Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, can be one of the most exciting destinations to discover in Europe this summer. It is known for a wide range of experiences, including beautiful coastlines, picturesque landscapes, and lively culture. If you’re wondering what Cyprus is famous for, here are some of the top sights and things that make the island nation shine brightly among its Mediterranean counterparts.
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What Is Cyprus Known For?
Cyprus is famous for its fantastic beaches, clear blue waters, and Mediterranean climate which makes it an ideal vacation destination to relax and soak up the sun. In addition, you can discover its long history and exciting culture through the ancient ruins, beautiful churches, and charming little villages scattered throughout.
History, Culture, And Traditions Cyprus Is Famous For
A Country Full Of Celebrations
Much of the festive folklore of Cyprus comes from Greek inspiration and religious worship. But the Limassol Wine Festival is one of its best-known celebrations. It attracts the most tourists each year. Cypriots organize this festival between the end of August and the beginning of September. This festival celebrates the national passion for Cyprus’ flagship drink (Wine).
Other famous Cypriot celebrations include the Ancient Theater Festival and the deluge in Larnaca. The deluge is inspired by the story of Noah’s ark, in which various swimming and sailing competitions are organized to enjoy an active form of the sea.
Martoui is a tradition popular in Cyprus as well as in Greece, and some Balkan regions.
It involves the creation of a bracelet with twisted red and white thread. The red thread represents love for the beautiful, and the white thread represents purity. Children of Cyprus wear this bracelet on their hands from the 1st of March until March 31.
According to the Cypriot tradition, the Martoui protects their children from the first rays of the sun so that they don’t burn and destroy their beautiful skin.
The Tombs Of The Kings
The Tombs of the Kings is a famous site in Cyprus that UNESCO has recognized as a World Heritage. It is a vast cemetery within the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park.
Despite the name, it is important to note that no actual Kings or Queens are resting here. However, the tombs themselves are truly remarkable! They served as the final resting place for esteemed officials and prominent members of the court and government.
These tombs are special because they have Rhodian Amphorae or Jugs in them, which were put there as offerings during the burials. The jugs have handles with marks or seals on them, and they help archaeologists figure out how old they are and when they were used.
The link between copper and Cyprus is evident, starting with the name itself. The word “copper” is derived from the Greek word “Kyprius,” which means Cyprus. This is because Cyprus was once home to the world’s copper mines.
Copper mining on the island of Cyprus dates back to around 4000 B.C. The northern regions of Troodos were particularly known for their copper deposits.
Cypriots were famous for their expertise in metalworking, and during the time of the Roman Empire, they supplied a significant portion of the world’s copper demand.
Although copper mining in Cyprus has significantly declined recently and no longer contributes substantially to the economy, it is essential to acknowledge that Cyprus holds the historical distinction of being closely associated with the metal and giving it its name.
If you visit Cyprus, you can explore ancient and modern copper mines and copper museums. They will provide you with valuable insights into copper mining and production processes.
The Tree Of Wishes
At the entrance of St. Solomon’s crypt in Pafos, you can find a Wish-Fulfilling Tree that Cyprus is famous for.
When people visit the crypt, they tie handkerchiefs, ribbons, or other pieces of cloth to the branches. Each item represents a wish that the person has. This tradition is similar to what happens in India, where people tie special threads around trees that are believed to make wishes come true.
According to belief, when a handkerchief is tied to the tree with the intention and belief, it can grant fertility to women and reunite long-lost relatives. These stories and the tree’s reputed blessings have contributed to its popularity among visitors.
Today, people adorn Wish-Fulfilling Tree with vibrant ribbons and handkerchiefs of various colors. This creates a striking and beautiful sight within the serene catacombs of St. Solomon’s crypt.
A Safe Haven In Europe
Cyprus is famous for being one of the safest countries in Europe. Eurostat statistics confirm that Cyprus has a comparatively low crime rate, including robberies and violent offenses.
