Welcome to the Island of Cyprus, where the sun, crystal clear blue waters, lash green nature, hospitable culture and love for good food will impress you. Cyprus is the third largest Island of the Mediterranean.
If you look at the map of Europe, it becomes clear why the history of Cyprus is one of numerous raids and conquests. For many neighbouring countries and their monarchs Cyprus was used as a base in the Mediterranean as well as a source of natural resources and tax collection. The Greeks who brought civilization throughout history were subjected to endless attacks by Assyrians, Persian, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Latin Crusaders, Turks and even the British. Although the conquerors constantly replaced each other the Greek civilization has not lost its leading position.
It still remains as the Island of love, birth place of Aphrodite, full of charming landscapes, dramatic coastlines; many still quite unspoiled. An Island full of history with grassroots of archaeological sites and antiquities scattered around the Island, dating from the Stone Age through to the Roman Empire.
The Island of unlimited fun is ready for you to explore and enjoy. We invite you to discover the beauty of this little paradise, travelling with confidence in our very capable hands.
We thought it would be interesting to write some of the traditions and customs that one may come across amongst the Cypriot people.
Some of these are traditional only to Cyprus, but the majority stem from Greek culture, and have been adopted and sometimes adapted over the years by Cypriots.
One of the first aspects of the Cyprus culture experienced by foreigners to Cyprus is the warm welcome. Cypriots are known worldwide for the genuine and sincere hospitality and friendliness. The words 'Kalosorisate' (Welcome!) and 'Kopiaste' (Come join us!) are frequently called to locals and foreigners alike.
Unlike the Christian Easter, Orthodox Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon of the vernal equinox, so the date varies each year. Cyprus Easter 2013 is from Friday 3rd May (Good Friday) to Tuesday 7th May (Easter Tuesday), and in 2014 both Orthodox and Christian Easters will coincide on the same dates, Friday 18th April (Good Friday) to Tuesday 22nd April.
Orthodox Easter follows a period of 50 days of lent, during which fasting takes place. Easter in Cyprus generally last for 5 days, from Good Friday, through to the following Tuesday. Most major shops and businesses will close for much of the Easter period. On Easter saturday, everybody heads for the churches for the midnight sermon.
Upon exit from the church, they can be heard greeting each other with the words "Christos anesti", which means 'Christ has arisen', and others may reply "Alithos anesti" , which means 'indeed he has arisen'. Candles and bonfires are lit, and fire crackers are let off all around the island.
This is the end of fasting, and most people go home to eat traditional easter soup Cypriot Easter Soup(mayeritsa) and flaounes, which are traditional easter cheese pastries.
Easter Sunday is a day of rejoice, feasting, drinking, singing and cracking red dyed eggs. The idea of the eggs is to tap your egg hard against your opponent’s egg, and the person who holds the last uncracked egg will be lucky. It is mostly children who play the eggs, but many adults do too.
Barbeques will be lit up all around the island as spring lambs are roasted on the spit, and the wine flows freely.
Cyprus cuisine is much like the Greek cuisine. The Cypriot cuisine involves appetizers, delicacies and salads, main dishes and sweets. There is also the traditional Cyprus coffee and other traditional beverages brewed on the island.
In Cyprus you will find restaurants to suit all palates and budgets. Prices range which helps make according to the type of food served and the location. Waiters always speak English, your visit a culinary experience to remember.
The best way to get acquainted with Cypriot food is to order a meze, in one of the many Cypriot taverna's and restaurants.
In the summer you can enjoy your meal at one of the many open air tavernas, usually decorated with vines and, in some instances, offering live Cypriot music.
If Cypriot food is something you don’t want to stick to during your whole visit, there is nothing to worry about, as in the whole of Cyprus you can find plenty of restaurants which offer a wide variety of international cuisine, going from Mexican to Chinese.
Most of the international fast food chains have outlets in Cyprus, and you will also find local versions serving kebabs or more traditional dishes.
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