Preface Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:01 PM
Cyprus is a small island — roughly the size of Connecticut —
which has played a large role in the history of Western
civilization. Because of its geographic location at the intersection
of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Cyprus has been a magnet for would-be
conquerors. The charms of “Aphrodite’s Island” include its sunny
Mediterranean weather, its Crusader castles and Ottoman fortresses,
its tradition of hospitality, and its extraordinary geography and
flora. Yet Cyprus is also a land of “bitter lemons,” in the words of
writer Lawrence Durrell. A bitter fight for independence in the
1950s against the British colonial power led to independence and a
brief experiment in government shared between the Greek and Turkish
Cypriot communities. Unfortunately, in late 1963, a political crisis
ushered in a period of devastating intercommunal strife, leading to
the intervention of the British as a “guarantor” power, and
ultimately U.N. forces. In 1974, a coup d’état against the
government of Archbishop Makarios, instigated by the military junta
in Greece, installed an ultranationalist regime in Nicosia. Within
days, Turkey intervened militarily and captured about 34% of the
island. The coup collapsed, Makarios was restored to power, and the
two Cypriot communities have lived separate existences ever since
with U.N. peacekeepers, known as UNFICYP (United Nations Forces in
Cyprus), remaining as the buffering force between the two sides. The
108 mile east to west “Green Line” between the two communities
affords almost no movement of goods, persons, or services between
the two parts of the island. The multitude of cultures and
conquerors on Cyprus has left a distinct imprint on the island.
English is widely spoken and a proper British tea can be had even in
remote mountain villages. At the same time, the Hellenic tradition
is evident in all walks of life, the Middle East can be savored in
the restaurants of Nicosia, and the Muslim call to prayer of the
muezzin can be heard along the buffer zone. Cyprus is endowed with
fabulous treasures of the Byzantine period, the Bronze Age, and the
era of Richard the Lionheart, who conquered Cyprus in 1191 ushering
in the era of the Crusaders. Cyprus is rich with stunning
archeological sites and historic treasures, waiting to be explored
by the intrepid traveler with a guidebook and a four wheel drive
vehicle. Its glorious beaches — with crystal clear waters for scuba
diving, and its dramatic mountains that allow skiing and hiking —
attract visitors from around Europe and the world. Speaking to the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1999, the U.S. Ambassador made
the point that “Cyprus is a country, not a problem.” The U.S. works
effectively with the Government of Cyprus on a range of important
transnational issues. However, seeking a peaceful and lasting
settlement to the Cyprus problem has been a policy goal for
Washington since the 1960s. The U.S. has supported multiple efforts
under U.N. auspices for a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus
problem. For more information on the political situation, personnel
assigned to Nicosia are encouraged to contact the State Department’s
Office of Southern European Affairs (EUR/SE) or the Embassy.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:36 PM
Cyprus is in the eastern Mediterranean Basin, 44 miles south of
Turkey, 64 miles west of Syria, and 150 miles north of the Nile
Delta. Its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, the
Middle East, and Africa, makes visits to those regions quite easy.
The island has a maximum length of 142 miles from northeast to
southwest and a maximum width of 60 miles from north to south. It is
the third largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and
Sardinia, with an area of 3,572 square miles. Two mountain ranges
dominate the landscape. The narrow and largely barren Kyrenia Range
in the north (maximum elevation 3,360 feet) rises almost directly up
from the northern coastline and follows it from east to west for
some 80 miles. The forest covered Troodos Range rises in the
southwestern sector of the island, culminating in Mount Olympus at
an altitude of 6,400 feet. Between the two ranges, extending from
Morphou Bay in the west to Famagusta Bay in the east lies the
Mesaoria, meaning “between the mountains,” a broad, fertile, coastal
plain which produces most of the island’s cereal grains and other
crops. Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is on the Mesaoria.
Throughout the long summer the plain is arid and parched, but in the
winter and spring it is carpeted with a lush growth of young wheat
and barley. Cyprus supports a varied flora with some 1,800 different
species of flowering plants, including over 120 endemic plants.
Additionally, Cyprus is host to a diverse group of bird and insect
fauna, as well as a surprising range of reptiles and amphibians.
The climate of Cyprus may be compared to that of South Central
Texas. Cyprus has hot, dry, dusty summers and moderately cool, damp
winters. Nicosia’s maximum mean temperature is about 80°F, while the
minimum mean temperature is 50°F. From mid-June to mid-September,
the temperature sometimes exceeds 100°F. After sunset, it usually
falls to between 60°F and 70°F. The summer heat is tolerable because
humidity is usually low and high temperatures are often tempered by
westerly winds. Nicosia’s summer weather is generally more
comfortable than in the seaside towns, where humidity is higher
though temperatures are lower. Rain falls almost exclusively from
December through March. Winters are usually cool and damp. On the
whole, Cyprus has an enjoyable Mediterranean climate.
Month Raindays Mean Monthly Max (Temp in °F) Mean Monthly Min.
(Temp in °F) Mean Daily Sunshine (Hours) Sea (Temp in °F) Raindays
January 67 33 5 63 9 February 69 34 6 63 7 March 77 36 7 64 5
April 89 43 9 68 3 May 97 50 10 70 3 June 103 58 12 75 1 July 104 61
12 79 1 August 104 65 12 81 1 September 100 59 11 79 1 October 93 51
9 75 3 November 70 41 6 70 4 December 71 35 6 66 8
Source: Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and
Environment, Meteorological Service.
Population Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:37 PM
Cyprus has had no official census since 1973. Before 1974, its
population was estimated at 630,000 persons, 80% of whom were Greek
Cypriot and 18% of whom were Turkish Cypriot. The remainder were
mainly Armenians and Maronites, with a few Latins. An official
estimate for 2000 was a total population of 758,000, 78% being Greek
Cypriot and 18% being Turkish Cypriot. The foreign population in
Cyprus includes some 1,250 U.N. troops, a resident British presence
of over 13,000 (including retired persons and troops in the
Sovereign Base Areas), and some 3,000–4,000 American citizens.
The population is divided physically and culturally into two
quite different societies — Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. Each
maintains its distinct identity based on customs, religion,
language, and ethnic allegiance. Historically, this population was
intermingled among six larger towns and over 600 small villages. One
of the results of intercommunal violence during the 1960s was the
enclavement of most Turkish Cypriots and, after the 1974 war, the
physical separation of the two communities by the present ceasefire
line. Only .5% of Greek Cypriots live in the Turkish-controlled
north, while 1.3% of Turkish Cypriots live in the Republic of
Public Institutions Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:39 PM
The 1960 Constitution created a presidential system, with a Greek
Cypriot President and Turkish Cypriot Vice President elected by
their respective communities. As part of a number of safeguards
designed to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot minority, the
Vice President was given veto rights over defense, foreign affairs,
and security matters. The Turkish Cypriots were also assured a
representation of 30% in the civil service, and in the unicameral
legislature, which was to consist of 35 Greek Cypriot and 15 Turkish
Cypriot members. The same ratio was obtained in the 10 member
Council of Ministers, 3 of whose members were Turkish Cypriots, and
one of whom had to hold the Defense, Interior, or Foreign Affairs
portfolio. The constitutional system broke down with the outbreak of
intercommunal fighting in late 1963, which led to the establishment
of Turkish Cypriot enclaves.
In the summer of 1974, a coup d’état backed by the military junta
in Athens led to Turkey intervening militarily and the occupation of
some 34% of the island’s territory by the Turkish Army. In November
1983, the Turkish Cypriot Administration declared itself the
“Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”Only Turkey recognizes the “TRNC.”
Under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, intercommunal
negotiations have been conducted at various stages since 1968, with
the goal of trying to resolve differences between the Greek and
Turkish Cypriot communities. The latest round of talks was held in
November 2000. The core issues in the talks center on security, the
nature and structure of the Federal constitution, as well as
territory and refugees/settlers.
