Study in European Cyprus

    Location and Geography

    CYPRUS is an island independent country located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, 97 km west of Syria and 64 km south of Turkey. It’s the third biggest in size island of the Mediterranean.


    • Total area: 9,250 km2
    • Land area: 9,240 km2
    • Comparative area: about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut
    • The island is 225 km from east to west and at most 97 km from north to south with a coastline of 648 km.
    • Its compact in shape except for a long, tapering peninsula to the northeast.


    Cyprus is fortunate to have one of the most agreeable climates in Europe , with 11 out of 12 months a year enjoying brilliant sunshine.

    Very cool, cotton clothes are recommended for the hot summer months. Jackets and light sweaters  may be required for the evenings during May and June, September and October, and warm clothes are worn during the winter months.

    Do not forget your sunglasses while in Cyprus . They are indispensable due to the intense brightness of our sunshine


    Republic. Mediation efforts by the UN seek to reunify the Greek and Turkish areas of the island under one federated system of government.

    History and population

    Cyprus was the site of early Phoenician and Greek colonies. For centuries its rule passed through many hands. It fell to the Turks in 1571, and a large Turkish colony settled on the island.

    In World War I, at the outbreak of hostilities with Turkey, Britain annexed the island. It was declared a Crown colony in 1925. The Greek population, which regarded Greece as its mother country, sought self-determination and union (enosis) with Greece. In 1955, a guerrilla war against British rule was launched by the National Organization of Cypriot Combatants (EOKA). In 1958, Greek Cypriot nationalist leader Archbishop Makarios began calling for Cypriot independence rather than union with Greece. During this period, Turkish Cypriots began demanding that the island be partitioned between the Greek and Turkish populations.

    Cyprus became an independent nation on Aug. 16, 1960, after Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed on a constitution, which excluded both the possibility of partition as well as of union with Greece. Makarios became the country’s first president.

    Fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots flared up in the early 1960s, and a UN peacekeeping force was sent to the island in 1965. On July 15, 1974, Archbishop Makarios was overthrown in a military coup led by the Cypriot National Guard. On July 20, Turkey invaded Cyprus, asserting its right to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority. Turkey gained control of 30% of northern Cyprus and displaced some 180,000 Greek Cypriots. A UN-sponsored cease-fire was established on July 22, and Turkish troops were permitted to remain in the north. In Dec. 1974, Makarios again assumed the presidency. The following year, the island was partitioned into Greek and Turkish territories separated by a UN-occupied buffer zone.

    Turkish Cypriots proclaimed a separate state under Rauf Denktash in the northern part of the island on Nov. 15, 1983, naming it the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.” The UN Security Council, in its Resolution 541 of Nov. 18, 1983, declared this action illegal and called for withdrawal. No country except Turkey has recognized this entity.

    In 1988, George Vassiliou, a conservative and critic of UN proposals to reunify Cyprus, became president. The purchase of missiles capable of reaching the Turkish coast evoked threats of retaliation from Turkey in 1997, and Cyprus’s plans to deploy more missiles in Aug. 1999 again raised Turkey’s ire.

    7000-3900 BC NEOLITHIC AGE

    Remains of the oldest known settlements in Cyprus date from this period. This civilization developed along the North and South coasts. First, only stone vessels were used. Pottery appeared on a second phase after 5000 BC


    Transitional period between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. Most Chalcolithic settlements are found in Western Cyprus, where a fertility cult developed. Copper is being discovered and exploited on a small scale.

    2500-1050 BC BRONZE AGE

    Copper is more extensively exploited bringing wealth to Cyprus. Trade develops with the Near East, Egypt and the Aegean, where Cyprus is known under the name of Alasia. After 1400 BC Mycenaean’s from Greece reach the island as merchants. During the l2th and 11th centuries. Mass waves of Achaean Greeks come to settle on the island spreading the Greek language, religion and customs. They gradually take control over Cyprus and establish the first city-kingdoms of Paphos, Salamis , Kition and Kourion. The Hellenisation of the island is now in progress.


    Cyprus is now a Greek island with ten cities. Remains of the oldest known settlements in Cyprus date from this period. This civilization developed along the North and South coasts. First, only stone vessels were used.


