Cyprus

Flag of Cyprus

Flag of Cyprus

Mouflon - national animal of Cyprus

Mouflon – national animal of Cyprus

Country Cyprus  (Link to map of Cyprus and its geographic neighborhood)
Continent Europe/Middle East (Asia); island nation in Mediterranean Sea south of Turkey
Capital Nicosia
Population 1,141,166 (2013 est)
Language Greek and Turkish
Religion Greek Orthodox 78%, Sunni Islam 20%
Terrain Plains along southern coast as well as in the central part; mountains to north and south
Sports Football (aka soccer), basketball, volleyball, tennis, cricket, rugby
Animals Some unique animals to Cyprus are Cypriot mouse, and Mouflon (national animal, pictured above).  Over 380 species of bird have been identified on the island due to its location on migration routes between Africa to Europe and western Asia
Facts of Interest Cyprus is the 3’rd largest and 3’rd most populous island in the Mediterranean

By legend the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite

The island history dates back to the 10th millennium BCE (aka 12,000 years ago) with some of the oldest known water wells in the world

The Greek Orthodox church (Church of Cyprus) is one of the oldest Eastern Orthodox autocephalous churches achieving independence in 431

The Apostle Paul (along with Barnabas & Mark the Evangelist) came to Cyprus in 45 AD to spread Christianity. Barnabas later returned in 50 AD and became the first Archbishop of Cyprus.

Cyprus served as a strategic location in the Middle East and was occupied by the empires of Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Alexander the Great (333 BCE), Eastern Roman Empire and finally in 1878 by the British Empire.  The island achieved independence in 1960.

Tensions between the Greek majority (southern part of island) and Turkish minority (northern part) has lead to much unrest which came to a head in 1963 when violence broke out in Nicosia; this was followed by military interventions by Greece, Turkey, and the U.N.  

Concerns Establishment of common rights & obligations between the Greek majority and Turkish majority continues into the present day with the UN patrolling the “Green Line”.

Syrian refugees try to avoid Cyprus (even though it is only 60 miles west of Syria) due to the very poor asylum policies.

Clean water supply (rain water only)

Mission Due to the biblical importance of this island nation, a number of churches (e.g. UMC, PCA through RP Short-term missions, The Church of Jesus Christ LDS, etc.) maintain general missions to interact with the population
Sources en.wikipedia.org; cia.com; intreasures.com; bbc.com