Cyprus still has a rural feel, and just over half of
Cypriots live in rural villages. The average population
density is 130 residents per km2. The Turkish
part is less densely populated (1/5 of the population lives
here). The largest cities are Nicosia (237,800 residents,
2012), Limassol (179,400) and Larnaca (58,000).
Countryaah data, Cyprus was colonized around 1200 BC of Greeks, who
thereby subjugated an older population. The many foreign
dominions during which the island subsequently happened did
not cause any change in the Greek and, over time, the
dominance of the Greek Orthodox residents. However, this
changed when the Latin Kingdom and, to a greater extent, the
Venetians began to try to incorporate the island into the
Roman Catholic sphere.
This development was interrupted by the Ottoman conquest
in 1570, when Catholicism was eradicated, while a large
number of Ottoman soldiers settled as peasants on the
island. As a result, Cyprus received two ethnically and
linguistically very diverse ethnic groups, Greek and Turkish
Cypriots. in connection with the Greek War of Independence
during the 1820s.
Independence in 1960 did not resolve the inherent ethnic
and national contradictions, but until the 1970s, both
Greeks and Turks lived largely throughout the island. Since
the 1960s there have been open contradictions between Greek
and Turkish Cypriots, often undermined by Greece and Turkey
respectively. During the 1974 crisis, which led, among other
things, to the Turkish invasion and division of the country,
180,000 to 200,000 Greeks were forced to leave their homes
in the northern part of the country, now occupied by the
Turkish military. 53,000 Turks were moved to the northern
part of the island. Of the total population, Greek Cypriots
in 1974 were 78%, while Turkish Cypriots accounted for 18
percent. There are two minor minorities: Armenians (2,000)
and Maronites (6,000), but they are politically regarded as
Greek Cypriots. Since 2008, Greek and Turkish Cypriots have
been trying to approach each other again.
Since 1974, considerable immigration from the Turkish
mainland has taken place in the Turkish zone with the aim of
changing the population distribution. The number of such
immigrants is estimated to be at least 40 percent;
significantly higher figures are mentioned from Greek
Cypriot. In addition, a large number of Kurdish, Lebanese,
Palestinian and Serbian refugees have settled in the south.
On the Greek Cypriot side there are also immigrants from the
Russian Federation, Greece and the United Kingdom. Also
included are guest workers from Sri Lanka, China and other
countries. The Greek part carried out a census in 2001,
while the Turkish conducted a 2006. No common census has
been done since 1973.
The emigration, which was extensive already in the late
1960s, increased during the first years of independence (a
total of more than 30,000 persons in 1960-61), but the
number of emigrants then gradually declined until 1974, when
it again skyrocketed; Greek Cypriot emigration is still
considerable, but several - especially highly educated -
Turkish Cypriots have left the country. There is therefore a
fairly large Cypriot diaspora in countries such as the UK,
the US and Australia.
In traditional culture, religious parties have also
played an important role in emphasizing ethnic identity, for
example. the carnival celebration of the Greeks. In some
local party fairs, e.g. at Pentecost, pre-Christian elements
survive. Of the island's traditional craft items, lace
embroidery in particular has become famous. In the food
culture, the Cypriot cheese haloumi has gained entry into
the international cuisine.
For the country's Muslims there are several important
monuments, including the Hala Sultan Tekk言 building complex
near Larnaca, which is considered to contain the tomb of
Muhammad's grandmother Umm Harram (Hala Sultan in Turkish).
It is therefore considered one of Islam's most sacred sites
and serves as an important pilgrimage site for both Muslims
and some Christians.
Official languages in the Greek Cypriot part are Greek
and Turkish, but the overwhelming majority are Greek
speaking. The Turkish speakers are now concentrated in the
northern, Turkish Cypriot part. An Arabic dialect is spoken
in the village of Kormakiti on the north coast.
The Greek population belongs to the Orthodox Church of
Cyprus, which was traditionally founded by Paul's co-worker
Barnabas. At the Council of Ephesus 431, the church was
declared autonomous (autocephalous), a position it still
holds. During the turn of the century, the bishops gained a
strong position as a people leader (ethnarchs) and during
the 20th century worked for union with Greece. When Cyprus
became a republic, Archbishop Makarios was elected by
Nicosia as its first president.
The Turkish people belong to Islam.