    The era of prosperity continues, but the island falls prey to several conquerors. Cypriot Kingdoms become successively tributary to Assyria , Egypt and Persia . King Evagoras of Salamis (who ruled from 411-374 BC) unifies Cyprus and makes the island one of the leading political and cultural centers of the Greek world. 333-325 BC the city-kingdoms of Cyprus welcome Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia , and Cyprus becomes part of his empire.


    After the rivalries for succession between Alexander’s generals, Cyprus eventually comes under the Hellenistic state of the Ptolemies of Egypt, and belongs from now onwards to the Greek Alexandrine world. The Ptolemies abolish the city-kingdoms and unify Cyprus . Paphos becomes the capital.

    58 BC - 330 AD ROMAN PERIOD

    Cyprus comes under the dominion of the Roman Empire . During the missionary journey of Saints Paul and Barnabas, the Proconsul Sergius Paulus is converted to Christianity and Cyprus becomes the first country to be governed by a Christian. Destructive earthquakes occur during the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD and cities are rebuilt. In 313 the Edict of Milan grants freedom of worship to Christians and Cypriot bishops attend the Council of Nicaea in 325.


    After the division of the Roman Empire Cyprus comes under the Eastern Roman Empire, known as Byzantium , with Constantinople as its capital. Christianity becomes the official religion. Empress Helena visits Cyprus and founds the Stavrovouni Monastery. New earthquakes during the 4th century AD completely destroy the main cities. New cities arise; Constantia is now capital, and large basilicas are built from the 4th to 5th century AD. In 488, after the tomb of St. Barnabas is found, Emperor Zenon grants the Church of Cyprus full autonomy and gives the Archbishop the privileges of holding a scepter instead of a pastoral staff, wearing a purple mantle and signing in red ink. In 647 Arabs invade the island under Muawiya. For three centuries Cyprus is constantly under attack by Arabs and pirates until 965, when Emperor Nikiforos Fokas expels Arabs from Asia Minor and Cyprus Kingdoms . The cult of the Goddess Aphrodite flourishes at her birthplace Cyprus . Phoenicians settle at Kition. The 8th century BC is a period of great prosperity.


    Isaac Komnenus self proclaimed ‘Emperor’ of Cyprus behaves discourteously to survivors of a shipwreck involving ships of Richard’s fleet on their way to the Third Crusade. Richard in revenge defeats Isaac, and takes possession of Cyprus marrying Berengaria of Navarre in Limassol where she is crowned Queen of England. A year later he sells the island for 100,000 dinars to the Knights Templars who resell it at the same price to Guy de Lusignan, deposed King of Jerusalem.


    Cyprus is ruled on the feudal system and the Catholic Church officially replaces the Greek Orthodox. Which though under severe suppression manages to survive. The city of Ammochostos is now one of the richest in the Near East . It is during this period that the historical names of Lefkosia, Ammochostos and Lemesos are being referred to as Nicosia , Famagusta and Limassol respectively. The era of the Lusignan dynasty ends when the last queen Caterina Cornaro cedes Cyprus to Venice in 1489.

    1489-1571 VENETIAN PERIOD

    Venetians view Cyprus as a last bastion against the Ottomans in the east Mediterranean and fortify the island, tearing down lovely buildings in Nicosia to reduce the boundaries of the city within fortified walls. They also build impressive walls around Famagusta, which were considered at the time as works of military architecture.

    1571-1878 OTTOMAN PERIOD

    In 1570 Ottoman troops attack Cyprus , capture Nicosia , slaughter 20,000 of the population and lay siege to Famagusta for a year. After a brave defense by Venetian commander Marc Antonio Bragadin, Famagusta falls to the Ottoman commander Lala Mustafa who at first allows the besieged a peaceful exodus but later orders the flaying of Bragadin and puts all others to death. On annexation to the Ottoman Empire the Latin leadership is expelled or converted to Islam and the Greek Orthodox Church restored; in time, the Archbishop, as leader of the Greek Orthodox becomes the people’s representative to the Sultan. When the Greek War of Independence breaks out in 1821, the Archbishop of Cyprus, Kyprianos, three bishops and prominent Cypriots are executed. The Muslim minority during the Ottoman period eventually acquires a Cypriot identity.