The Government of Cyprus has a presidential system with a
unicameral legislature, the House of Representatives. The President,
elected for a 5 year term, was last elected in February 1998. The
House was last elected in May 1996. Five main parliamentary parties
dominate the Greek Cypriot political scene. The oldest established
Greek Cypriot party is the communist party (AKEL), which currently
has 18 of the 56 elected members of the legislature. The center
right Democratic Rally party (DISY) holds 21 seats; the centrist
Democratic Party (DIKO) holds 9 seats; the Social Democrats Movement
(KISOS) has 6 seats; and the United Democrats party (EDI) has 2
seats. The current President was the founder of DISY party. The
United Democrats party supported his candidacy in the final round of
Cyprus is one of six candidate countries scheduled for the next
enlargement of the European Union (EU), widely expected to take
place by 2004. Cyprus began accession negotiations in March 1998 and
the target date of accession is January 1, 2003. Among the many
steps taken toward harmonization with the EU acquis communautaire,
Cyprus completed the first phase of a Customs Union agreement with
the EU as of January 1, 1998, covering 80% of the goods traded
between the two sides. Cyprus is also a member of the following
organizations: the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the
Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization on Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
There are four main Turkish Cypriot political parties. The
National Unity party (UBP, center right) and the Communal Liberation
Party (TKP, social democrat) formed a coalition following the
December 1998 general elections. Together the two parties have 30
seats in the 50 member “TRNC Assembly” The main opposition, the
Democratic Party (DP, center right), has 11 seats. The Republican
Turkish Party (CTP, leftist) has 6 seats. The remaining 3 seats are
shared between the small Nationalist Justice Party (MAP) and 2
independents. Rauf Denktash was last elected as “TRNC President” as
an independent in April 2000. Although the “constitution” nominally
gives him little power, he is generally considered to be the most
important and powerful political figure in northern Cyprus.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:40 PM
Prehistoric pottery and sculpture have been excavated throughout
Cyprus. Pottery and other folk art are still practiced on the
island. Embroidery is one of the most developed traditional art on
Cyprus, and Lefkara lace is internationally known.
The revival of Cypriot painting began toward the end of British
rule in the 1950s. Many artists still show the effects of classical
European training, although others reflect the Byzantine tradition.
Younger artists show a definite leaning toward American “hard edge”
and other modern schools.
There are several art galleries in Cyprus featuring exhibitions
by both Cypriot and foreign artists. In the Greek Cypriot community,
there are more than 300 professional artists whose work is exhibited
not only in Cyprus but also abroad. Music is also well developed,
although concerts are limited. Although there is no university level
music education in Cyprus, there are several private music schools,
which are linked with reputable schools of music abroad and which
grant degrees of international standards. Most Cypriot students who
take music lessons in Cyprus take the exams of the Royal Society of
Arts (RSA). RSA examiners visit the island once a year, examine the
students, and grant RSA diplomas. The Cyprus Chamber Orchestra and
the Cyprus Youth Orchestra, founded in 1988, give performances
around the island.
Archeology is a major feature of the Cypriot cultural scene.
There are several ongoing excavations that bring to light important
archeological findings from the neolithic, bronze, classical Greek,
Roman, and medieval periods. The U.S. connection with Cypriot
archeology began with Luigi Palma di Cesnola who served as American
Consul in Cyprus in the second half of the 19th century. Cesnola
obtained permission from the then Ottoman Administration of Cyprus
to conduct excavations on the island. His excavations were large
scale, and brought to light several very important findings. Due to
the prevailing law at the time, Cesnola was allowed to export his
findings. Cesnola sold a large part of those findings to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where they can still be
The Cyprus American Archeological Research Institute (CAARI) is
another important U.S. connection with Cyprus in the field of
archeology. Founded in Nicosia in 1978, CAARI’s main objective is to
assist archeologists performing excavations and/or research in
Cyprus to carry out their jobs more easily and effectively. CAARI
provides such travelers with reasonably priced accommodation, and
allows them to make use of its extensive library, which specializes
in books and articles on archeological excavations carried out in
Cyprus and the Southeastern Mediterranean region.
Cyprus is also home to several ancient monuments. One of the best
known monuments is the Tower of Othello in the old city of Famagusta.
One of the most famous tragedies written by Shakespeare is thought
to be based on the legend of a Venetian Captain who was stationed in
Famagusta during the 16th century. The Othello tower can still be
seen in the Venetian walls that surround the old city of Famagusta.
Cypriots are highly educated. There is a 98% literacy rate, and
most Cypriots speak English fluently in addition to their native
language, either Greek or Turkish. Cypriots generally receive their
university education abroad, typically in Greece, Turkey, the U.K.
and the U.S. The University of Cyprus is of good standard and grants
degrees mainly in arts and humanities. There are also several
tertiary-level educational institutions, which grant diplomas in
various fields. The U.S.-sponsored Cyprus American Scholarship
Program (CASP) gives about 65 fully funded scholarships, as well as
35 partially funded scholarships, each year to Cypriots from both
communities who will pursue university education in the U.S. CASP
also provides grants for short term training to mid level career men
and women to enable them improve their work skills and performance.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:40 PM
The island’s division into two economic areas has disrupted the
country’s economic unity and overall productive capacity. While the
economy in the area controlled by the Government of Cyprus has
developed and grown, the economy in the Turkish Cypriot controlled
north has been much weaker. A lack of technical expertise, foreign
exchange reserves, and international financing have been inhibiting
factors in this part of the island.
Care of the displaced populations took first priority in the
years immediately after 1974, with emergency assistance and housing
being provided by the international community (including the U.S.)
through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
U.S. grant assistance has totaled over $300 million since 1975. This
has been mainly channeled through the United Nations; UNHCR until
1998 and the United Nations Developmental Program (UNDP) since then,
with about $5 million per year since 1982 being used to support the
Cyprus American Scholarship Program (CASP) that provides
scholarships for Cypriots to study in the U.S.
In 2000, about 3.5% of the economically active population were
unemployed and economic growth was identified at 4.8%. A political
settlement of the Cyprus problem would likely greatly enhance the
viability of the island and begin to bridge the disparity of
economic opportunity between the two major communities. In 2000,
estimated per capita GDP was about $13,000 in the Greek Cypriot
community and $5,263 in the Turkish Cypriot community (higher, in
both cases, if adjusted for purchasing power parity).
Clothing, citrus fruits, potatoes, vegetables, footwear, and vine
products make up the bulk of exports. Main imports include food and
feed grains, transport and industrial machinery, electronic
equipment, and petroleum products. “Invisible” foreign exchange
earnings, especially from tourism, remain strong and the Cyprus
pound has been relatively stable. Although economic problems are by
no means completely solved, economic prosperity is evident in all
sectors of the Greek Cypriot economy.
Cyprus enjoys a modern array of goods and services. Shopping
hours are fixed, as follows: in the winter 0800–1730 with a lunch
break from 1300–1430; and in the summer 0800–1900 with a 3 hour
siesta from 1300–1600, most stores, however, close at 1300 on
Wednesdays. Prices for goods and services are, on average, higher in
Cyprus than in the U.S. A State Department survey, dated October
2000, indicated that the local price index (adjusted to reflect the
spending pattern of American private sector employees) was 97 in
Cyprus against 100 in Washington D.C.
Automobiles Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:42 PM
Everyone at post considers cars necessary for transportation and
shopping. Unlike most major European capitals, there is virtually no
form of public transportation. Many Cypriot families have two cars.
Sightseeing and recreation would also be difficult without a car.
Vehicles keep to the left side of the road (the British system), and
the majority of cars are right hand drive models.
Official American personnel are authorized to ship one vehicle, a
right or left hand drive automobile, or a motorcycle, duty free. At
their own expense, diplomatically accredited employees who are
married may import or purchase a second duty free vehicle.
Diplomatically accredited is defined as employees recognized by the
Government of Cyprus as having diplomatic status and title (e.g.,
first, second, or third secretary, attaché) as opposed to
administrative and technical staff. FBIS American personnel, though
not included on the diplomatic list, are afforded diplomatic status
with the title of diplomatic agent.
New arrivals often purchase new cars locally, or, more often,
purchase used cars from personnel who are departing post and who do
not wish to export them. The safety advantages of right hand drive
vehicles are obvious. However, many families ship left hand drive
vehicles to post. Good quality used Japanese right hand drive
vehicles are readily available from dealers. If shipping a left hand
drive vehicle, special restrictions apply. It is important to
contact post as soon as you are assigned to provide the following
information: make and body style, country and year of manufacture,
engine and chassis numbers, extra equipment (i.e., radio, heater,
air conditioning), estimated current value, date of purchase, the
cubic capacity of the engine, and confirmation that the headlights
of the vehicle have been changed or adjusted for left side driving.
Arrivals awaiting the shipment of their vehicle will need to make
transportation arrangements until their vehicle arrives.
Upon receipt of this data, the post will request the Government
of Cyprus to issue a special import license. Such licenses are
issued on the condition that the left hand drive vehicle will be
exported upon completion of the owner’s tour of duty. Under no
circumstances should a left hand drive car be shipped before the
import license has been issued. Automobiles should be shipped
Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler (Jeep) have agencies here, but
few American cars are operated on the island. The new, small
American cars meet the needs of local motoring, but they have some
drawbacks — particularly the unavailability of right hand drive
models, local servicing, and availability of spare parts. Duty free
gasoline is higher than U.S. prices.
Persons who wish to have a new right hand drive automobile
shipped from a British or European factory might consider ordering
it from the manufacturer or through an agency at the post they are
departing. Some manufacturers and retail agencies in certain
countries offer members of the diplomatic service discounts ranging
from 10% to 15% on new cars. Persons already residing in Cyprus have
little chance of ordering a car abroad at a discount because the
manufacturer would refer any inquiry to a Nicosia agent.
