The people of Cyprus are traditionally warm and welcoming and consider a visit to their island as a compliment - one that is repaid with genuine hospitality, summed up in the Greek word Philoxenia: Friendship towards the guest. Their native language is Greek, but English is readily spoken.
Town and Village Life
The towns of Cyprus present a modern cosmopolitan atmosphere blended with historic buildings and ancient monuments. Imposing colonial and classic style buildings combined with well-designed contemporary houses, apartment blocks and attractive shopping streets, some narrow and quaint, others thoroughly modern.
By contrast, life in the villages follows a slower pace, reflecting the importance of agriculture, cottage industries and family ties. Traditional flat roofed village houses made of mud brick are a common sight, while stone-built dwellings with tiled roofs can be seen in the mountains.
With an extensive history, Cyprus is remarkably rich in culture. Its importance has been honoured by UNESCO, which has included nine of the island's Byzantine Mountain churches and the entire town of Kato Paphos in its World Cultural Heritage List.
Throughout the year there are exhibitions, concerts, drama and folk festivals. Cypriot culture is also reflected in the rich folk art of the island. Age-old crafts, handed down from one generation to another, are faithfully carried on to this day fashioning handicrafts, both decorative and useful, that would grace any home.
Religion and celebration are deeply entwined, and the most important event in the church calendar is the occasion of Easter.
Another popular religious festival and one, which is unique to Cyprus, is “Kataklysmos” meaning the Flood that coincides with Pentecost, and is celebrated at coastal towns - especially Larnaca.
Every village has its “Panagyris” or Fair, usually at harvest time. On a larger scale the island celebrates its grapes at the annual Limassol Wine Festival and it’s flora at various town festivities. The Carnivals in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos are celebrated with parades, parties and masked balls, and there are cultural festivals in summer including the ancient Greek Drama Festival.