Cyprus is the largest island in the eastern Mediterranean, and is situated south of Turkey, north of Egypt and southeast of Greece.
Historically, Cyprus is situated on a crossing point between Europe, Asia and Africa. More over, Cyprus is well known as the island of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, who, according to legend, was born there.
The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia (202,4 thousand population). Among the biggest cities are Limassol (177 thousand), Larnaca (72 thousand), Paphos (48 thousand). Cyprus is divided into 6 administrative districts.
Since Turkey occupied the island in 1974, Cyprus is divided into Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities with a neutral so-called Green Line separating the two parts.
Total area of the country - 9,25 sq. km
Population - 825,9 thousand
Republic of Cyprus is a presidential democratic republic, where the President is both head of state and head of government. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament. The House of Representatives or parliament has 59 representatives, which are elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The Council of Ministers is appointed jointly by the president and vice president. Currently there are eleven ministries.
Cyprus has been divided, de facto, into two parts. Since 1974 the internationally-recognised government of the Republic of Cyprus controls the southern two-thirds of the island - Greek part, and the separatist Turkish Cypriot authorities control the northern one-third - the Turkish part. However, Turkey aside, all foreign governments recognise the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island of Cyprus.
Cyprus is an EU member since May 1, 2004 and a member of Euro zone since January 1, 2008.
Cyprus is an agrarian-industrial country with developed tourist, finance and commercial sectors. Its per-capita GDP is slightly lower than that of France, Germany or Italy, but slightly higher than the EU average. Cyprus has been sought after as a base for several offshore businesses, due to its highly developed infrastructure.
Economic development of Cyprus is under the influence of the island division into two parts. The Greek Cypriot economy is more prosperous but highly susceptible to external shocks. From the beginning of the 2008 monetary policy is dictated by the European Central Bank.
The economy of the Turkish-occupied area is dominated by the public sector, trade and tourism. Because the Turkish-Cypriot de facto administration is recognized only by Turkey, it has had much difficulty arranging foreign financing. The Greek part of the country is more prosperous than the Turkish one, which is heavily dependent on financial aid from Turkey.
The Cyprus currency is Euro (since January 1, 2008).