The people of Cyprus are renowned for their warm welcome and consider visitors to their Island as a compliment – one that is repaid with genuine hospitality, summed up in a Greek word philoxenia: friendship towards their guest. In a world of ever increasing violence Cyprus has a remarkably low crime rate and from just one visit to the Island one can understand why. The pace of life is leisurely, the people kind and helpful, always ready with a smile. Cypriots are hard workers and resilient in as much as they have withstood and accommodated a succession of invaders throughout their long history.
The towns of Cyprus present a modern cosmopolitan atmosphere blended with historic buildings and ancient monuments. Imposing colonial and classic style buildings rub shoulders with well designed contemporary hotels, apartment blocks and attractive shopping streets some narrow and quaint and others that are thoroughly modern. By contrast life in the villages follows a much slower pace reflecting the importance of agriculture, cottage industry and family ties. Traditional flat roof village houses made of mud and brick are a common sight, while stone houses with tiled roofs can be seen in the mountainous areas. Many village houses have a traditional oven (fourno) for homemade baking and courtyards covered in vines.
With a long and well documented history it comes as little surprise that Cyprus has a rich culture. Its importance has been honoured by UNESCO which has included nine of the Islands Byzantine mountain churches and the whole of Kato Paphos in its World Cultural Heritage List. Throughout the year there are frequent exhibitions, concerts, drama and folk festivals – hardly a week goes by without a celebration of some description, a colourful festival or homage to one of the numerous saints on name day. Age old crafts are passed from one generation to another and are faithfully carried out to this day by skilful hands and nimble fingers fashioning crafts both useful and decorative that would grace any home.
The main foreign language spoken is English along with Russian, German, and Dutch. The mother tongue is Greek with localised Cypriot dialect. There are many independent people and schools offering Greek lessons should you wish to learn the lingo!
The main religion is that of Greek – Orthodox but there are many smaller denominations catered for ie. Christian, Maronite, Armenian, Muslim and Apostolic.
This is of particular importance if visiting the many beautiful churches or monasteries on the Island. You are respectfully asked to avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless garments.