Cypriot Culture

LEARN Friday, 27 October, 2017

Cypriot Culture

Cypriots are very proud of their cultural heritage, which stretches back more than 9000 years. However, you'll probably find that Cyprus today is more concerned with the events of the last 20 years than those of a millennium ago. The north of the island is busy re-creating itself in the image of Turkey, changing names to Turkish and embracing the life and culture of its northern neighbour. The Republic is also trying to create an independent identity, and many places in the Republic have recently been renamed as well.

Whatever the present-day situation may be, Cyprus is littered with reminders of the island's history. Relics from every era - Greek temples, Roman mosaics and 15th-century frescoes - influence the artists of today. Many villages specialise in a particular art form, and as you travel around Cyprus you'll see pottery, silver and copperware, basket weaving, tapestry and Lefkara's famous lacework.

Like everything else in Cyprus, religion is split along the Green Line. The northerners are mostly Sunni Muslim, the southerners Greek Orthodox. Food, too, reflects the divide: in the North, you'll find mostly Turkish cuisine; in the Republic, Greek. But wherever you are in Cyprus, you'll come across kleftiko (oven-baked lamb) and Mezedes (dips, salads and other appetisers). Cyprus is also famous for its fruit. You'll find strawberries, stone fruit, melons, prickly pear, citrus and grapes.