About Cyprus

The third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia), Cyprus is situated in the eastern Mediterranean, just south of the Anatolian peninsula (or Asia Minor) of the Asian mainland; thus, it is often included in the Middle East (see also Western Asia and Near East). Turkey is 75 kilometres (47 mi) north; other neighbouring countries include Syria and Lebanon to the east, Israel to the southeast, Egypt to the south, and Greece to the westnorthwest. However, historically, politically and culturally Cyprus is closely aligned with Europe – the Greek Cypriots with Greece and the Turkish Cypriots with Turkey. Historically, Cyprus has been at the crossroads between Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, with lengthy periods of mainly Greek and intermittent Anatolian, Levantine, and British influences. Though these influences may cause some to consider Cyprus as a transcontinental island, such a term is properly applied only to nations whose boundaries straddle more than one continent e.g. Turkey, Russia and Egypt.

The central plain, the Mesaoria, is bordered by the Kyrenia and Pentadactylos mountains to the north and the Troödos mountain range to the south and west. There are also scattered, but significant, plains along the southern coast. The island's highest point is at the summit of Mount Olympus 1,952 metres (6,404 ft), in the heart of the Troödos range. The major cities in Cyprus are the capital Nicosia (Lefkosia in Greek, Lefkoşa in Turkish), Limassol (Lemesos in Greek), Larnaca, Paphos, Famagusta (Gazimağusa or Mağusa in Turkish, Ammochostos in Greek), and Kyrenia (Girne in Turkish, Kerynia in Greek).