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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 Cyprus.

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 the elections.

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 found.

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 uncrated.

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 Cyprus.

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 vehicle.

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 conditioning.

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 purchased locally.

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 PM

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 computer.

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 CYP/month.

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, DC 20521–5450

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, Cyprus Today.

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 Cyprus.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 12/12/2005 2:52 PM

Children should have the DPT and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) inoculations.

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 2:52 PM

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 Europe.

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 (FBIS).

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 dependents.


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 lodging rate.

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 bathrooms.

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 safely.

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 the U.S.

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 expensive.

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 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 Mission personnel.

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. 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 nominal.

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 address:

Highgate Primary School 25–27 Heroes Avenue Ayios Andreas, Nicosia Maria Theocari, Headmistress E-mail: 357–22–780–527

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 address:

The American International School in Cyprus 11 Kassos St. PO Box 23847 1686 Nicosia, Cyprus Joanna Ramos, EdS., Director E-mail: 357–22–316–345

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: 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 address:

The Junior School PO Box 23903 Nicosia, Cyprus Joyce Grimley, Headmistress E mail: HYPERLINK mailto: 357–22–664–855

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 overnight stays.

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 instructors.

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 home.

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 Shakespeare’s “Othello.”

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 30,000 cedars.

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 ballets.

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 discotheques.

Nightclubs are typically very crowded and smoke filled. Most Cypriots don’t begin to arrive at the clubs until around midnight or later.

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.

Official Functions

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 shipment date.

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 Cyprus.

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 privileged employee.

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 tour.

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 1975.

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 9:21 AM

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 unofficial publications.

Alastos, D. Cyprus in History, A Survey of 5000 Years.

Arnold, Percy. Cyprus Challenge. London, 1956.

Attalides, Michael. Cyprus, Nationalism and International Politics.

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 Government.

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.

Recommended Websites

Cyprus Government: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Car Hire: HYPERLINK

Hertz Cyprus: HYPERLINK

Windflower Car Rentals: HYPERLINK

Kopiaste Travel: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Guide: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Tourism Newspaper: HYPERLINK

North Cyprus: HYPERLINK

Nicosia-Oralia Travel & Tours: HYPERLINK

Paphos-Memodays Travel: HYPERLINK

Akamas Natural Trails: HYPERLINK

Food Guide for Cyprus: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Stock Exchange: HYPERLINK

Central Bank of Cyprus: HYPERLINK

Cyprus and European Union Accession Negotiations: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Property Net: HYPERLINK

Kyprios-Net: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Index: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Search: HYPERLINK Cyprus Weekly Newspaper: HYPERLINK

Cyprus Mail Newspaper: HYPERLINK

Spidernet Internet Service Provider: HYPERLINK

Cypnet Internet Service Provider: HYPERLINK


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 December 26

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

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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