All European and Japanese car manufacturers are represented in
Registration of automobiles by the Cyprus Motor Vehicle
Department, annual licensing, and issuance of a Cyprus driver’s
license are required. U.S. Government employees are not charged for
these services. An international driver’s license may be used only
during the first 3 months on the island. Holders of a valid U.S.
driver’s license need not take a driving test to obtain a Cyprus
driver’s license. If applicants do not have a valid U.S. or other
country’s driver’s license, they must first apply for a learner’s
permit that allows the applicant to drive only if accompanied by a
Cyprus licensed driver. A white sign marked with a red letter “L”
must also be displayed on the front and back of the learner’s
Though popular, four wheel drive vehicles are only needed for
trips to the Troodos Mountains during winter. Even then, roads are
cleared regularly on the weekends. Car windows can get iced over in
the winter and a good car heater and defroster are necessary. Due to
the high summer temperatures, it is recommended to have air
If you have driven without an accident for the past 5 years, you
will be able to obtain a discount on local insurance if you obtain a
“No Claim” certificate from your insurance company, as proof of
accident free driving for the applicable number of accident free
years. Local insurance dealers will give up to a 50% reduction on
new policies, depending on the number of years of accident free
driving, if such a certificate is presented. Third party liability
insurance, at a minimum, is required. Local reputable insurance
companies are available. Right hand drive cars imported duty free
may be sold prior to the employee’s transfer provided that the
seller pays customs duty if sold to a non privileged person. Sale of
an automobile imported duty free may be authorized without payment
of duty if sold to a privileged person. Left hand drive cars
imported when less than five years old may be sold to a privileged
person or non privileged person if converted to a right hand drive
prior to the sale. A vehicle must be less than five years old at the
time of importation in order to be sold to a non privileged person.
A car older than five years at the time of importation may only be
sold duty free to a privileged person. The same rule applies to cars
Local Transportation Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:42 PM
Bus and taxi services are the only forms of local public
transportation. Buses are generally not used by post personnel
because service is irregular and not developed in many localities.
In the major towns of Cyprus, excellent taxi service is always
available at moderate prices.
Scheduled taxi transportation between cities, on a shared
occupancy basis, is offered at a reasonable fixed charge per
passenger. Automobiles, with or without chauffeurs, can be rented
reasonably by the day, week, or month. GSO can assist with making
arrangements with local car hire companies.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:43 PM
Cyprus is a regional hub for many national carriers. Cyprus
Airways, Olympic, Austrian, British Airways, Lufthansa and Swissair,
to name a few, operate flights in and out of Larnaca International
Airport to most major European and Middle Eastern cities. There are
currently no direct flights to Cyprus from the U.S. Popular transit
points for travelers coming to Cyprus are London, Amsterdam, Paris,
Milan, Athens. A second small international airport is located in
the city of Paphos.
Note: For official Americans traveling to Cyprus, the foregoing
are the only authorized points of entry or exit. Entry into Cyprus
by U.S. Government employees is not authorized through Ercan Airport
or any of the seaports (Famagusta, Kyrenia) located in the Turkish
Cypriot controlled north.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:46
Telephone service is very reliable. Dial calls can be made to all
the cities and villages. Cyprus has telephone, telegraph, and telex
communications with all parts of the globe, as well as telephone and
telegraph service with ships at sea. Telephone calls to Europe, the
U.S., and other countries served are clear and uninterrupted. A
satellite station has been installed in the south and is
operational. The Turkish Cypriot telephone system is entirely
separate from the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority Network (CYTA).
Telephone calls to the north can only be made to a very few stations
still linked to CYTA lines. The following are the 2001 CYTA rates:
Local Calls: .30 CYP/hour U.S. Calls (Peak): .16 CYP/minute U.S.
Calls (Non-Peak): .12 CYP/minute
There is a charge for using 1 800 numbers internationally. Many
employees use calling cards (from major U.S. telephone companies),
or use Internet services to make international calls via the
Internet Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:46 PM
There are numerous reliable Internet service providers in Cyprus.
SpiderNet and CYTANet are the most popular within the Embassy
community. Service rates are about 90 CYP/year. ISDN lines can be
installed in Embassy housing for about 50 CYP. The cost is about 8
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:49 PM
FPO service is available in the Embassy. All American employees
of the Mission, as well as their eligible family members, are
authorized to receive first class mail, printed matter, and parcel
post packages via Fleet Post Office (FPO) facilities. The FPO at
Nicosia provides services for both incoming and outgoing mail and
has the usual services of a U.S. post office, excluding the sale of
money orders. U.S. postage stamps are available at the Embassy for
U.S. dollars. The FPO address is:
Full Name PSC 815 FPO AE 09836–0001
Although first class airmail is usually received from New York
via FPO in 5 to 6 days, transit times can range up to 14 days. While
FPO surface mail and surface parcel post would normally be in
transit from 6 to 8 weeks, these categories of mail are often
dispatched to Nicosia via space available air. U.S. domestic postal
rates apply for all mail sent to and from the U.S. via FPO.
Parcels sent via FPO usually arrive much faster than those sent
via international postal channels. FPO parcels may not exceed 108
inches length and girth combined, or 70 pounds. Insured and
registered items may be sent to post.
International postal services between the U.S. and Cyprus are
reliable. Letters dispatched via international airmail usually
arrive from New York in 4 to 6 days. Airmail service is provided
daily from Cyprus. The international address is:
Full Name American Embassy Nicosia P.O. Box 24536 CY-1385 Nicosia
It is possible to send mail and packages between FPO addresses
free of charge.
Air Pouch. Because AmEmbassy Nicosia is serviced by the Military
Postal System, the use of the diplomatic pouch for personal mail is
limited. All American personnel employed by the Mission are
authorized to send or receive through Department of State diplomatic
pouch facilities important documents, such as bank drafts, wills,
deeds, etc. In addition, American personnel may use air pouch to
receive reasonable quantities of prescription medicines, or to send
and receive prescription eyeglasses, orthopedic supplies, and other
items needed for health care. Air pouches are dispatched from the
Department and from Nicosia twice weekly. The air pouch address is:
Full Name U.S. Department of State 5450 Nicosia Pl. Washington,
Radio and TV Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:50 PM
Radio and TV reception is good. BBC broadcasts daily in the
regular medium wave (AM) band. A short wave radio is recommended for
picking up other foreign and VOA broadcasts. The British Forces
Broadcasting Service offers news, popular music, and some BBC
programs. Cyprus Radio broadcasts in Greek, Turkish, and English. It
offers news in English and some BBC programs from London.
Television service covers the entire island, and transmissions
are in color. News and current events programs are broadcast in
Greek, Turkish, and English. The news in English is limited to a 20
minute telecast once every evening. Many TV features are U.S. or
British movies or series with Greek subtitles.
Local satellite service is available, and runs about $500 every
six months. Many families use the Armed Forces Network (AFN)
television services in order to view American television shows. AFN
decoder boxes must be ordered through European PXs for about $565.
Satellites must then be purchased and installed in order to receive
the AFN signal. These cost about $150, and should have a minimum one
meter diameter. Satellite dishes from the U.S. are not used as there
is no coverage in Cyprus.
English, Japanese, or German TV sets and video recorders may be
purchased from local retailers at prices higher than those in the
U.S., or ordered from AAFES via the FPO. AAFES offers multi systems,
which work in Cyprus, the U.S. and the rest of the world. Some
Mission employees choose to purchase multi system TVs and VCRs
locally. TV repair is adequate. In deciding whether to bring an
American set to Cyprus, consider that the cost of converting your
set for local use could be as much as $150. TV sets may also be
rented for about $20 a month.
Videotape cassette lending libraries operate in Cyprus, with
recent and classic taped entertainment offered at reasonable rental
rates, however some of these videos may be pirated and of poor
quality. The cassettes are in the VHS format, PAL SECAM. As a
result, most families have elected to purchase a video player
locally or through AAFES. Aside from the advantages offered in
servicing, it is necessary to consider that the PAL/SECAM line
system used here (for tapes as well as regular TV transmissions)
cannot be adapted from NTSC for a video player, as it can be for a
TV set. Two way (PAL/SECAM) video players are available locally at
prices only slightly higher than in the U.S. Three way video players
(PAL/SECAM/NTSC) are also available, at prices appreciably higher
than single format videos in the U.S. NTSC playback capability is
important if you have a friend or relative in the U.S. who will be
sending tapes for your viewing. It is a must to research three way
video players thoroughly. Some makes and models do not reproduce
NTSC tapes in color, or play back 6 hour tapes. TV and video units
brought from the U.S. for the exclusive purpose of playing material
sent from the U.S. do work on transformers. The CLO library has
about 200 American videos available to borrow at no charge.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
12/12/2005 2:50 PM
Nicosia’s one English language daily (except Monday) is the 12–15
page Cyprus Mail. The International Herald Tribune reaches Nicosia
readers the day of publication. Subscriptions to the European
edition of Stars and Stripes are also available. Many local
bookshops carry foreign periodicals, technical journals, and novels
in English. The Cyprus Weekly and the Weekly Review newspapers
appear every Friday in English. There is also a weekly English
language newspaper published in the Turkish Cypriot community,
Local newspapers include 6 Greek and 5 Turkish language dailies,
and 10 Greek and 5 Turkish language weekly papers. Use the FPO
address when subscribing to periodicals.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:51 PM
A full time local hire nurse, who provides first aid,
immunizations, and advice on local medical facilities, staffs the
post Medical Office in the Embassy building.
