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• The whole of Cyprus was once at the bottom of the sea. Tectonic movement pushed it up and it is now one of a handful of places in the world where geologists come to study the ocean floor without having to get wet. An area of Nicosia is called Athalassa, meaning ‘without the sea', where you can find fossilised shells in stones on the ground.

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 • The first signs of human habitation on the island date back 10,000 years. One of the oldest is the neolithic settlement of Khoirokoitia with its reconstructed round huts.
/cyprus/banners/Shillourokambos 2.jpg  • The earliest known evidence of a special link between humans and cats was found when excavations in the ancient neolithic settlement of Shillourokambos unearthed the grave of a 30-year-old villager who died 9,500 years ago and the skeleton of a cat buried less than 2ft away.
/cyprus/banners/copper1.jpg  • Famous for its copper in antiquity, Cyprus (‘Kypros' in Greek) may even have given the metal its Latin name, cuprum.
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 • The cult of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek mythological goddess of love and beauty, flourished in Cyprus. People came from miles around to take part in the celebrations in her name. Nowadays a modern version of the rituals connected with the cult are the ‘Anthestiria', or spring flower festivals.
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 • The dark, sweet, dessert wine, Commandaria, is acknowledged to be the oldest named wine in the world and probably the first ever to be given an ‘Appellation of Origin', having had the same name for eight centuries. It dates back to the days when the Hospitallers, the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, produced it at Kolossi castle on the outskirts of Lemesos (Limassol) where they had their headquarters or Commanderie. Richard the Lionheart is said to have enjoyed it greatly at his wedding in Cyprus and to have pronounced it "the wine of kings and the king of wines."
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• Mark Anthony gave Cyprus to the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, as a present in token of his love.

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• Cyprus was the first country the apostles Paul and Barnabas visited in their mission to spread Christianity and the first to come under Christian administration when they converted the island's Roman governor.

 

/cyprus/banners/museestbarnabas.jpg  • Tucked away in the pine forests of the Troodos mountains are Cyprus' painted churches with colourful frescoes on walls and apses. Ten of these have been put on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
/cyprus/banners/lace_02.jpg  • In 2009 the Lefkara Laces (Lefkaritika) were included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
/cyprus/banners/Richard the Lionheart, King of England & Berengaria of Navarre.jpg  • Cyprus was the site of a royal wedding when Richard the Lionheart, King of England, married Berengaria of Navarre in Lemesos (Limassol) in the Middle Ages, on his way to the Crusades.
/cyprus/banners/THE HELLENISTIC KYRENIA SHIPWRECK.jpg  • A small Greek merchant ship, one of the oldest in the world, which sank off the coast of Kyrenia in the 4th century BC was discovered complete with its cargo of amphorae with wine from Rhodes, millstones from Nisyros and thousands of almonds.
/cyprus/banners/Тηε mosque of the Hala Sultan Tekke.jpg  • The mosque of the Hala Sultan Tekke is one of the three holiest places in the Moslem world. It marks the site where Umm-Haram, a relative of the Prophet, fell off her horse and died during the first Arab raid of Cyprus in the 7th century.
/cyprus/banners/Eucalyptus 2.jpg Cyprus was the first place in the world from where malaria was eradicated, through pesticide spraying and the planting of eucalyptus trees to dry up the marshes during British rule in the 1950s.
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/cyprus/banners/kanakaria-rare 6th century mosaics.jpg  • In 1989 Cyprus sued an American art dealer who had bought a series of rare 6th century mosaics that had been stolen from the apse of the church of Kanakaria on the northern coast of Cyprus. The landmark of the trial created a precedent for subsequent legal action to recover items of cultural heritage. It meant that from now on no one, not even a good faith purchaser, can obtain title to stolen property.
/cyprus/banners/cyprus-mouflon_1201492c.jpg  • The largest wild animal on the island is the Cyprus moufflon, a rare type of wild sheep that is only found on the island and is the emblem of the island's national airline carrier.
/cyprus/banners/cyclamen.jpg  • The cyclamen has been declared the island's national plant and the Golden oak its national tree.
/cyprus/banners/the Duomo di Milano.jpg  • Legend has it that during Venetian rule of Cyprus, Leonardo da Vinci visited the village of Lefkara famous for its lace and bought a lace cloth for the main altar of the Duomo di Milano.
/cyprus/banners/Louvre.jpg  • One of the largest ancient pots ever unearthed came from excavations of the ancient city kingdom of Amathous, near Lemesos (Limassol) and is now on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

 

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