Read Around the World: Cyprus
Better late than never – all the Booker Prize reading nearly derailed our regular slot but we weren’t going to let that happen.
Here are some fun facts about Cyprus from this website:
- Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean.
- Some of the world’s oldest water wells can be found in Cyprus.
- The largest bank in Cyprus is owned by the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The church also plays a significant role in the social and political life of the island’s people.
- Alexander the Great seized the island from the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Persians in 333 BC.
- Cyprus became independent from the British in 1960, on August 16th. However, they celebrate their independence day on the 1st of October every year.
- Legend has it that the Greek goddess of love–Aphrodite–was born in Cyprus. The country is also known as the playground of the Gods.
- The island nation had seen its golden era during the Copper and Bronze Ages. At that time, the country was among the wealthiest of nations.
- The island country is divided into two parts. The North and the South. The northern part is called the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” while the southern part is called the “Independent Republic of Cyprus” or the “Greek Cyprus.”
- Oddly, Cypriots do not like fishing and they do not fish, despite being an island nation.
- A whole town in Cyprus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name of this town is Paphos. There are a total of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country, including the town of Paphos
- The world’s oldest wine label belongs to Cyprus. “Commandaria” is recognized as the world’s oldest named wine dating back 5000 years.
- Cyprus is the only foreign venue at which an English Royal Wedding has been hosted. The wedding happened between King Richard and Queen Joanna on May 12, 1191.
- There is a tree in Cyprus known to fulfill wishes. This tree at the entrance to the Christian catacombs in Paphos is adorned with handkerchiefs and ribbons. People believe that infertile women will bear children and people will return to their loved ones when something that belonged to them is tied to the tree along with a belief that good will happen.
- The capital city of Cyprus—Nicosia—is divided by “The Green Line.” This line is also known as the UN buffer zone. It is the only capital in the world that is divided between two nations.
- With a very low crime rate, Cyprus is also among the safest places in the world.
- Cyprus is the first nation in the world to include its map on its flag.
- Out of the total 1950 species of flowering plants worldwide, 140 are found nowhere but in Cyprus.
- A rare variety of sheep–The Cyprus Muffon–can only be seen in the country and nowhere else in the world.
I chose to visit Cyprus via The Cypriot by Andreas Koumi which I rated as a 4 star read.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The Cypriot is a powerful love story set against the backdrop of the Cyprus conflict. In the 1950s the island is under British rule, the struggle for freedom begins. To the Orthodox Christian majority, freedom means enosis – union with Greece. To the Muslim minority, enosis means disaster.
My Thoughts: To say I enjoyed this book would be wrong as in many ways it is heart breaking and shows the damage caused by political interference of both foreigners and indigenous people with their own agendas.
I appreciated this novel, I loved the mixed religion relationship at the centre and I was devastated by how things end up in Cyprus. That said the ending of the book allows the reader room for hope.
Before reading this I knew that there were 2 halves to Cyprus the Greek and the Turkish what I had never even thought about was why this was the case and how it came to happen.
Andonis may not be the most sympathetic character however I completely understood how he ended up where he was and why he did what he did.
Did you join us in our trip to Cyprus and what book did you chose to visit via?
In September we will be visiting Malawi. Will you be joining us and what are your reading plans?
I also read The Cypriot. I agree with your review. It was not particularly enjoyable but I learned a great deal and I found the characters to be worthy of my interest.
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