Year of EU entry: 2004

Political system: Republic

Capital city: Nicosia

Total area: 9 250 km²

Population: 0.8 million

Currency: euro

Cyprus tucked away in the top right hand corner of the Mediterranean is so close to Europe, Asia and Africa that it rightly, claims to be a stepping stone to three continents. Its warm Mediterranean climate, its delightful landscape of contrast and its rich culture heritage make Cyprus one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

An island whose rich dramatic history can be traced back over nine thousand years; an island so coveted over the centuries that it has been invaded and claimed by a fascinating mixture of civilizations from near and far (Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Frankish, Venetians, English, Turks) all of which have left their culture and shaped its character.

An island whose archaeology stems from the Neolithic Age, the Ancient Greeks and the Roman period; where churches and monasteries still stand from Byzantine times; castles and palaces from the days of Crusaders and Frankish Lusignans and splendid city walls from Venetian days.

 Cyprus is the hottest, driest island in the Mediterranean. It typically enjoys 340 days of sunshine a year. The rainy season is from November to March, with most of the rain falling between December and February. The spring season is mild. Early May can be windy, and by the middle of May the temperature begins to rise, and during July and August, it can reach well above 30 degrees centigrade. Autumn extends well into November.