Nicosia has specialists in obstetrics; surgery; ear, nose and
throat; urology; orthopedics; and internal medicine. Nicosia has a
number of small, private clinics in which Americans have been
hospitalized or delivered babies. Cases requiring unusual diagnostic
facilities may be evacuated to London or the U.S. Medicine and
laboratory services can usually be obtained locally. If you require
special medication, however, bring a 6 month supply to post.
Optical care is generally quite good in Cyprus. Most lens
prescriptions can be filled here. If your prescription is unusually
complicated, bring spare glasses. Both hard and soft contact lenses
are available at lower than U.S. prices. Several good dentists
trained in Europe and America practice in Nicosia. They use modern
equipment and are highly recommended by Americans who have been
treated by them. Fees are reasonable.
Community Health Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:51 PM
Community and public sanitation standards, although lower than in
the U.S., are much higher than in many countries in the area. They
may be compared favorably to those in most countries of southern
Europe. Sanitary inspection laws are not always stringently
enforced, however. Except at the top restaurants and markets,
standards of sanitation can be suspect.
Window screening is generally uncommon. Flies and mosquitoes are
common pests and can sometimes interfere with outdoor activities.
Garbage is collected twice weekly. Local health authorities consider
the island one of the more healthful areas of the world because of
the infrequency of serious diseases. Although the ordinary diseases
usually found in most countries bordering the Mediterranean do occur
here, Cyprus has no unusual health problems. Some cases of typhoid
are reported occasionally.
The Cyprus Government conducts energetic campaigns to encourage
immunization of young persons. Pollen and dust during the hot, dry
summers can be a source of discomfort to those suffering from hay
fever, asthma, allergy to dust or pollen, or from any chronic
condition of the upper respiratory system. Rabies is non existent on
the island. However, hydatid disease or echinococcus, attributed to
a tapeworm harbored by dogs, occurs among local inhabitants. There
are no known cases of Americans having been infected while in
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:52 PM
Children should have the DPT and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
Several local dairies pasteurize milk, making it safe to drink
without further treatment.
Nicosia’s water is treated and considered potable, but is
rationed during times of drought. Most families, however, use
bottled water for drinking. Most homes have storage tanks on the
roofs, which are a potential source of airborne disease
contamination. For this reason, most kitchen sinks have a third
water tap connected directly to the city main. This water tap should
be used for all drinking, ice making, and vegetable rinsing. Bottled
mountain spring water is available in supermarkets at reasonable
prices, or large quantities can be delivered to one’s home. See the
GSO Section for the person to contact in your area. The Embassy
nurse recommends that fresh fruits and vegetables be washed
thoroughly, especially when they are eaten raw.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 12/12/2005
There are a number of employment opportunities for spouses and
family members within the Mission. Outside of teaching positions for
native English speakers or spouses with nursing degrees,
opportunities for family member employment on the local economy are
limited and salaries are low compared to Western standards.
American Embassy - Nicosia
Post City Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:59 PM
Nicosia, estimated combined population 177,000, has been the
capital of Cyprus since the 7th century, and is the political and
administrative center of the island. It is located in the geographic
center of the island on a broad plain, on the site of Ledra, one of
the “city kingdoms” of antiquity, which today lends its name to the
town’s main shopping area.
Nicosia has spread far outside its ancient but still intact city
walls. Modern flats and offices and attractive villas characterize
the newer parts of the town.
All U.S. installations are located in Nicosia.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:00 PM
The first U.S. official representative sent to Cyprus was Marino
De Mattei, appointed as consular agent on October 27, 1832. The post
was abolished and closed twice, from 1876 to 1919 and again from
1930 to 1948. It was reopened as a Consulate on April 12, 1948, and
elevated to Consulate General in 1958, and upgraded to an Embassy in
1960 when Cyprus gained its independence.
Currently, about 60 Americans and about 100 local staff are on
duty at the Mission. The current American Embassy Chancery, and the
attached Ambassador’s residence, was completed in 1992. The Chancery
complex is located at the corner of Ploutarchou and Metochiou
Streets, in the Engomi District of Nicosia. Embassy office hours are
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A cafeteria in the Embassy
serves breakfast and lunch on workdays.
The Mission promotes U.S. interests in Cyprus and in the region.
We work in support of the UN to help resolve the division of Cyprus
through ongoing direct contact with both communities and by
sponsoring and encouraging bicommunal programs and events. On the
economic front, we have pursued strict enforcement of intellectual
property rights, assuring a level playing field for American
businesses seeking to do business in Cyprus, and supporting American
business using Cyprus as a base for export to the Middle East or
When the United States Information Agency was abolished on
October 1, 1999, the USIS American Center in central Nicosia was
closed and its personnel and activities were transferred to the
Department of State. A State Public Affairs Officer (PAO), who
serves as the spokesperson for the Mission and advises the
Ambassador on all matters related to the press and cultural affairs,
heads the new Public Affairs Section (PAS), located in the chancery.
The PAO also oversees the day to day operations of the Bicommunal
Support Program (BSP) created to promote contacts between Greek and
Turkish Cypriots through Embassy sponsored events and activities.
The DNI Open Source Center (formerly Foreign Broadcast
Information Service) operations are housed in a secure government
owned complex located about three miles from the Embassy. OSC
monitors radio and television broadcasts in Greece, Turkey, Lebanon,
and Egypt and provides translations of articles related to U.S.
foreign policy interests to its customers, including to the U.S.
Embassy in Cyprus.
USAID reopened its office in Nicosia in 1999 to oversee $10
million in grants for Cyprus managed through the United Nations
Office of Program Services (UNOPS) program. The AID office is
staffed by a local resident American citizen contractor who reports
to the Mission Economics officer.
In addition to its bilateral role, the U.S. Mission in Cyprus
supports several U.S. Government operations with regional
responsibilities. The Consular Section provides a full range of
consular services to the 3,000 4,000 American citizens residing on
Cyprus. About one third of the nonimmigrant visa applicants are
nationals of Iran or Lebanon, and about 90% of the immigrant visa
applicants are Lebanese. Marine Company B is resident in Nicosia and
is responsible for overseeing and inspecting Marine Security Guard
detachments at embassies in the Middle East and parts of Asia. Other
regional offices hosted by the Mission include the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service
Administrative support for Mission activities is provided to all
agencies through the ICASS support staff which consists of 6 direct
hire Americans, 3 part time American employees, and 43 foreign
national employees. Participating ICASS agencies are able to choose
from a menu of administrative services including: financial
management and budget support, human resources support, health
services, general services, information management, and more. All
agencies participating in ICASS are required to share in the costs
of the “basic package” and the Community Liaison Office (CLO). The
basic package covers support costs common to all agencies including
diplomatic accreditation to the host government, licenses and
special permits, check in and check out procedures, reciprocity
issues, determination of exchange rates, etc. CLO services are
available to all members of the Mission and their eligible
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:00 PM
Post has no temporary quarters and makes every effort to have
newcomers move directly into their assigned housing. At times,
newcomers may have to stay in a hotel for a short period of time.
The Embassy has an agreement with several hotels located a short
taxi ride from the chancery, to accept the current government
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:01 PM
The post operates a government furnished housing program, with
all housing under short term lease. Upon arrival in Cyprus you will
receive a copy of the Housing Handbook. Housing assignments are made
by the Inter Agency Housing Board and are based on government
regulations and post policies.
Incoming personnel are sent a housing questionnaire by the
General Services Office to address housing needs and to assist the
Housing Board in making assignments.
The Ambassador’s residence, located on the Embassy grounds, is a
three story U shaped structure with a front rotunda entrance. The
basement affords storage rooms, laundry room, wine cellar, men and
women’s locker rooms and servants’ quarters. The first floor
consists of the formal entrance, guest restrooms and bedroom, the
formal dining room, kitchen and pantry, a study/office, and a formal
living room with fireplace. The second floor contains the private
quarters. There is a master bedroom with sitting room, three
bedrooms with private baths, kitchenette with dumbwaiter service
from the main kitchen, TV/living/dining room, and a hobby room. All
rooms are centrally heated/cooled. The residence has its own private
grounds, patio area with gardens and a swimming pool.
