Facts about Cyprus

Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

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Hellenistic Period

In 325-50 B.C., the Hellenistic period began in Cyprus. The victories of Alexander the Great in Asia Minor culminated in the siege of Tyre. Here, he was given the assistance of a huge flotilla of ships from Cyprus which helped to blockade the city. However, Alexander's death at the early age of thirty-three resulted in bitter fighting and rivalry between two of the Generals, each of whom wanted to follow Alexander's great visionary leadership.

Successors of Alexander

Antigonus of Asia Minor and Ptolemy of Egypt were the two successors after the death of Alexander the Great. They both struggled for the acquirement of Cyprus, with the result of Ptolemy's final win. During the rule of the first three Ptolemys, it was Alexandria, which became a major cultural and trade centre, and cast a favorable effect upon the whole Cyprus.

Although Cypriot kingdoms did not exist any more, a certain amount of self-government remained, and the Cypriots took part in the arranging of their cultural events. All over the island the Greek alphabet was supreme, replacing the local former one, and the peaceful condition allowed the population growth and the economy flourishing.

Monuments of the Hellenistic Period

During this period, the capital was moved from Salamis to Paphos and the Greek architecture developed, although little remains today, such as Roman forums, theatres, market places. These were built on the ruins and foundations of their Greek predecessors. There are some majestic monuments of this era too, among which well-known Tombs of the Kings in Paphos, or the Theatre of Kourio, built in the 2nd century B.C. They reflect the productive cultural activity pursued during this era. In addition, the philosopher Zeno of Kitium (334-262 B.C.) mostly contributed with his ideas to the cultural and social development of Cyprus. The end of the Hellenistic rule arose when the impoliteness of the last Ptolemy towards an eminent Roman Senator gave chance to occupy the island and it fell upon the Roman domination.

Early settlers

Expansion and trade

The Iron Age

Persian Rule

Hellenistic Period

Roman period

Byzantine rule

Three Hundred years of French Rule

Venetian Rule

Ottoman Rule

British Control

Union with Greece

The country remains divided

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