Country Overview

The Republic of Cyprus

At a glance

  • Population:  Approx. 1.2 million (est. July 2017)
  • Capital: Nicosia
  • Area: 9,251 sq km (3,572 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Greek, Turkish
  • Major religions: Christianity, Islam
  • Life expectancy: 78 years (men), 82 years (women)
  • Monetary unit: Euro since 1 January 2008
  • Main exports: Clothing, potatoes, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals
  • GNI per capita: US$27,788 (south); US$16,158 (north) (2015)
  • Internet domain: .cy
  • International dialling code: +357
  • Population Growth Rate: 89%
  • Unemployment rate: 5% (Eurostat, March 2017)
  • Net Migration rate: 8.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 with the Greek Cypriot population living in the south of the island, the Turkish Cypriot population in the northern part of the island, and UN Peacekeepers maintaining the Buffer Zone.

Government and administration

The Head of State is the President who is elected by the people for a five-year term in office. Executive power is exercised through an 11-member Council of Ministers appointed by the President. The House of Representatives is the legislative organ of the Republic and is also elected for a five-year term. The electoral system is based on proportional representation of the multi-party structure. This means that the electoral system represents each political party in proportion to the number of votes they receive.

Population and religion

The total population on the island is around 1.2 million. The majority Greek Cypriot population are Greek Orthodox; the Turkish Cypriot community follows Islam. In addition the Cypriot Armenians, Maronites and Latins make up linguistic and religious minorities. Furthermore, approximately one fifth of the population is made up of diverse groups of foreign nationals living in Cyprus.


The culture of Cyprus is made up of many influences because of its rich and diverse history. Essentially the island has experienced rapid economic development in a matter of a few decades. As a Mediterranean island, it is a popular touristic destination, and offers a mix of traditional and modern cultural experiences.

Despite some differences, including language and religion, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have many cultural, culinary and even linguistic commonalities.

Cypriots are highly educated at local and international universities, and although the island has many historic cultural influences, the modern lifestyle is a mixture of western and Mediterranean elements.

The family unit tends to remain a strong focus in society, while the modernisation process includes increasing opportunities for women in the workplace, an economic shift away from agriculture towards services and tourism, a strong emphasis on education, and a growing cultural scene that is supported by universities, museums, independent cultural organisations and funded programmes.

The population of Cyprus is growing more diverse with various minorities from all over the world present on the island, freedom of expression and religious practice tolerated, and a wide variety of foods being produced and imported from all over the world. Learning the language can help you to get to know the country more easily, and become more integrated in society.


The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. Greek is the main language used in the government controlled Republic of Cyprus. Turkish is the main language in the north of the island.

The Greek Cypriot dialect reflects multicultural influences in Cyprus over the centuries. Although the dialect is Greek, and includes some words from Ancient Greek, it has been enriched with many loan words from Arabic, Turkish, Italian and English.

Most people in Cyprus speak at least some English, which is used widely across the island. However, learning Greek will help you to communicate and integrate yourself and your family better into living in Cyprus.

Try these websites for some useful words and phrases to get you started:


Cyprus has a subtropical climate with a hot and dry summer season. The warm weather stretches from mid-May to mid-October. July and August are the hottest months, and temperatures can exceed 40C, especially inland. Winter is from November to February. In March it can be rainy and cool but steadily moderate.

You can read more about the Cyprus climate here.


Gaining independence from the British in 1960, Cyprus became an EU member state in 2004, and adopted the euro as its national currency in 2008. In 2011 it was listed by the IMF as one of the 31 advanced economies in the world.

Following a dip into recession and the financial crisis of 2013, Cyprus implemented tough austerity measures to restructure and diversify its economy.

Since the crisis, the economy has been showing growth and improvement. The main areas of economic activity in Cyprus are: financial and business services industry, professional services, shipping and maritime sector, real estate, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing, ambitions to become an energy hub in the region.


Cyprus operates on Eastern European Time (EET), which is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). In spring, clocks are put forward one hour to Eastern European Summer Time, and in autumn they go back to EET.


The Republic of Cyprus adopted the Euro in 2008, replacing the Cyprus Pound.