The DCM’s house is a two story structure, containing two living
rooms, den, a dining room, four bedrooms, laundry room, and 3½
The housing pool contains apartments, semi detached, and single
family homes. Most apartments and semi-detached homes have 3
bedrooms and single family homes have 3 to 4 bedrooms. Such houses
usually have a living room, and terrace or balcony, and are
centrally heated. Landscaping of the newer houses is usually limited
to flower beds and very young trees or shrubs. Shade trees are a
rarity in the newer sections of town and lawns are virtually
nonexistent due to the arid summer climate.
Furnishings Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:01 PM
All government quarters are fully furnished with furniture and
appliances. The post issues each employee a basic set of furniture
for a living room, dining room, den and bedrooms based on family
size, as well as a refrigerator, stove, washing machine, dryer,
vacuum cleaner, one air conditioner for each occupied bedroom, and
two units for the living areas. Employees must furnish their own
linens, china, glassware, silver, and kitchen utensils, iron and
ironing board, etc., but such items are loaned temporarily to new
arrivals as part of the newcomer Hospitality Kits. You will need to
furnish pictures, art objects, special lamps, books, computer,
computer desk, stereo, radio, TV and video player, small electric
appliances, service pieces, and other items of personal taste.
Most housekeeping items are available locally but at prices
higher than in the U.S. The climate is no hazard to furniture.
Locally made furniture is good; imported furniture is expensive.
Most houses have sliding windows or French doors, which open,
directly into a room of the house from a patio. Windows in Cyprus
are large both in width and length. Draperies are hung from a
traverse rod above the windows, 8 or 9 feet from the floor;
consequently, American ready made draperies may not fit. If money is
available, newly arrived employees receive a curtain allowance, in
accordance with the Mission Housing Policy. Most bedroom windows
also have shutters that either roll up or swing out to the side.
Floors in kitchens, bathrooms, halls, corridors, and utility areas
are usually tiled with terrazzo. It is recommended that you bring
several small rugs to supplement those issued.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:02 PM
All houses leased for American employees have modern plumbing and
are centrally heated.
The electricity is 240v, 50 cycle, single or 3 phase AC, and is
very stable. Although the voltage actually supplied varies from 220v
to 240v in different areas of the city, 220v appliances can be used
Food Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:02 PM
Local food shops are well stocked with domestic products and
imports from Great Britain, Western Europe, and limited items from
the U.S. Imported items are more expensive than comparable items in
Beef, veal, pork, mutton, lamb, and chicken are always available.
Domestic meats are sold freshly butchered. Since meat is not graded,
careful selection of cuts is necessary. Fresh fish is surprisingly
limited in supply; mullet, sea bass, swordfish and squid are the
principal varieties on the market.
Frozen fish, shrimp and cod, as well as canned seafood such as
oil or water packed tuna, salmon and mussels are sold. Trout farms
in the Troodos Mountains produce fresh and smoked fish, which is
sold in stores in the city. There are numerous fish taverns and
restaurants, which offer both domestic and imported fish. Imported
butter and margarine are stocked, as are fresh, powdered,
evaporated, and condensed milk, and fresh cream. Pasteurized fresh
milk is readily obtainable. Domestic olive oil is of good quality
and not expensive. Cyprus cheeses, in most cases from goat’s milk,
are popular with Americans. English and Irish Cheddar and English
Stilton are good but expensive. Imported French cheeses are
Fruits are varied, delicious, and reasonably priced in season.
Cyprus grows an abundant winter long supply of oranges, grapefruit,
tangerines, lemons, and, to a lesser extent, avocados and apples.
During the long summer, a variety of fresh fruit is available, such
as watermelons, cantaloupes, cherries, apricots, plums, figs, pears,
peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples, pomegranates, and grapes.
Good stocks of spinach, lettuce, cabbage, green beans, broad beans,
chard, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, celery, and green peppers are
usually available. Eggplant and artichokes in season are abundant
and inexpensive. Asparagus is available in season but is expensive.
Onions, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and potatoes are almost
always available. Various fresh herbs and prepared spices are also
sold. American made spices such as Durkee and McCormick are
available but expensive.
The American Embassy Employees Association (AEEA) was officially
established in February 1991. The AEEA is responsible for oversight
of the Embassy cafeteria and the Karavas house (located in northern
Cyprus), and sponsors occasional Embassy community events.
Many families use netgrocer.com for purchasing traditional items.
Clothing Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:02 PM
Cypriots with whom you are likely to associate, either officially
or socially, dress well. Most Cypriot women prefer to be fashionably
dressed. Cypriot men follow British custom in business dress and
casual attire. Many families in the Mission order women’s, men’s,
and children’s clothing from U.S. mail order catalogs. Clothing
items can be purchased locally, but the quality may not meet the
standards that Americans are used to, and can be expensive.
Men Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:03 PM
Men wear cotton or wool suits all year round. Sweaters or jackets
are useful in the winter. Suits made of washable cotton or cotton
synthetic mixtures are the most practical for summer. Short sleeved
shirts are also worn in the summer months. In summer, shorts are
worn at home, for sports, and on informal social occasions. Men’s
custom-made business suits of fine British worsteds, are moderately
expensive. Factory made suits are cheaper, but are not always well
tailored. A variety of shirts, neckties, socks and underwear are
available at fairly reasonable prices. There are good quality shoes
available, but they are expensive. Men needing wider or narrower
than average sizes may have difficulty being fitted. For most
evening social events, a dark suit is fine. Men rarely require
“black tie” evening dress.
Women Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:03 PM
A normal year round wardrobe, with perhaps fewer winter and more
summer clothes, will do. Women wear either spring coats, blazers,
and topcoats or light winter coats throughout the winter. Although
some Cypriot women wear fur coats, there are no reliable fur storage
facilities here. Lightweight dresses are needed in summer; daytime
dresses with the slightest shoulder cover are acceptable. Imports
from Europe are usually up to date but expensive.
Women rarely have occasion to wear long dresses at
representational functions, but they find several cocktail type
dresses are useful. Women almost never wear hats. Panty hose are
sold in a range of qualities. Maternity shops sell a wide range of
items comparable to similar shops in the U.S. but are expensive and
quality may not meet the standards of those of the U.S.
Bathing suits and beach accessories can be purchased locally.
Shoes produced locally are plentiful but can be more expensive than
those made in the U.S. Shoes are also imported from Europe. Quality
ranges from fine to poor; styles are current. Good quality leather
goods are made here.
Children Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:04 PM
Fine cotton or woolen fabrics cost more here than in the U.S. and
the selection is limited. Children need warm indoor clothing and
nightwear because houses and tile floors may be chilly. Clothing,
shoes, and accessories for infants are much more expensive than in
the U.S., but all necessary items are obtainable here. However,
local cribs, playpens and car seats do not meet U.S. safety
standards. Employees may wish to bring these items from the U.S.
Linens for U.S. size cribs are not available here.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:04 PM
Among the better known cosmetics sold on the island are Clinique,
Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder, Revlon, Helena Rubenstein, Lancome,
and Lancaster. American brands sold here are not made in the U.S.
and are not always of the same quality. Cosmetics are more expensive
here than in the U.S.
Hardware supplies, paints, cooking utensils, general repair
items, and full length decorative mirrors are available in Nicosia
at reasonable cost. Bed linens are available locally in U.S. and
European sizes, however, they are expensive. Permanent press and
pure linen fabrics are also available, at a variety of prices.
Pattern selections are limited. Local hand embroidered table linens
are well made, attractive, and well worth the price.
Imported Christmas tree decorations, lights and greeting cards
are sold in the shops but are expensive and of mediocre quality.
Most people prefer to buy greeting cards through mail order
catalogs. Natural Christmas trees are sold, but the species of trees
are not the same as what you could select in the States. Artificial
trees are expensive if purchased locally. Toy shops are well stocked
at all seasons with merchandise imported from Great Britain,
Germany, Japan, and the U.S. They are higher priced and of lower
quality than toys sold in the U.S. A limited number of U.S. brand
toys are available, such as Fisher Price and Little Tykes, but at
two to three times U.S. prices. Therefore, you may wish to bring a
supply for future birthdays and Christmas gifts.
Retail markets carry a good selection of very reasonably priced
local wines and liquors. Imported liquors are expensive. A Duty Free
Shop is available to Diplomatic List personnel. Duty free liquor and
cigarettes are available through the Embassy commissary for all
Local pharmacies, open daily until 2300 (no pharmacies are open
24 hours), carry complete stocks of medical supplies and drugs,
including children’s pharmaceuticals. These items are normally
British brand name pharmaceuticals. Please note that children’s
chewables are not available. Many people set up mail order
prescriptions with their insurance companies. Drugstore.com is also
used for obtaining basic pharmaceutical needs at lower cost.
