Driving Directions Cyprus

CYPRUS is an island republic which lies in the eastern Mediterranean about 85 kilometers or 53 miles south of Turkey. It has been unofficially partitioned since 1974 – the northeastern portion forming the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The island’s shape somewhat resembles a saucepan with the “handle” formed by the long, narrow Karpas Peninsula pointing northeastwards towards Turkey. A range of mountains extends along much of the northern coast with a still higher range, the Troodos Mountains, in the center and southwest. Between the mountains lies the extensive Messoria Plain. The highest point is Mount Olympus (1,951 meters or 6,401 feet) in the southwest.

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Forests, mainly confined to the mountain slopes, cover about 13 percent of Cyprus and include cedar, cypress, pine and juniper trees. Native wildlife is poorly represented except for birds, many species of which use the island as a stopover point during migration. The island has a Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and mild, moist winters during which most of the annual rainfall experienced.

Agriculture accounts for about 17 percent of the land, and the Mediterranean climate contributes towards the great variety of crops grown, such as early potatoes, vegetables, cereals, tobacco, olives, bananas, and grapes. The grapes used for the strong wines and sherries for which Cyprus is famous.

The main mineral found is copper while asbestos, gypsum and iron pyrites are also important. Fishing is a significant industry but, above all, the island depends on visitors and it is the tourist industry which has led to a recovery in the economy since 1974.

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