GEOGRAPHY AND POPULATION
Cyprus is situated in the eastern Mediterranean, lying at the hub of 3 continents and close to the busy trade routes linking Western Europe with the Arab World and the Far East.
The island enjoys the best type of Mediterranean climate with about 300 days of sunshine per year, with January being the coldest month and August the hottest.
Cyprus’s estimated population is 760.000 of which 3,2 percent are foreign residents. Greek and Turkish are the official languages of the Republic, while English is widely spoken and understood, and is regularly used in commerce and government. Apart from the capital, Nicosia, all major cities are located on the coast. Limassol is the second largest city and the island’s biggest port. Larnaca and Pafos are the third and fourth largest cities, respectively.
BANKING & FINANCE
The banking system in Cyprus closely follows the British pattern. The banks have many convenient branches, which are efficient, modern and well equipped with up-to-date technology. Non-Cypriot citizens may open foreign currency and local deposit accounts without difficulty. Many international banks have branches throughout the island. The legal tender is euro.
Strong correspondent networks are maintained around the world by local and international banks. Most of them subscribe to SWIFT, Reuters, Telerate and other services. Thus, they have easy access to the world banking network and are able to carry out traditional and specialised financial transactions.
There is a wide network of air-routes connecting Cyprus with Europe, Africa and Asia. The island’s two international airports are situated near Larnaca and Pafos. The island is rapidly becoming a major international transit station for commercial air transportation with excellent connections within the entire region.
Seaborne traffic is served by a fully renewed port system comprising the multi-purpose ports of Limassol and Larnaca. Fifty five shipping lines include Cyprus in their regular schedules to and from 5 continents. About 5.290 ships totalling 20,6 million net registered tons call at Cypriot ports each year.
Cyprus maintains public elementary and secondary school systems of a very high standard. The educational system is complemented by vocational schools whose main responsibility is the training of skilled personnel for the tourism and manufacturing sectors. In every major city there exists a selection of good quality private schools which are addressed mainly to the needs of foreign speaking pupils. These schools offer tuition in English, French, Italian, Armenian and Arabic at reasonable fees.
GOVERNMENT AND LEGAL SYSTEM
The structure of Government is similar to other western democracies where human rights, political pluralism and private property are safeguarded. There is a multi-party system of democracy based on proportional representation.
The Head of State is the President of the Republic who is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office. The Council of Ministers, which is appointed by the President, is the executive organ of the Republic. Legislative power lies with the House of Representatives whose members hold office for a period of five years. Cyprus is a member of the United Nations, and its specialised agencies, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth. Cyprus is represented through full diplomatic missions in 31 countries, 9 major international organisations and several consulates general around the world.
The legal system is based on the same principles as those applicable in the United Kingdom and all statutes regulating business matters and procedures are based essentially on English law. Most laws are translated into English. The Continental system of administrative law, according to which the legality of administrative decisions can be judicially controlled, has been introduced and applied by virtue of the constitution.
COST OF LIVING
The relatively low cost of living in Cyprus has an added appeal for the potential buyer, offering a full, but comparatively inexpensive lifestyle. Recent statistics pointed to Cyprus as one of the most inexpensive countries in Europe. The local markets flaunt a wealth of colourful fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, and Cyprus’ modern supermarkets are fully stocked with a large range of local and imported goods. The cost of medical treatment in government hospitals is very low. Those wishing to consult doctors privately will find a wide choice of competent doctors, specialists and surgeons practicing on the island.