CyprusCyprus is an island country in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

Cyprus, an island at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, near Turkey. It is divided between peoples of Greek and Turkish cultures. The southern two-thirds is occupied by the Republic of Cyprus (Greek), the northern third by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the United Nations; the Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey.

With an area of 3,572 square miles (9,251 kin2), Cyprus ranks as the third largest island in the Mediterranean, following Sicily and Sardinia. The island is about 140 miles (225 km) long; its greatest width is roughly 60 miles (95 km).

The Mesaoria Plain, which stretches between Morphou and Famagusta bays, divides the island into two mountainous areas. The massive Troodos Mountains in the south cover nearly half of Cyprus; they include Mount Olympus, the island's highest peak, which reaches 6,401 feet (1,951 m). North of the Mesaoria Plain, the Kyrenia Mountains extend along the northern coast and form the backbone of the Karpas Peninsula.

Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. The island has few year-round streams. Agricultural products, which provide a large share of the island's exports, include barley, citrus fruits, grapes, potatoes, tobacco, and various vegetables and cereals. Sheep and goats are the most numerous livestock. Pyrites, gypsum, and asbestos are mined in the south. The main manufacturing activities are food processing and the making of clothing and footwear. Tourism is an important source of income in the south but of little importance in the north. The basic currency unit in the south is the Cypriot pound; in the north it is the Turkish lira. Larnaca and Limassol are the principal ports; Larnaca has the chief airport.

The population in 1992 was about 719,000. The people are called Cypriots. About 80 per cent of them are of Greek descent and belong to the Eastern Orthodox church; 19 per cent are of Turkish descent and are Muslims, The largest cities are Nicosia (about 166,500 in 1991, excluding the Turkish part) and Limassol (129,700).


The Republic of Cyprus controlled the entire island when its constitution was drawn up in 1960. It provides for a president elected by the Greek community with a vice president elected by the Turkish community and for a legislature proportioned to each group's population. Since 1964, however, the republic's government has been entirely in the hands of the Greeks. The Turkish state is governed by a president, prime minister and cabinet, and legislature. Nicosia is the capital for both republics.