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Where Is Cyprus and What
Is It Known For?

Stone arch over sea, Agia Napa, Cyprus.

Cyprus is the largest island in the eastern Mediterranean and is situated south of Turkey. The two main mountain ranges are the Pentadactylos in the north and the Troodos in central and south-western part of the island. Between them is the fertile plain of Messaoria. Cyprus is well known as the island of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, who, according to legend, was born here.

In 1974, following 11 years of intercommunal violence and an attempted coup d'état by Greek Cypriot nationalists, Turkey invaded and occupied the northern portion of the island. The intercommunal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots share many customs but maintain distinct identities based on religion, language, and close ties with their respective "motherlands." Greek is predominantly spoken in the south, Turkish in the north. English is widely used. Cyprus has a well-developed system of primary and secondary education. The majority of Cypriots earn their higher education at Greek, Turkish, British, and other European or American universities.

The economy of the Greek south is based mainly on specialist agriculture and tourism, through shipping and offshore banking are also major sources of income. The Turkish north depends on agriculture, tourism and aid from Turkey. Cyprus joined the European Union in May 2004.

Cyprus has hot dry summers and mild winters.

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