    1878-1960 BRITISH PERIOD

    Under the 1878 Cyprus Convention, Britain assumes administration of the island. It remains formally part of the Ottoman Empire until the latter enters the First World War on the side of Germany , and Britain in consequence annexes Cyprus in 1914. In 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquishes all rights to Cyprus . In 1925 Cyprus is declared a Crown colony. In 1940 Cypriot volunteers serve in the British Armed Forces throughout the Second World War. Hopes for self-determination being granted to other countries in the post-war period are shattered by the British who consider the island vitally strategic. After all means of peaceful settling of the problem are exhausted. A national liberation struggle is launched in 1955 against colonial rule and for union of Cyprus with Greece , which lasts until 1959.


    According to the Zurich-London Treaty. Cyprus becomes an independent republic on l6th August 1960. It is a member of the United Nations the Council of Europe the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. According to the above treaty. Britain retains two Sovereign Bases (158.5 sq. km) on the island at Dhekelia and Akrotiri- Episkopi. The 1960 Constitution of the Cyprus Republic proves unworkable in many of its provisions and this makes its smooth implementation impossible. In 1963 the President of the Republic proposes some amendments to facilitate the functioning of the state and the Turkish Cypriot community responds with rebellion. The Turkish Cypriot ministers withdraw from the Cabinet and Turkish Cypriot civil servants cease attending their offices while Turkey threatens to invade Cyprus . Since then the aim of the Turkish Cypriot leadership acting on instructions from the Turkish Government has been the partitioning of Cyprus and its annexation to Turkey . Using as a pretext the coup of July 1974 instigated against the Cyprus Government by the military Junta, then in power in Athens , Turkey invades Cyprus on July 20, 1974 violating all principles governing international relations and the UN Charter. As a result approximately 37% of the island is occupied, 40% of the Greek Cypriot population violently uprooted and thousands of people, including civilians, killed, ill-treated or disappear without trace. The continuation of Turkish military occupation and the violation of the fundamental human rights of the people of Cyprus have been condemned by international bodies, but until today Turkey refuses to withdraw from Cyprus and maintains the island’s division by the force of arms.

    Turkey has established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an illegal state, recognized only by Turkey and continues to maintain the division of the island through force.

    Following the signing of the EU Enlargement Treaty in Athens on April 16, 2003 and its subsequent ratification by the Cypriot House of Representatives, Cyprus has officially joined the EU on May 01, 2004.

    As of 1 January 2015, the population of Cyprus was estimated to be 1 184 652 people. This is an increase of 1.62 % (18 851 people) compared to population of 1 165 801 the year before. In 2014 the natural increase was positive, as the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by 5 782. Due to external migration, the population increased by 13 069. The sex ratio of the total population was 1.044 (1 044 males per 1 000 females) which is higher than global sex ratio. The global sex ratio in the world was approximately 1 016 males to 1 000 females as of 2014. See also map of the world by sex ratio of total population.

    Cyprus population 2015

    During 2015 Cyprus population is estimated to be increased by 19 156 people and reach 1 203 808 in the beginning of 2016. The natural increase is expected to be positive, as the number of births will exceed the number of deaths by 5 876. If external migration will remain on the previous year level, the population will be increased by 13 280 due to the migration reasons. It means that amount of people who moves into Cyprus (to which they are not native) in order to settle there as permanent residents (immigrants) will prevail over the amount of people who leaves the country to settle permanently in another country (emigrants).

