(Kypriakí Dimokratía; Kibris Cumhuriyeti). Co-extensive state with the homonymous island, located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea (5,896 km² Republic of Cyprus; 3,355 km² Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). Capital: Nicosia. Republic: Population of Cyprus 789,300. (2008 estimate); Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 271,100 inhab. (2008 estimate). Language: Republic of Cyprus Greek and Turkish (official); Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus turkish. Religion: Orthodox 94.8%, Catholics 1.5%, Maronite Catholics 0.6%, Muslims 0.6%, Armenians 0.3%, other religions 2.2%. Monetary unit: euro (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.912 (28th place). Member of: Commonwealth, Council of Europe, EBRD, UN, OSCE, EU and WTO.
TERRITORY: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY
Morphologically Cyprus is linked to the corrugations that border the southern side of Anatolia, as it detached itself at the end of the Cenozoic era from the Taurus range. From the structural point of view, a northern fold can be distinguished (Mount Kyreneia or Pentadáutylos, 1023 m), formed largely by sedimentary rocks from the Mesozoic, which extends towards the E with the long peninsula of Karpas, closed by the cape of Sant’Andrea; in the southern section of the island rises a more imposing mountain system, consisting mainly of effusive eruptive rocks – in the Mesozoic there was a recurring volcanic activity – and culminating in the Olympus mountains (Mount Tróodos, 1953 m), from which numerous ridges branch off and which the incessant erosive action has intensely modeled, giving rise to jagged ridges and deep valley furrows. Between the two chains opens a large depression, the Mesaria or Mesoaria. It constitutes, with the exception of the small coastal plains, the only flat area of the island and is therefore the most populated and economically important, despite the presence of vast limestone expanses considerably reducing the fertility of the soil. The coastline is varied: straight and uniform to the N, the coastline is divided elsewhere into gulfs and bays (of Famagusta, Lárnaca, Limassól, Episkope, Mórfou etc.). The hydrographic network is modest; the watercourses have a torrential regime, as they are fed solely by winter rainfall, while they are almost dry in summer. The most important, the Pediaíos and the Jalias, run through the Mesaria: once subject to floods and often disastrous floods during the rains, they have now been partly regulated by various artificial basins, which also made it possible to irrigate vast agricultural areas. The climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and very hot summers, especially in the central plain (Nicosia averages 36 ºC in July and 14.5 ºC in January). The rains, concentrated in autumn and winter, generally do not exceed 500 mm per year; they decrease to 350 mm in the Mesaria, more closed to maritime influences, while on the southern hills it can reach 1000 mm per year. The climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and very hot summers, especially in the central plain (Nicosia averages 36 ºC in July and 14.5 ºC in January). The rainfall generally does not exceed 500 mm per year; they decrease to 350 mm in the Mesaria, more closed to maritime influences, while on the southern reliefs it can reach 1000 mm per year. The prevalent vegetation consists of the Mediterranean scrub; on the mountain areas, however, there are pine and cypress woods.
In the past, the vegetation of Cyprus was mainly composed of pine forests, which once covered a large part of the territory but are now reduced to a few areas in the Tróodos mountain range.; in places that in the past were subject to intense deforestation, the Mediterranean scrub has spread, becoming the prevailing vegetation. However, the most common tree species are cypress, cedar, juniper and plane tree. The flora of Cyprus is very varied and rich in endemic species of great beauty (poppies, buttercups, anemones). One of the rarest species is the orchid, of which there are 45 varieties in Cyprus. The local fauna consists of foxes, hares, hedgehogs, as well as many species of reptiles (lizards, geckos, various families of snakes). Among the poultry species, raptors such as the hawk and the griffon vulture are widespread. There are also numerous animals protected because they are at risk of extinction that live in the reserves; in particular we remember the Cypriot mouflon and the monk seal. From an environmental point of view, Cyprus has suffered the consequences of a strong building development, which has characterized the cities of the southern part of the island following the split. A particularly harmful environmental impact has had the uncontrolled construction of large hotel complexes on the coasts of the country. The shortage of drinking water is one of the most serious problems in the region, and is considerably aggravated by the consumption of it in tourist facilities. In the North, building development over the past thirty years has been more moderate. According to 800zipcodes, protected areas make up 4.4% of the territory. The problem of environmental protection has led to the establishment of numerous forest and marine reserves and various national forest parks. The only real National Park is the one located in the Akamas peninsula, at the extreme West of the country.