In today’s circumstances, where pickpockets often target tourists during peak travel seasons, it is reassuring that Cyprus does not face such concerns. While it is still important to exercise common sense when traveling, you can enjoy your time in Cyprus without worrying about encountering major crime issues. This makes it an ideal destination for a secure and enjoyable experience.
Cities And Travel Destinations Cyprus Is Known For
Magnificent Turquoise Blue Beaches
It comes as no surprise that these beautiful beaches with crystalline waters have become the main tourist attraction in the region. In fact, more than half the beaches in Cyprus are awarded the Blue Flag – an internationally recognized eco-label. Some of the most popular beaches Cyprus is famous for are in Ayia Napa, to the east of the island, featuring intense turquoise blue waters.
The paradisiacal coves of Paphos, such as Coral Bay, Faros, or Aphrodite Bay are also stunning spots. Aphrodite Bay is known for Petra Tou Romiou, the rock Cypriots believe to be the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love.
Cyprus is famous for its stunning Troodos Mountain range, which boasts captivating landscapes and a wealth of natural wonders.
The Troodos mountains can be a paradise for you if you are a nature enthusiast. Their lush greenery, beautiful villages, and wonderful views provide a perfect escape from the bustling coastal areas.
One of the famous mountains of the Troodos Mountains is Mount Olympus. Standing at an impressive height of 1,952 meters, this is the highest peak in Cyprus. During the winter months, the Troodos range transforms into a winter wonderland. You will find plenty of skiing and snowboarding opportunities on its snowy slopes.
Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus, and the city stands out for its division of governance. It is split between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Republic of Cyprus in the South.
Nicosia is also known for a range of museums, with notable mentions including the Byzantine Museum, the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, and the Cyprus Museum,
There is also a viewpoint on the 11th floor of the Ledra Observatory Museum where you can see the line that divides the island. It is called “The Green Line,” and it is the national dividing line of the country.
Following the capital city, Limassol is the largest urban destination on the island of Cyprus. It is a significant seaport and has become a popular tourism hotspot. The Old Town of Limassol is a fantastic starting point to begin your exploration of the city.
Make sure to visit the remarkable Limassol Castle, which is an impressive ancient landmark Cyprus is known for. Within the Old Town, you’ll also find Anexartisias Street, a shopping area, and Saripolou Square, a vibrant nightlife hub cherished by locals and visitors.
One of the most common facts about Cyprus is that it is home to numerous ancient sites, but Kourion stands out as the most famous one. It is a must-visit destination if you are planning to explore grand monuments and intricate mosaics.
The site is extensive, but the House of Eustolios is the main highlight. It showcases a collection of beautifully preserved mosaics.
If you have free time, you can also visit the large area of the Byzantine Basilica. It’s a pretty place in Kourion with columns spreading around and bits of colorful mosaic on the floor that makes the area even more attractive.
Landmarks And Architecture Cyprus Is Known For
The Castle Of Limassol
The Limassol Castle, located in the historic center and near the old harbor, is a popular tourist attraction with its imposing presence.
While the castle’s current structure you see was reconstructed during the Ottoman Empire’s rule around 1590, archaeological findings suggest that the initial castle’s history dates back even further.
It is even believed that this medieval castle may have been the city’s first Cathedral. This is because they have uncovered the foundations of Christian Basilica and Byzantine monuments from older periods of the 7th and 11th centuries.
Historically, the castle is famous as the site where Richard the Lionheart Berengaria held their marriage. Throughout its history, the castle has also served as a prison, with King Henry I being one of its notable prisoners.
Due to invasions and conflicts, the castle has undergone several restoration projects throughout time, preserving its historical significance. Today, the castle serves as a museum. There are also nice cafes around the castle where you can relax and imagine what life was like in the past.