Basic Services Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:05 PM
Good quality shoe repair and dry cleaning services are available
and moderately priced. Although laundries do acceptable work, they
are expensive and most people at post do their laundry at home. For
convenience, a dry cleaning company picks up and delivers your dry
cleaning through the Embassy receptionist. You will find a good
choice of barber and beauty shops.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:14 PM
Some American families employ Cypriot or foreign domestic
employees primarily to clean the house two or three times a week for
about six hours each day from morning to early afternoon. Foreign
domestic employees often come from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, or
various African countries. In these cases, the employer has to
comply with immigration requirements, i.e. obtain visa and work
permits. These domestic employees are normally hired for full time
work, to include house cleaning, baby sitting, cooking, etc. Wages
are approximately as follows (1 Cypriot pound=$1.60):
General Maids Daily CP 12.00–CP 15.00 (6–8 hours) Monthly CP
200.00 (depending on conditions) Cooks Monthly CP 400.00–CP 450.00
Babysitters Hourly CP 2.00–CP 3.00 (depending on conditions)
Gardeners Hourly CP 3.00 Bartenders Per party CP 15.00–CP 25.00
Waiters. The rates vary according to skill, age, length of
service, etc. In theory, live in domestic employees should receive
less than others because they receive food, clothing, and partial
medical care. However, it is not always possible to apply this, as
live ins are not readily available.
The Cyprus Department of Labor stipulates that payments to the
Social Insurance scheme, which provides accident, health, and
pension benefits, be shared by the employer and any domestic
employee who works 8 hours a week or more. The employer’s share is
If a servant is under 18 years old, the employer legally assumes
some degree of parental responsibility in matters of behavior and
general well being. Employment of female servants less than 18 years
must be reported to the Department of Labor.
Embassy personnel usually give servants an extra month’s salary
sometime during the year, often around Christmas time or split
between Christmas and Easter. Employees, by Government of Cyprus
law, are also eligible to receive a minimum period of 15 working
days annual leave per a 50 week work year.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:16 PM
The principal Christian religion of Cyprus is Greek Orthodox. The
Turkish Cypriot community is predominantly Sunni Moslem.
The following churches conduct services in English and are
attended by the American and other communities: Nicosia Community
Church (Inter denominational Protestant), St. Paul’s Anglican
Church, Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist
Church, Interdenominational Congregation (Russian Cultural Center
Building), The Church of Jesus Christ (L.D.S.). There is also a
Roman Catholic mass held at the U.N. chapel on Saturdays at 1800.
Protestant services there are at 0900 Sunday mornings. Services in
Nicosia can be difficult to understand due to the translations.
Even though the Jewish community numbers about 200, a synagogue
has not been established. In Nicosia, services celebrating Jewish
high holidays are held at the Israeli Embassy.
There are other church services, both Protestant and Catholic, on
the U.N. base.
Dependent Education Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:18 PM
The schools and curriculums change, therefore it is advisable to
check the many options prior to arrival at post. Post includes
information about the schools in the “Welcome” Kit, once an
assignment has been made. All schools require winter and summer
uniforms. Prices of uniforms are higher than what you would pay in
the U.S. and are of less desirable quality. School calendars are
similar to that of the U.S. beginning in late August or September
until the middle of June. Schools break for Christmas holidays for
about 3 weeks and also have an extended spring break. Schools hire
private bus companies to provide transportation to and from school
and for after school activities.
The following list mentions several schools attended by Embassy
family members that are English speaking and have both Greek Cypriot
and international students.
Highgate Primary School. The Highgate Primary School is a British
school, offering programs for children aged two to eleven. The
school has special programs for gifted learners and children with
learning disabilities. Some grades have a waiting list. School
Highgate Primary School 25–27 Heroes Avenue Ayios Andreas,
Nicosia Maria Theocari, Headmistress E-mail:
American International School in Cyprus. The American
International School in Cyprus provides an American curriculum
serving students in grades Pre K through Grade 12. AISC employs 35
full and part time faculty members that are recruited in the U.S.
and Canada. The AISC offers the International Baccalaureate (IB)
program to high school students. They also have a very strong music
program and offer several other after school activities. School
The American International School in Cyprus 11 Kassos St. PO Box
23847 1686 Nicosia, Cyprus Joanna Ramos, EdS., Director E-mail:
The Falcon School. The Falcon School is an educational foundation
based on the British system offering a continuous education for
girls and boys aged 3½–18. It has facilities for studying languages,
the sciences, the arts, music, and a wide range of sports. The
language of instruction is English. The school year begins in early
September and ends in late June. An entrance test and an interview
are required prior to admission. School address:
The Falcon School PO Box 23640 Nicosia, Cyprus Mr. Nicholas
Ierides, Director E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 357–22–424–781
The Junior School. The Junior School was established in 1944.
Children are admitted to the school between the ages of 3½ and 12½
(K–7). The curriculum and teaching methods are the same as would be
found in the United Kingdom. There is a British Headmaster and the
teachers are trained and qualified in the United Kingdom. School
The Junior School PO Box 23903 Nicosia, Cyprus Joyce Grimley,
Headmistress E mail: HYPERLINK mailto: email@example.com
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:18 PM
Opportunities for adult family member education also exist. In
addition to the universities previously mentioned, family members
have attended Intercollege, which offers Bachelor’s and Master’s
degrees in a variety of fields. Several family members have also
taken language courses locally.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:21 PM
Beaches can easily be reached from Nicosia by private car. Bus
transportation to the beaches is available, and “service taxis” may
be shared at a nominal cost. Taxi service between Nicosia and other
cities on the island is regularly available. Sports equipment and
clothing of all kinds are available but expensive.
Swimming. The proximity of the sea and the very hot summers drive
most people in Cyprus to the water. The Southern Coast is less than
an hour away from Nicosia and has good beaches. It is also possible
to join sports clubs or health clubs at some hotels in Nicosia,
which includes use of their swimming pools. Competitive swimming is
not available. The Embassy also has two guesthouses in northern
Cyprus near the beach, which may be rented for weekends and
Scuba Diving. The British bases have active scuba clubs, and
private facilities are also available. Scuba tanks and equipment can
be rented and filled locally, but if you have your own, bring them.
Additional equipment may be purchased locally or through the FPO.
Water Skiing. Water skiing is becoming more popular in Cyprus. It
is best at Larnaca (45 minutes from Nicosia), but the sea is
sometimes very choppy. Water skis are sold in Cyprus but at prices
higher than in the U.S.
Horseback Riding. Private lessons are available at local stables.
A hard hat and riding boots are required.
Windsurfing. One of the most challenging and interesting sports
in Cyprus is windsurfing. There are numerous beaches around the
island with suitable conditions. Windsurfing is a good family sport.
It is easily learned and requires few facilities. Equipment is
available locally, but at prices higher than in the U.S.
Sailing. Members of the U.S. Mission may join the sailing club on
the British Sovereign Base at Dhekelia. The cost of membership in
the club is very reasonable and members who are qualified sailors
may use the club’s small sailboats at no additional charge.
Skiing. Snow skiing in Cyprus has developed in recent years.
Simple skiing is done from the beginning of January to the end of
March on the slopes of Mount Olympus, a one and ½ hour drive from
Nicosia. Several short trails, one of which is groomed, are
available for cross country skiing.
The Cyprus Ski Club, located at Mount Olympus, offers the
following facilities: permanent and temporary memberships, four
electrically driven “T” bar ski lifts, a cross country skiing track,
a ski shop with ski equipment, and ski instruction by qualified
Golf. Golf courses are an environmental issue due to the large
amounts of water they consume. There are two regulation 18 hole golf
courses in Cyprus, both in the Southwestern corner of the island
near Paphos, about an hour and a half drive from Nicosia. Both are
decent courses and located in scenic areas. The greens fee is about
$40–$50 per round, depending on the exchange rate. A more basic golf
course at the UN base in Nicosia features “browns” instead of
greens, but offers an opportunity to play a round of golf closer to
Tennis. Tennis is popular and facilities are good, but you have
to be a member of a club to use them. Periodic tournaments are held
at local clubs.
Fishing. Although fish are extremely scarce in the coastal
waters, fishing with spear and snorkel can be most interesting. At
some distance from the coast, there is good deep sea fishing; boats
can be rented. Shoreline fishing would not satisfy the serious
angler. There is no river or stream fishing, but shoreline fishing
in some reservoirs has been reported to be good.
Gymnasiums. Several well equipped gyms, offering both
weightlifting and aerobics programs, are present and have reasonable
prices. Spectator Sports
Horseracing. The Nicosia horseracing season is nearly year round.
Associate membership is open to Americans for a modest fee. The
track has photo finish and an automatic tote board.
Basketball. There are several American basketball players on
teams here in Cyprus. Local as well as visiting teams are popular.
Soccer. There are four divisions of soccer teams playing all over
the island. Soccer is the most popular sport among Cypriots.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:22 PM
Picnics, sightseeing, and camping are popular pastimes in Cyprus.
A wide variety of old castles, monasteries, and ancient ruins are
available to be explored.
