Republic of Cyprus

Kypriaki Dimokratia

CAPITAL : Nicosia

FLAG : The national flag consists of the map of Cyprus in gold set above two green olive branches on a white field.

ANTHEM : Ethnikos Hymnos (National Hymn), beginning "Se gnorizo apo tin kopsi" ("I recognize you by the keenness of your spade").

MONETARY UNIT : The Cyprus pound ( C £) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 pound, and notes of 50 cents, and 1, 5, 10, and 20 pounds. C £1 = $1.851 (or $1 = C £0.54; as of February 2003). The Turkish lira ( TL ) of 100 kurus¸ is the currency in the Turkish Cypriot zone.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard. Imperial and local measures also are used.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Epiphany, 6 January; Late President Makarios' Day, 19 January; Greek Independence Day, 25 March; Cyprus National Day, 1 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Cyprus Independence Day, 1 October; Greek Resistance Day, 28 October; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Holidays observed by the Turkish Cypriot community include Founding of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, 13 February; Turkish National Sovereignty and Children's Day, 23 April; Turkish Youth and Sports Day, 19 May; Turkish Victory Day, 30 August; Turkish Independence Day, 29 October. Movable Christian religious holidays include Green Monday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Monday. Movable Muslim religious holidays are observed in the Turkish Cypriot zone.

TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.


After independence in 1960, Greek and Turkish became the official languages. Since 1974, Greek has been the language of the south and Turkish the language of the north. English is also used extensively.


Cyprus was admitted to UN membership on 20 September 1960 and is a member of ECE and all the nonregional specialized agencies. Cyprus is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Council of Europe, G-77, and the WTO, as well as a signatory to the Law of the Sea. A cooperation agreement between Cyprus and the EU became effective in June 1973, and an application for membership was pending as of 2003.


Year-round fishing is carried on mostly in coastal waters not more than 3.2 km (two mi) from shore. The fish in Cyprus waters are small from the lack of nutrient salts, and the catches are meager. The 2000 catch was 2,308 tons. Fish exports in 2000 were valued at $6.4 million. There is no deep-sea fishing. Sponges of good quality are taken, mostly by licensed fishermen from the Greek Dodecanese Islands.


Insurance companies, mostly British, make available life, fire, marine, accident, burglary, and other types of insurance. Auto collision insurance and workers' compensation are compulsory. At the beginning of the 1990s, more than 50 insurance companies operated in Cyprus. All insurance companies in Cyprus must be members of the Insurance Association of Cyprus, and foreign ownership is subject to government approval.


Cyprus has no territories or colonies.


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Ioannides, Christos P. Realpolitik in the Eastern Mediterranean: From Kissinger and the Cyprus Crisis to Carter and the Lifting of the Turkish Arms Embargo. New York: Pella, 2001.

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