The Musan Museum
Cyprus is famous for The MUSAN – Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa. It is also known as the underwater museum park, and you can probably guess its main highlight from the name. It features an underwater forest with 130 sculptures crafted by Reef artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
Both snorkelers and scuba divers have the opportunity to explore the underwater museum. Divers can go to the really deep areas of the park, while snorkelers can see the sculptures from the water’s surface.
Coral Bay, located in Paphos, is a beach that stands out for its stunning water and beautiful stones. Unlike many other beaches in the area that are rocky or pebbly, Coral Bay offers a sandy shoreline. This characteristic makes it highly popular, especially during the summer months when it can get quite busy.
The beach is in a pretty cove resembling a horseshoe with cliffs made of limestone. In addition to the clean and nice sand, it received a special Blue Flag award for its clear, blue-green water. The beach is also well-known for being shallow and calm, so it can be a great place for you if you want a peaceful and safe place to enjoy.
Food Cyprus Is Famous For
Fasolada is a delicious and filling soup/stew made with white beans and vegetables. It is widely considered the national dish of the country.
The recipe typically includes potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, tomato sauce, fresh or dried beans, and olive oil. This hearty dish holds a special place in the Mediterranean diet and is believed to have originated in Greece.
Fasolada is typically served with fresh bread and drizzled with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Definitely try this classic dish for a taste of authentic Cypriot cuisine.
Soulva is a traditional Cypriot food typically prepared for special occasions such as Sunday dinners, parties, or holiday celebrations. This mouthwatering dish features large pork shoulder, lamb, or chicken chunks.
To make soulva, locals marinate the meat in lemon juice, olive oil, and aromatic herbs like thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. Then, they skewer and place it on a traditional Cypriot rotisserie grill called foukou, positioning it high over charcoal coals for slow roasting.
The skewers are carefully turned and adjusted throughout the cooking process to ensure even meat browning. They also add rosemary and bay leaves to enhance the delightful aroma.
When it comes to local delights, Cyprus is famous for its Halloumi cheese. The people of Cyprus have been making it for numerous centuries. Following an age-old recipe, this semi-hard, salted cheese is made by hand using goat and sheep milk.
This unripened, white cheese possesses a remarkable melting point, making it highly sought-after when grilled.
In 2021, the European Commission gave Halloumi cheese the acclaimed “protected designation of origin” or P.D.O. status. This means that only the cheese made in Cyprus can be called Halloumi.
Sports Cyprus Is Famous For
Football holds the title of being the most popular sport in Cyprus. The British introduced it to the country during the early 20th century.
As more and more people started playing the sport, the clubs realized that they needed a group to make official decisions. So, in September 1934, they created the Cyprus Football Association (C.F.A.). This allowed them to organize matches officially.
The C.F.A. became a member of FIFA in 1948 and joined UEFA in 1962, signifying Cyprus’ integration into the international football community.
The Cyprus Rally is a thrilling rallying competition in Cyprus. It is organized by the Cyprus Automobile Association and headquartered in Limassol. The event takes place on the gravel roads of the Troödos mountains.
The F.I.A. included the Cyprus Rally in its World Rally Championship from 2000 to 2006, showcasing its international significance. In 2007 and 2008, it became a part of the F.I.A. Middle East Rally Championship.
Although not commonly associated with skiing, Cyprus is famous for impressive skiing opportunities in the beautiful Troodos Mountains range. The Skiing Center in this region allows you to enjoy skiing activities against a clear blue Mediterranean sky.
From the start of January until the end of March, you can hit the slopes of Mount Olympus. It is just 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the Troodos Mountain ski resort.
Discover More Things Cyprus Is Known For
From the stunning beaches, delicious cuisine to rich culture, these are just some of the famous things in the Mediterranean country. Additionally, Cyprus is renowned for its wine-making tradition, with many local wineries producing high-quality wines that are recognized around the world. The island is home to many important archaeological sites, including ancient ruins and tombs that offer a glimpse into the island’s fascinating past.
It is a truly remarkable destination that has plenty to offer. You are sure to discover many more things Cyprus is known for when you visit.