    Population dynamics in 2015
    • Total area: 9,250 km2
    • According to our estimations, daily change rates of Cyprus population in 2015 will be the following:
    • 37 live births average per day (1.54 in a hour)
    • 21 deaths average per day (0.87 in a hour)
    • 36 immigrants average per day (1.52 in a hour)
    • The population of Cyprus will be increased by 52 persons daily in 2015.
    Cyprus population density

    Cyprus population density is 128.1 people per square kilometer as of March 2015. Density of population is calculated as permanently settled population of Cyprus divided by total area of the country. Total area is the sum of land and water areas within international boundaries and coastlines of Cyprus. The total area of Cyprus is 9 250 km2 according to the United Nations Statistics Division

    Society and Culture

    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 Plate smashing

    The smashing of plates is an old time Greek tradition which spread around many of the Greek islands including Cyprus. Demonstrated at weddings, and other parties and celebrations, plates would be thrown to the floor and smashed whilst singing and dancing. Previous to the plates, knives were thrown, in particular towards the feet of performing artists on stage, with the thrower shouting “Opa!” to signify respect to the artist and enjoyment of their performance. This practice soon died out due to many mis-haps and injuries, and soon the throwing of plates took over. It is said this custom is an expression of ‘Kefi’, which roughly translated means ‘the spirit of joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, or frenzy’. Plate smashing can still be found in some parts of Cyprus, and in Greece, however this tradition has also now mostly been replaced, in this instance with the throwing of flowers, due to the obvious ‘safety’ problems associated with many plates being smashed. In many bouzoukia or other modern establishments, girls with baskets or plates with flowers will go around the tables and sell them to the customers, who then throw them to the performers on stage

    Worry Beads

    The kompoloi, or string of beads, is a familiar sight in the hands of many Greek and Cypriot men. It became a popular form of plaything amongst men in Greece and many of the Greek islands. The word komboloi incorporates the word kombos, meaning the knot. The fascination and magic derived from these knots running through ones fingers may well have come from the thoughts conjured up from playing with the string of beads, which are always made with an uneven number of beads. The kompoloi is said to be more than just a means of passing time, it reflects a way of life. They are certainly relaxing, with the sound of the beads clocking together combined with the feel of the smooth beads between once fingers. The beads can be bought in many weights, sizes, colours, and materials and can make a nice cost effective gift, or a very expensive one.

    Tuesday 13th

    Unlike the western belief, in Cyprus the unlucky day is Tuesday the 13th, and not Friday the 13th.

    Evil Eye

    Some Cypriots believe that someone can catch the evil eye, or ‘matiasma’, from someone else’s jealous compliment or envy. After a person has caught the evil eye, they usually feel bad physically and psychologically. To avoid the matiasma, those who believe in it will often wear a charm; a little blue marble glass with an eye painted on it or a blue bracelet. Blue is believed to be the color that wards off evil eye, however, it is also believed that people with blue eyes are the givers of the matiasma.

    Kallikantzaroi - Christmas Goblins

    Kallikantzaroi are supposed goblin-like creatures that live in the center of the earth, and find their way into people’s homes via the chimney. Cypriots believe that they make all kinds of mischief such as dousing the fire, riding on people’s backs, braiding the tails of horses and making the milk sour. It is believed that they visit only at Christmas time.
    In order to keep the Kallikantzaroi away, the hearth is kept burning day and night throughout the twelve days of Christmas. As well as this, a family member will go around the house every day during these twelve days and bless the house, whilst sprinkling holy water around, for protection.

    Name Day

    You will notice that Birthdays are not such a celebrated event in Cyprus as they are in the UK, however Name Days are very much celebrated. Children are typically named after the Patron Saint of their region, with the eldest son often being named after his paternal grandfather, and the eldest daughter after her paternal grandmother. Because of this tradition, you will often find cousins with the same name. The Name Day is the feast day of the saint after which a child was named. Some Saint’s Name Days actually get celebrated more than one time per year. The tradition is for a party to be thrown on the person’s Name Day. A barbeque and buffet at the house is usually prepared and there is lots of singing, dancing and drinking. Invites are not usualy given to join the celebrations of a Name Day – friends, family and neighbours are just expected to visit. Some may only stay a short time, as they will have other friends or family with the same name to visit. It is customary to take a small gift to the person celebrating their name day, usually this would be flowers or a small plant. Each Greek Orthodox Church is also named after a saint, therefore there are also community celebrations for its Name Day, known as ‘Panigiria’, which include food, fireworks, and fairs. On the eve of the saint’s day, villagers and street-vendors may gather in the grounds of the patron saint’s church to sell local delicacies.