Embassy personnel with diplomatic or official passports and their
spouses and family members may enter the Turkish Cypriot controlled
sector through the Nicosia checkpoint or the checkpoint on the
Eastern side of the island. Military areas are off limits, but
travel in the North is otherwise unrestricted. Check with the
Political Section before travel, to ensure the area you plan to
visit is open.
Kyrenia is 16 miles north of Nicosia. A 7th century Byzantine
castle, which also served the Venetians in the 15th century,
overlooks the picturesque harbor. There are three castles on the
Kyrenia Mountain Range which provide a beautiful view of the
northern coast of Cyprus.
Famagusta, once one of the main port cities of Cyprus, is about
40 miles east of Nicosia on Famagusta Bay. Its center is in a well
preserved Venetian walled city. Legend has it that the citadel,
which overlooks the Bay of Famagusta, was the setting of
To the north of Famagusta is the biblical port of Salamis where
St. Paul entered Cyprus on his evangelical tour. Most of this
ancient port is now submerged and the site offers a challenge to the
snorkeler who might be interested in underwater archeology.
Larnaca is an active seaport located on Larnaca Bay about 30
miles southeast of Nicosia. Its salt lake is a winter haven for
large flocks of flamingos. There is a monastery, churches and
museums located in and around Larnaca.
Limassol lies about 50 miles southwest of Nicosia on Akrotiri
Bay. Seven miles west of Limassol is the tower of Kolossi built in
the 15th century by the Knights of St. John Hospitaler. The ruins of
Kourion, an Achaean religious and political center of the 2nd
century B.C.E., include remains of the Temple of Apollo and a
beautiful stadium. It houses some Roman administrative and bathing
facilities, fine mosaics and other ruins, including a fairly well
preserved Roman theater, sometimes put to contemporary use.
Paphos, off whose shores legend says Aphrodite rose from the sea
foam, lies on the West Coast. The scenic route to Paphos from
Nicosia along the south shore comprises the grand tour of many of
the archeological high spots in Cyprus. The “Fontana Amorosa”
(Love’s Spring), in northern Paphos, was a source of poetic
inspiration during the classical age. It was said that whoever drank
from it would fall in love.
The cool, pine forested Troodos Mountains, a 90 minute drive from
Nicosia, offer relief from the heat in the summer and skiing in the
winter. In the Troodos Mountains in the Paphos district, lies Kykko
Monastery. It contains the cherished icon of the Virgin Mary painted
by St. Luke. Not far from the monastery is a beautiful valley of
Archeological Sites. The numerous archeological sites on Cyprus
are nearly all open to the public. All digs are under the
jurisdiction and supervision of the Cyprus Department of
Antiquities, and expeditions from other nations are often at work
there. Some sites charge a nominal entrance fee; at others, you may
wander at will, picnic on or near the site, and enjoy a freedom
unknown at archeological sites in other countries. Guidebooks
available in Cyprus and brochures published by the Cyprus Museum
give details of all the antiquities.
Entertainment Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:22 PM
Most cinemas in Nicosia are air conditioned. They generally show
first run U.S. or British films. Admission is reasonably priced.
The Nicosia Municipal Theater has operas, concerts, plays and
Cyprus has a permanent, Government sponsored national theater
whose repertory consists of international and Greek plays, the vast
majority performed in Greek. There are also private theatrical
companies with a similar repertory. No opera or professional
symphony orchestra exists, but occasionally foreign concert artists,
symphony orchestras, or popular music ensembles visit the island.
Nightclub entertainment exists with a number of popular
Nightclubs are typically very crowded and smoke filled. Most
Cypriots don’t begin to arrive at the clubs until around midnight or
In addition to the restaurants offering standard and European
cooking and atmosphere, less expensive and simpler “tavernas” serve
Cypriot dishes, as well as those typical of the Near East. Most
Americans like Cypriot food. It is important to keep in mind that
Cypriots are on an eating schedule different than the typical
American. Lunch is usually eaten between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.,
with dinner beginning as late as 10:00 p.m.
The dearth of good entertainment from outside the island has
brought about a reliance on home entertainment. Most Americans
entertain small groups of their friends and colleagues at home. The
social obligations of most employees are not burdensome.
Most types of photographic film are sold locally, although it is
rather expensive. Facilities for developing and printing black and
white and color film are adequate for all but color slides. Camera
and photographic equipment sold in local shops is reasonably priced.
The amateur photographer will find interesting subject matter in the
varied landscape and local color of the island. During 7 or 8 months
of the year, light conditions are excellent.
Families with children are advised to bring additional games,
crafts, videos, etc. for their entertainment. It might also be a
good idea to bring a supply of toys, etc., to use as birthday gifts
or for other occasions.
Social Activities Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:23 PM
The American Women’s Club is an active body open to all women in
Cyprus. Its purpose is to promote friendship among American,
Cypriot, and other foreign women. It sponsors monthly programs of
interest to the membership and organizes parties and fund raising
activities for charity. Activities include informal discussion
groups, craft demonstrations, cooking classes, and tours to
archeological sites. This group is active in welcoming new arrivals,
providing information on local shopping, sightseeing, schools, and
any additional information helpful to settling in.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:24 PM
Formal events are rare and most official functions are semi
formal or informal. Senior officers should anticipate an active
social schedule of cocktail parties, buffets and sit down dinners.
Mission officers and staff are regularly invited to attend
representational events hosted by the Ambassador and senior officers
of the Mission. Men normally wear business suits for those events,
while women may choose to wear business suits, cocktail dresses, or
dressy pantsuits. Lighter-weight attire is recommended for attending
events during the hot Cyprus summers.
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:24 PM
Official calls are more limited than at many other posts.
Officers and spouses should bring about 100 business cards.
Additional cards, either printed or engraved, may be purchased
locally. Informals and invitations are widely used in Cyprus and can
be obtained in Nicosia.
Special Information Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:26 PM
Not all sections of the post report will pertain to military
personnel assigned to Cyprus. The post report can serve as a good
source of general information, but military personnel should
correspond directly with their prospective commands and their
sponsors for more definitive information concerning their
assignments, housing, medical and dental care, importation of
privately owned vehicles, etc.
Defense Attaché’s Office. The Defense Attaché’s Office consists
of the U.S. Defense and Army Attaché, Assistant Army Attaché,
Operations Coordinator, and Secretary. The USDAO offices are located
in the Embassy.
A member of the Embassy will be designated as sponsor for all
newly assigned personnel and will provide additional and current
information to supplement this post report. With the few exceptions
outlined below, this post report applies equally to USDAO personnel.
Housing. The Defense Attaché, the Assistant Army Attaché, and the
Operations Office occupy government leased housing. Complete
information regarding the leased housing is available at the Defense
Intelligence Agency (DO 4B) in Washington, D.C.
Household Effects. Newly assigned personnel should carefully
study the housing information on file in the DIA. Fairly complete
household equipment and furnishings are presently available, and
only limited personal items are required. USDAO personnel are
authorized to ship only 35% of their normal weight allowance for
this assignment, but this is adequate if duplication of government
issued items is avoided.
Uniforms and Clothing. The post report section on clothing is, in
general, applicable to members of the USDAO. The social activities
USDAO personnel are involved in are often based on individual
preferences, and although the DATT and AARMA and their spouses have
obligations which do require formal and evening clothes, staff
personnel and spouses need not make large expenditures for such
clothing specifically for a Cyprus assignment.
Marine Security Guards. All members of the MSG detachment are
provided with furnished living quarters. Marines wear uniforms only
on duty and on formal occasions such as the annual Marine Corps
Ball. The Department of State provides Marines with a civilian
clothing allowance prior to their departure from the U.S. For
further information, see the annual Marine post report for Nicosia.
Post Orientation Program
New arrivals receive “Welcome to Cyprus” kits which provide a
profile of the history and organization of the U.S. Mission;
descriptions of Cyprus history, places of interest, culture, and
religion; and advice on hotels, dining, shopping, and entertainment.
In addition, post check-in procedures direct new arrivals to various
offices of the Embassy for interviews and orientation. The Embassy’s
Administrative Section offers guidance on personal adjustment
through an active Community Liaison Office. An orientation program
is also offered once a year for new arrivals and provides an
overview of U.S. objectives in Cyprus from all Mission sections and
agencies represented at post, as well as practical information on
settling down in Cyprus.
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:30 PM
The only significant consideration concerning transportation to
Nicosia is that official U.S. travelers must arrive at the airports
found in the Government of Cyprus controlled area. U.S. Government
employees are forbidden from entering via ports in Turkish
controlled Northern Cyprus.
