Cyprus

Official name: Republic of Cyprus

Area: 9,250 square kilometers (3,571 square miles)

Highest point on mainland : Mount Olympus (1,951 meters/6,401 feet)

Lowest point on land : Sea level

Hemispheres : Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 2 P.M. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 227 kilometers (141 miles) from east-northeast to west-southwest; 97 kilometers (60 miles) from south-southeast to north-northwest

Land boundaries : None

Coastline: 648 kilometers (403 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

The largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia, Cyprus is located in the extreme northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. It is 71 kilometers (44 miles) south of Turkey, 105 kilometers (65 miles) west of Syria, and 370 kilometers (230 miles) north of Egypt. Its average width is between 56 kilometers and 72 kilometers (35 miles and 45 miles). The long, narrow Karpas peninsula in the east, combined with the broader shape of the rest of the island, has led people to compare the island's shape to that of a skillet or frying pan.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Cyprus claims no territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

The climate is Mediterranean, with sharply defined seasons. There are hot, dry summers between June and September; rainy winters from November to March; and short, changeable spring and autumn seasons in between. Annual rainfall averages around 50 centimeters (20 inches). Precipitation is highest in the area of Nicosia and lowest on Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains.

S EASON M ONTHS A VERAGE TEMPERATURE : °C ELSIUS (°F AHRENHEIT
Summer June to September 21°C (70°F) to 37°C (98°F)
Winter November to March 5°C (41°F) to 15°C (59°F)

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

Two mountain ranges and the central plain between them, called the Mesaoria, dominate the topography of Cyprus. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western parts of the country, accounting for roughly half its total area—including the southwestern Nicosia District, all of the Paphos and Limassol districts except their coastal plains, and the western Larnaca District. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies a far smaller area, with lower elevations.

Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided into autonomous northern and southern sectors, separated by what is known as the Green Line. The Turkish sector north of the line, whose self-proclaimed government is recognized only by Turkey, comprises 37 percent of the island. The Greek sector, whose government is recognized internationally, takes up 59 percent. The remainder belongs to a buffer zone controlled by the United Nations.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Cyprus is located at the far northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

Seacoast and Undersea Features

Cyprus has no notable coastal or undersea features.

Sea Inlets and Straits

Cyprus has a number of bays, including Famagusta Bay and Larnaca Bay in the east, the Akrotiri and Episkopi bays to the south, and the Khrysokhou and Morphou bays to the northwest.

Islands and Archipelagos

At the northeasternmost tip of Cyprus are the small islands of Cape Andreas known as the Klidhes.

Coastal Features

Cyprus's coastline is rocky and heavily indented, with a number of bays and capes. Capes include Apostolos Andreas to the northeast, Elea and Greco to the east (enclosing Famagusta Bay), Gata to the south, Lara to the west, and Arnauti and Kormakiti to the northwest. The coast is fringed with sandy beaches.

6 INLAND LAKES

Cyprus has few permanent lakes. Two large saltwater lagoons near Larnaca and Limassol on the southern coast dry up every summer and are filled by the winter rains.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

A network of rivers flows in all directions down the Troodos Mountains. Even the largest of these, the Pedieos, is a winter river that becomes a dry course in the summer. So do Cyprus's other major rivers, including the Kouris, the Serakhis, and the Yialias, which, like the Pedieos, flows eastward to Famagusta Bay.

8 DESERTS

There are no desert areas on Cyprus.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

The name of the Mesaoria Plain, which means "Between the Mountains," describes its location between the island's northern and southern mountain ranges. It stretches from Morphou Bay in the west to Famagusta Bay in the east. This flat, low expanse is the country's agricultural heartland and home to the capital city of Nicosia. Coastal lowlands, varying in width, surround the island.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

The jagged slopes of the narrow Kyrenia Range stretch along the country's northern border for some 161 kilometers (100 miles), giving way to foothills as they extend into the Karpas Peninsula in the east. This mountain range is also known as the Pentadaktylos range, because its most famous peak has a five-fingered shape. Its highest peaks, including St. Hilarion and Buffavento, are barely half as high as Mount Olympus, the country's highest point, located in the Troodos mountains to the south. The rugged Troodos mountain range is the single most conspicuous feature of Cyprus's landscape. Secondary ranges and spurs veer off at many angles. Mount Olympus is centrally located in the heart of these mountains, which extend across the southwestern portion of Cyprus from the Akamas Peninsula at the island's northwestern tip. To the southwest, the mountains descend in a series of stepped foothills to the coastal plain.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

There are no notable caves or canyons in Cyprus.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

There are no notable plateaus in Cyprus.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

There are no man-made features affecting the geography of Cyprus.

DID YOU KNOW?

Cyprus has been an independent nation only since 1960 when it gained its independence from the British Crown. It is the youngest state in the Mediterranean region.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Bulmer, Robert. Essential Cyprus . Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 1998.

Hellander, Paul D. Cyprus . London: Lonely Planet, 2000.

Thubron, Colin. Journey into Cyprus . New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990.

Web Sites

Kypros-Net Home Page. http://www.kypros.org/ (accessed March 10, 2003).

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus home page. http://www.trncwashdc.org/ (accessed June 26, 2003).

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