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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Roman Period

The The first Roman Governor was Marcus Portius Catto whose task was to annex the island. After he came to Cyprus in 58 B.C., almost four hundred years of Roman domination began.


Although the Roman period (50 B.C. - 330 A. D.) was marked with the disasters like earthquakes and droughts, it also reflects flourishing cultural development and prosperity. Far-sighted tax reforms that were first initiated by Julius Caesar and continued by Augustus, resulted in the treasury of the Roman Empire, which was now reasonably well-off. This provided vast sums of money to be spent for the benefit of the public.

Roman Architecture

The contribution to the Cyprus was massive. There were new well-frequented harbors built, enabling the trade exchange all over the island. There was the particular one of Salamis that became incredibly rich as it provided exports to other markets of the Roman Empire. The harbor and a temple dedicated to Aphrodite are mentioned by Strabo, when he visited Soloi around 20 B.C. In Limassol, the Stadium of Kourio, the Theatre of Kourio (rebuilt and enlarged), the Sanctuary of Apollo (reconstructed) and the mosaic of Kuorio represent the peculiar monuments of the epoch. The Mosaics, the Odeion, the Theatre, the Asklepieion and the Agora in Pafos are also typical of Roman period. Still visible at the monastery, the aqueduct in Agia Napa is the evident proof of that time, as the water was channeled to all the major towns via large aqueducts. There was one from the spring in the Kyrenia Mountain that linked Salamis and was 35 miles (56 km) long.

What is more, during the Roman period the road circling around the island was laid, built with the Roman precision and linking the most important towns. There were also stadiums, theatres, and places for entertainment of the population built, among which the Stadium in Salamis as well as the theatres in Salamis and Soloi. Market place had the function of the entertainment, but also of the goods exchange and trade.

Launch of Christianity

There also exists the evidence that during this very period it was Apostles Paul, Barnabas and his young relative Mark, who diffused the Christian religion and successfully persuaded the proconsul Sergius Paulus to convert to Christianity at Paphos. Cyprus became the first country to be ruled by a Christian. The mission of the Christianity was about to spread throughout the whole Roman Empire. However, Barnabas' life ended unpleasantly. While he was preaching in the city, the native Jews of Salamis stoned him to death. Jews continued their uprising against the spread of Christianity, and it is reported that around 110 A. D. they murdered over 250 000 local Christians. After the Emperor Trojan took the lead, this rebellion was put down and resulted in expelling all the Jews from the island.

Constantine the Great

Next stage in the Roman domination showed a prosperous and a flourishing island. After the gradual downturn of the Roman Empire, it was Constantine the Great, who took the lead and made tremendous effort to maintain his empire together with the firm Christian establishment. Later the earthquake struck and destroyed many cities including Salamis, which was given the name Constantia, after the Emperor Constantinus II. Although it was partly reconstructed, it never reached its former grandeur.

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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