Cyprus, an island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, is known for its natural beauty, and rich cultural history. On this small island, one can find ancient Greek temples, Venetian-style walled cities, grand Lusignan cathedrals, Turkish steam-baths and British-era court buildings, government offices.
The Republic of Cyprus gained its independence from British colonial rule in 1960. It is a member of the European Union since 2004 and member of the Eurozone since 2008. The official languages are Greek and Turkish, but English is widely spoken in shops, hotels and in business.
The island was forcefully divided into two parts in 1974 with a mainly Turkish Cypriot northern part and mainly Greek Cypriot southern part. The latter part is the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, while the northern part is a self-declared Republic not recognized by international organizations.
Nicosia, also known as Lefkosia, is the capital city and is the location for government offices, financial services, large law offices and large trading companies. With an open economy and low barriers to entry, Cyprus is considered to be the 44th freest economy in the world according to the 2019 Index*. Its overall score increased by 0.3 point, with improvements in labor freedom, government integrity, and government spending.
Tourism, financial services and shipping are key sectors of the Cyprus economy. It is also famous for exports of a white cheese called ‘Halloumi’ which is made from Cyprus goat milk. The country has a highly developed education system offering both public and private education from primary to tertiary levels. The high quality of instruction can be attributed to the fact that nearly 7% of the GDP is spent on education which makes Cyprus one of the top three spenders of education in the EU alongside Denmark and Sweden.
Cyprus has been and remains one of the safest European countries to live in with very low use of drugs and alcohol by the youth. The healthcare system is at par with international standards and recently, the long awaited National Health Service was implemented offering universal low-cost health care to all legal permanent residents and citizens of the country.