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Cyprus is situated in the north-eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea, at the cross-roads of Europe, Asia and Africa. This strategic location of the island has played an important role in its continuing development into a financial and tourist centre. With an area of 9,251 sq. km., Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia. The capital of the island is Nicosia, with a population of more than 150,000. It is situated roughly in the centre of the island and is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. Limassol situated in the south, has more than 110,000 inhabitants, is the main commercial port in Cyprus, and is a booming tourist resort. Larnaca, with over 50,000 inhabitants, and in the south-east of the island, is the island's second commercial port, and is also an important tourist resort, whilst Paphos, with over 30,000 inhabitants is a fast developing business, agricultural and tourist area. In addition to the above main towns, are the towns of Kyrenia and Famagusta in the northern and eastern parts of the island respectively, which are currently under illegal occupation by the Turkish army. Cyprus enjoys perhaps the best type of Mediterranean climate with about 340 warm and sunny days a year. The light rainy season is usually confined to the period between November and March, with snow in the mountains occurring between December and April. During the six months of summer, the sun shines for an average of 11,5 hours a day, and around 5,5 hours during the cloudiest months of December and January.
Arriving In Cyprus
Cyprus, being an island, can be reached only by sea or air. The island has two airports, one at Larnaca, and the other at Paphos. There are more than thirty airlines which operate from these airports and most European capitals can be reached by their direct flights. The two main sea ports, are located at Larnaca and Limassol. Within these two towns,there are also yachting marinas which cater for the yachting enthusiast/traveller.
Recreation and Night Life
During the long summers you may enjoy any of the huge range of watersports offered on the island, which include water skiing, diving, snorkelling, sailing etc. Horse riding is also very popular as is walking, both on the lowlands and mountains. If more leisurely pastimes are more to your liking, Cyprus offers a variety of sandy beaches and rocky coves to laze away the days. In winter, many of the hotels offer up their tennis courts and leisure facilities for a reasonable charge. Horse riding and walking remain popular, and Troodos even offers snow skiing for the more energetic during December to April. Horse racing takes place weekly in Nicosia and a number of other sporting clubs exist which encourage memberships. Eating out has become a local habit and is part of the entertainment in Cyprus. There is a wide variety of restaurants, catering for all tastes. Along with local tavernas which provide local dishes, there are restaurants which offer international cuisine (eg. French, Chinese, Italian, Indian). Prices vary, however, as a generalisation one may quote 40,00 euro for two people at a good restaurant for a three course meal, whereas this is reduced to 30 Euro at a taverna. After dining there is still plenty to do. Night clubs, both European and Cypriot, with good live music, discos and a variety of bars are readily found in all the main towns of the island, and most small towns and large villages have a number of bars. There are six Cypriot/Greek T.V. stations available at the moment, as well as 2/3 local T.V. stations. Approximately 30% of the programmes are broadcast in English and all foreign films are broadcast in their original language, with Greek subtitles. There are also numerous radio stations, which are mainly broadcast in Greek. In addition to these though, is a British Forces Radio which broadcasts on a 24 hour basis in English.
The island offers two independent newspapers printed in English, however all international magazines, national papers and periodicals are available on the island, usually with a delay of only one day from their date of issue.
Festivals and fairs take place all the year round, and are often linked to the many religious days that the Greek Orthodox church celebrates. The month of May offers the International State Fair, and the Flower Festival, whilst the opportunity to sample many Cypriot wines and local dishes at the Limassol Wine Festival in September should not be missed. The Carnival in February, and Easter celebrations (usually in April and dependent on the Orthodox calendar) are also not to be missed. There are several horse riding schools, shooting clubs, aeronautics', sailing, motorcar and motorcross, tennis, and football clubs etc which encourage membership, as do the several international associations and cultural societies, which include the Lions and Rotary Clubs, Round Table, Toastmasters International, Armenian Centre, British Council, French Cultural Centre, and the Goethe Institute etc.