Employees arriving in Nicosia are normally met and assisted by a
volunteer sponsor. Personnel should provide notice of arrival to the
Embassy administrative officer and CLO as far in advance as possible
providing contact information, including telephone numbers and an
email address, if one is available. During working hours, the Travel
Unit of the Embassy can be reached by telephone at 357–22–393-3350,
ext. 2050. After office hours, the U.S. Marine Guard on duty at Post
One can be reached by telephone at 357–22–393-939. The Marine Guard
can furnish the name and telephone number of the duty officer, if
required. Taxi service is available at the airport. Normally, hotel
reservations are easily obtained in Nicosia. The CLO or the
Administrative Section can provide information about the hotels
commonly used and answer questions as to whether or not lodging
costs are covered by per diem.
Shipments of household effects destined for Cyprus need no
special markings or documentation. Shipments are cleared through
customs duty free. Shipments for all personnel should be addressed
to the American Embassy, Nicosia, Cyprus, and have the employee’s
name at the end of the address. Unaccompanied airfreight usually
arrives in about 15 days of the shipment date, and household effects
coming from the U.S. can be expected to arrive within 3 months of
Military personnel should contact their gaining office at post
upon receiving assignment orders. Military shipping offices are
often not familiar with shipping goods to Cyprus and it is important
to coordinate with post’s shipping office to ensure timely delivery
of household goods.
Shipments for DEA personnel differ from post policy. Therefore,
DEA personnel should contact DEA Headquarters, Transportation
Section, for relevant instructions. DEA regulations prohibit the
Embassy from being addressed as consignee.
Unloading methods in Limassol port make it mandatory that
household goods consigned to Nicosia be packed in well made, banded,
waterproof wooden cases. Do not use paper crates or cartons because
they may not be strong enough to withstand the handling received
when goods are transferred from ship to pier.
Pilferage of household effects is uncommon while in transit
through Cyprus ports. Breakage of items on incoming ships has been
minimal; nevertheless, insuring both incoming and outgoing shipments
is wise. Local insurance agents will cover outgoing shipments with
policies providing for payment of claims in U.S. dollars. See the
Transportation section concerning the shipment of automobiles to
The Embassy has a contract with a local vendor for packing and
shipping. Persons who own unusually valuable, delicate, or fragile
objects are advised to have such items specially packed to minimize
the chance of breakage while en route to post. Homes have very
limited storage space, and no storage is provided by the Embassy.
Personal property, imported duty free, may be sold only after
customs duty has been assessed by the Collector of Customs and is
paid by the owner, unless the property is being sold to another
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:30 PM
All U.S. Government personnel are entitled to the free entry of
an initial shipment of household and personal effects (including
consumable items shipped in your household effects) brought in for
their personal use.
Personnel on the diplomatic list may make duty free purchases in
country at any time during their tour. Staff members of the Mission
can make duty free purchases only during the first 3 months of their
The Cyprus Government carefully controls the exportation of
antiquities. Before such items can be removed from the island, an
export authorization must be obtained from the office of the
Department of Antiquities at the Cyprus Museum.
Passage Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:30 PM
No U.S. citizen needs a visa to enter Cyprus. Employees and
family members should bring six passport size photos with them.
Pets Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:31 PM
Due to new EU regulations, quarantine for cats and dogs is no
longer required in Cyprus. The pet must have an implanted microchip
or tattoo, which can then be scanned by the vetrinarian upon
arrival. You must be prepared to pay an inspection fee at the
airport to an officer of the vetrinary services for inspection of
your pet BEFORE it is allowed to disembark. The charge is CYP 25.00
per animal if you arrive during regular office hours, or CYP 35.00
per animal if you arrive after regular office hours. Please let Post
know ahead of time if you will be bringing a pet with you. Food and
cat litter are available locally, but are expensive.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:31 PM
Importation of firearms is prohibited. All inquiries should be
directed to the RSO.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
12/12/2005 3:31 PM
The unit of currency on the island is the Cyprus pound, which is
divided into 100 cents. Currency notes are issued in denominations
of CYP 20, 10, 5, and 1. Coins are minted in the value of CYP .50,
.20, .10, .05, .02, and .01. Adequate Cypriot banks are on the
island. One Cypriot pound is currently equivalent to $2.09 (December
2005) and is well backed by foreign exchange. In the north, although
the Cyprus pound and U.S. dollar are accepted in most places, the
Turkish lira (TL) has been the de facto medium of exchange since
Commercial banking is well developed, including ATMs. Personal
checks drawn on dollar accounts may be cashed at the Embassy Bank,
and only in cases of emergencies at the Cashier’s Office. Travelers
checks may be purchased from the Embassy Bank. All personnel should
maintain a checking account with a U.S. bank. Salaries of Department
of State and all other agency personnel are deposited directly to
employee’s personal bank accounts.
The metric system is now in common use in Cyprus, though more
traditional forms of measurement are still encountered.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 12/9/2005
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:36 PM
These titles are provided as a general guide to material
available on Cyprus. The Department of State does not endorse
Alastos, D. Cyprus in History, A Survey of 5000 Years.
Arnold, Percy. Cyprus Challenge. London, 1956.
Attalides, Michael. Cyprus, Nationalism and International
Balfour, Patrick. The Orphaned Realm. London, 1951.
Ball, George. Chapter on Cyprus from George Ball’s Memoirs.
Borowiec, Andrew. The Mediterranean Feud. New York, 1983.
Clerides, Glafkos. My Deposition. London, 1988.
Crawshaw, Nancy. The Cyprus Revolt.
Denktash, Rauf. Cyprus Triangle. London, 1982.
Durrell, Lawrence. Bitter Lemons. New York, 1957.
Foley, Charles. Island in Revolt, Legacy of Strike.
Foley, Charles. The Memoirs of Cyprus (four volumes).
Hitchens, Christofer. Cyprus: Hostage to History.
Keshishian, K. Romantic Cyprus.
Kyriakides, Stanley. Cyprus: Constitutionalism and Crisis in
Luke, Sir Harry. Cyprus: A Portrait and Appreciation.
Polyviou, P. Cyprus: Conflict and Negotiation, 1960-1980.
Polyviou, P. Cyprus in Search of a Constitution.
Polyviou, P. Cyprus, The Tragedy and the Challenge.
Reddaway, John. Burdened with Cyprus.
Zavallis Press. Aphrodite’s Realm.
Cyprus Government: HYPERLINK http://www.pio.gov.cy/
Cyprus Car Hire: HYPERLINK http://www.byprus-car-hire.com/
Hertz Cyprus: HYPERLINKhttp://www.hertz.com.cy/
Windflower Car Rentals: HYPERLINK http://www.windflower.com.cy/
Kopiaste Travel: HYPERLINK http://www.cyprustourism.org/
Cyprus Guide: HYPERLINK http://www.cyprushotels.com/
Cyprus Tourism Newspaper: HYPERLINK
North Cyprus: HYPERLINK http://www.north-cyprus.com/
Nicosia-Oralia Travel & Tours: HYPERLINK
Paphos-Memodays Travel: HYPERLINK
Akamas Natural Trails: HYPERLINK
Food Guide for Cyprus: HYPERLINK
Cyprus Stock Exchange: HYPERLINK http://www.cse.com.cy/
Central Bank of Cyprus: HYPERLINK http://www.centralbank.gov.cy/
Cyprus and European Union Accession Negotiations: HYPERLINK
Cyprus Property Net: HYPERLINK http://www.cyprus-property.net/
Kyprios-Net: HYPERLINK http://www.kypros.org www.kypros.org
Cyprus Index: HYPERLINK http://www.kypros.org/Eureka
Cyprus Search: HYPERLINK http://www.searchcyprus.com
www.searchcyprus.com Cyprus Weekly Newspaper: HYPERLINK
Cyprus Mail Newspaper: HYPERLINK http://www.cyprusmail.com
Spidernet Internet Service Provider: HYPERLINK
Cypnet Internet Service Provider: HYPERLINK http://www.cypnet.com
U.S. Embassy: HYPERLINK http://www.americanembassy.org.cy
Local Holidays Last Updated: 12/12/2005 3:37 PM
The following is a chronological list of the holidays celebrated
by the Republic of Cyprus (not all of which are observed by the
Embassy): Greek Community Holidays:
New Year’s Day January 1 Epiphany Day January 6 Clean Monday,
beginning of Greek Orthodox Lent Variable Greek Independence Day
March 25 Good Friday Variable Holy Saturday Variable Easter Monday
Variable Labor Day May 1 Holy Spirit Day June 20 Assumption Day
August 15 Cyprus Independence Day October 1 Ohi Day October 28
Christmas Eve December 24 Christmas Day December 25 Boxing Day
In addition to mutual holidays on January 1 (New Year's Day) and
May 1 (Labor Day), the Turkish Cypriot community celebrates the
following holidays: Turkish Cypriot Community Holidays: Opening of
the Turkish Grand National Assembly April 23 Turkish Youth Day May
19 Ramazan Bayram Variable Turkish Landing in 1974 July 20 Turkish
Victory Day August 30 Kurban Bayram Variable Turkish Republic Day
October 29 Birthday of the Prophet Variable