    The economy of Cyprus is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy,[19] and was included by the International Monetary Fund in its list of advanced economies in 2001.[20] Erratic growth rates in the 1990s reflected the economy’s vulnerability to swings in tourist arrivals, caused by political instability on the island and fluctuations in economic conditions in Western Europe. The economic situation is expected to get worse in 2014.
    On 1 January 2008, the country entered the euro zone and adopted the euro as its official currency, replacing the Cypriot pound at an irrevocable fixed EXCHANGE RATE of CYP 0.585274 per EUR 1.00.
    The 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, part of the wider Euro zone crisis, has dominated the country’s economic affairs in recent times. In March 2013, the Cypriot government reached an agreement with its Euro group partners to split the country’s second biggest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), into a “bad” bank which would be wound down over time and a “good” bank which would be absorbed by the larger Bank of Cyprus. In return for a €10 billion bailout from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Cypriot government would be required to impose a significant haircut on uninsured deposits, a large proportion of which were held by wealthy Russians who used Cyprus as a tax haven.[21]Insured deposits of €100,000 or less would not be affected


    The Republic of Cyprus is a unitary presidential representative republic, whereby the President of Cyprus is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government

    Living Conditions and Cost of Living

    North Cyprus Universities offer affordable tuition and fees as well as accomodation charges, whilst North Cyprus offers moderate living expenses. Estimated average living expenses for international students are 350-600 USD per month.

    Food and drinks bought from shops instead of eating out in restaurants can significantly be cheaper. An individual gets to spend around 100 USD every week for grocery items and beverages. All other shopping items as well as services are also very affordable in North Cyprus. Just to give you a broad idea, a haircut costs around 5 USD for men and 10 USD for women; a can of coke costs less than 1 USD and a Burger King meal costs around 5 USD. All in all, North Cyprus offer very affordable living conditions for students and this is among the top reasons why Cyprus is fast becoming a student hub for students from many different countries and cultures

    Education System

    Primary Education

    Education is Cyprus is compulsory between ages 5 to 15. Following perhaps 1 year of optional pre-primary school, children aged 6 enter primary school itself for 6 years, at the end of which they receive a certificate of attendance. Subjects studied are academic in the British tradition.

    Middle Education

    Three years of compulsory education take place at middle schools known as gymnasiums. There is still a single stream of academic subjects.

    Secondary Education

    Secondary education takes 3 forms, although all successful students qualify to enter university. At lykeion schools, the curriculum remains academic. Technical schools emphasize scientific subjects, while vocational schools focus on workshop practices and industrial training. A variety of certificates are awarded.

    Vocational Education

    The Human Resource Development Authority is responsible for ongoing vocational training in Cyprus, both through presenting courses, and setting standards too.

    Tertiary Education

    There are both private and state universities in Cyprus, including 3 public ones. They include the University of Cyprus, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and the Open University of Cyprus.
    The first-mentioned of these is the oldest of the three, having been established in 1989. Student numbers are approximately 6,000, and teaching mainly in Greek. Admission is regulated by nationality, residence and cultural / religious group

    Information Specific to International Students
    Reasons for studying in Cyprus:
    • Quality education
    • Safe, friendly environment at an affordable cost.
    • English mainly as the language of instruction
    • Pleasant Mediterranean climate
    • Location at the crossroad of Europe, Asia and Africa
    • Students can develop independence, maturity, an understanding of other cultures
    • Preparation of students to work in today’s global marketplace.
    • Studying in Cyprus is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

    Access to the programmes offered by public universities and HE institutions is granted via the leaving certificate from a secondary education school or equivalent qualification, and national entrance examinations.

    The PITE require a school leaving certificate awarded by a six-year secondary school and a good knowledge of the language of instruction.

    Applicants from outside the European Union

    Unless you come from a country, which is a member of the European Union, you will need entry clearance issued by a Cyprus Diplomatic Mission in the country of your nationality, or the country in which you are living, before travelling to Cyprus.

    You should check with the Cyprus Diplomatic Mission in your own country to find out which entry clearance you require and obtain it before you travel. Without the appropriate entry clearance, you may be refused entry into Cyprus.

    You may find the contact details concerning the diplomatic missions of Cyprus abroad at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus:

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