Cyprus lies south of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Since 1974, it has been partitioned between the Turkish-occupied north and the Greek-Cypriot south.
Geography: Mountains in the center-west give way to a fertile plain in the east, flanked by hills to the northeast.
Climate: Mediterranean. Summers are hot and dry. Winters are mild, with snow in the mountains.
People and Society: The Greek majority practice Orthodox Christianity. Since the 16th century, a minority community of Turkish Muslims has lived in the north of the island. In 1974 Turkish troops occupied the north and proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), but it is recognized only by Turkey. Over 100,000 mainland Turks have settled there since. UN-led mediation failed to reunite the island ahead of EU accession in 2004, so the north was left out of membership.
The Economy: Financial services and tourism. Eurozone member with best economic performance and lowest unemployment in 2009 downturn. North suffers from lack of investment and lower wages.
Insight: The Green Line, which separates north from south, was opened for the first time in 2003
Official Name: Republic of Cyprus
Date of Formation: 1960
Total Area: 3571 sq. miles
(9250 sq. km)
Density: 244 people per sq. mile
Languages: Greek*, Turkish*
Religions: Orthodox Christian 78%, Muslim 18%, other 4%
Ethnic Mix: Greek 81%, Turkish 11%, other 8%
Government: Presidential systems
Currency: Euro = 100 cents (new Turkish lira in TRNC = 100 kurus)