule came the Hellenistic Period. Click to enlarge

The first Governor from Rome was Marcus Portius Catto who had the task of implementing the annexation of the island. He arrived in 58 BC and began almost four hundred years of the Roman period.

The split with the Roman Empire brought Cyprus under Byzantine rule with the capital city being Constantinople, and the eastern empire ruled from Alexandria. Guy de Lusignan bought the island and began a period of 300 years of French Rule.

Venetian Rule followed. However, all their efforts eventually proved in vain, when after almost eighty years, in which building work had been the main project, the Ottomans landed at Larnaca in 1570. The Ottomans invaded, led by Lala Mustafa Pasa, and put Nicosia under siege. The period of Ottoman rule began.

Click to enlargeAt the beginning of 19th century it was discovered there was works in secret with the connivance of the Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus to drive all Turks out of Greece The British, worried that the Russians would pose a threat to the Suez Canal, were quite happy to accept the offer of governorship proposed by the Ottomans. In 1878 an agreement was reached and Cyprus came under British control and occupancy. Enosis, union with Greece which would have taken place had Greece accepted the British offer in 1915; now become an issue of paramount importance to the local people.


EOKA was against continuing British rule, independence was granted to Cyprus in 1959.

In 1974 Turkish armed forces landed on the island and took over 40% of Cyprus. The country remains divided despite frequent attempts of reunification.

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Geography
Cyprus is the third largest island situated in the north eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea, southern coast of Turkey and the western shore of Syria. Its neighboring lands at the nearest coastal points are Turkey 40 miles north, Syria 60 miles east, Lebanon 108 miles south-east and Egypt 230 miles south. The island lies between the latitudes 34° 33' and 35° 41 north and longitudes 32° 15' and 34° 35' east with total area of 9,251 square kilometers (3,572 square miles).

North Cyprus is some 100 miles long, 40 miles across at its widest point and has a total area of 1357 sq. miles or nearly one third of the whole of the island.

The geography of North Cyprus is characterized by mountains, plains and beaches. The two mountains are Troodos and Besparmak which are separated by the Central Mesaoria Plain that extends the length of the island from east to west. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western portions of the island and the Besparmak runs along most of the north coastline.

To the south of the Kyrenia range lays the plains of Mesaoria, is used for the production of cereal crops such as wheat, barley and oats.

The nature/flora of Cyprus is varied enough to please everyone, from the visitor who just wants to see valleys full of anemones to the serious botanist. Undoubtedly, spring is the time for anyone who wants to see the most prolific color and greatest variety of flower.

Cyprus has one of the most clean and unspoilt sandy beaches in the world which 25% of the Green Turtles of the Mediterranean visit Cyprus to lay their eggs during the months of July and August.

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Transportation

Bus Services
Almost all villages are connected with the nearest town by local buses. Bus operation is limited to once or twice a day. Regional bus companies provide more routes. In the main cities the buses operate frequently during daytime and in certain tourist areas, during summer, their timetables are extended till midnight.

Taxi Services
Rural Taxis are to be found at taxi stands only. The charges are reasonable, although there are no meters to display the fares. It is advisable to agree upon the fare with the driver before setting off. The system of sharing a taxi with another passenger traveling to the same destination (called Dolmus) also operates widely in North Cyprus.
This is a 24 hours service of urban taxis provided in all towns. Taxis can be booked by phone or be hired from their base station. Urban taxis are provided with taximeters and charging commences upon the entrance of a passenger.

Car Rentals
There is no public transportation between Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus, although rental cars are available from larger towns and you can drive across the border. Traffic in Cyprus circulates on the left, as in Britain, and the traffic signs are international, with good dual carriageways connections between major towns.

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Health

Emergency Phones
A list of important emergency phone numbers and useful phone numbers in Cyprus.

Emergency Phone Numbers for
Nicosia(North), Kyrenia, Famagusta, Guzelyurt, Iskele
First Aid
112
Fire
119
Forest Fire
177
Police
155
Phone Directory
192
Telephone
161
Electricity
188
Water
Nicosia
2285221
Kyrenia
8152118
Famagusta
3665332
Guzelyurt
7142018
Iskele
3712521

Hospitals
Health facilities are generally of a high-quality standard. The latest technology and operating techniques are standard, with heart bypass surgery and kidney transplantation now routine in hospitals.The emergency departments of all hospitals are manned with English-speaking personnel, although it is advisable to seek the assistance of an interpreter for more complex medical matters. Emergency medical treatment, administered in the Accident and Emergency department, is free to international tourists. International travelers are, however, advised to take out full medical insurance before departure. No health agreement exists with the UK.

Phisicians, Clinics and Health Centres
Cyprus has a very high standard of medical services. Hospitals, private clinics and medical centers are equipped with the latest facilities.
For non-emergency cases there are many good doctors' surgeries, clinics and health centers in Cyprus, several with English speaking doctors or translators.

Dentists
Dentists, and dental specialists, are available everywhere and their fees are quite low compared to European standards. Low cost international private medical insurance is available for non-Cypriot people living in Cyprus. Dentists are of a high standard and dental surgeries are well equipped with the latest facilities.

Pharmacies
Most pharmaceutical products in Cyprus can be bought directly over the counter. There are various pharmacies on the island and many stay open late and some even 24hrs. Non prescription medicines are easily available and reasonably priced.

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Things to Know
Religion
The Greeks are Greek Orthodox Christians which represent 78% of the population while the Turks are Muslims represents 18% of the population and Maronite, Armenian, Apostolic, Latin, and others 4%.


Climate
Cyprus has a typical Mediterranean climate, warm and rather dry, with rainfall mainly between November and March. In general, the island experiences mild wet winters and dry hot summers which are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. The higher mountain areas are cooler and moister than the rest of the island.

Languages
The official languages are Greek and Turkish with English often used as a second language and widely understood by both ethnic groups.

Currency
The official currency in North is Turkish Lira (TL) and the currency in South is Pound (CP) however the English sterling is highly accepted.

Electricity
Throughout Cyprus, voltage is 220/240 volts AC and sockets are usually British type with 3 pins.

Time
Cyprus operates on Eastern European time, which is two hours ahead of GMT.

Traffic
In Cyprus traffic circulates on the left, the traffic signs are international and seat belts must be worn. Maximum speed is 100 km/h and vehicles entering Cyprus must be insured upon arrival.

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