Religion in Cyprus


According to thesciencetutor, 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).

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.

People in Cyprus

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.

Cyprus Religion