08/06/2009 18:17 +0300
& Orientation in Cyprus:
GEOGRAPHY & ORIENTATION |
Romiou' on the south coast of Cyprus
Cyprus is the third largest
island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and Sardinia, with
an area of 9,251 sq kilometres (3,572 sq miles).
It is situated at the
north-eastern corner of the Mediterranean, at a distance of
300 kilometres north of Egypt, 90 kilometres west of Syria,
and 60 kilometres south of Turkey. Greece lies 360
kilometres to the north-west (Rhodes and Karpathos).
Cyprus lies at a latitude of
34°33' - 35°34' North and longitude 32°16'-34°37' East.
The country has two mountain
ranges: the Pentadaktylos range which runs along almost the
entire northern coast, and the Troodos massif in the central
and south-western parts of the island. Cyprus' coastal line
is indented and rocky in the north with long sandy beaches
in the south. The north coastal plain, covered with olive
and carob trees, is backed by the steep and narrow
Pentadaktylos mountain range of limestone, rising to a
height of 1.042 m. In the south, the extensive mountain
massif of Troodos, covered with pine, dwarf oak, cypress and
cedar, culminates in the peak of Mount Olympus, 1.953 m.
above sea level. Between the two ranges lies the fertile
plain of Messaoria.
|Skiing on the
Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate: hot, dry summers from
June to September and mild, wet winters from November to
March, which are separated by short Autumn and Spring
seasons of rapid change in weather patterns in October,
April and May.
Sunshine is abundant during
the whole year, particularly from April to September when
the daily average exceeds 11 hours. Winds are on the whole
light to moderate. Gales are very infrequent and heavy
Snow hardly falls in the
lowlands and on the northern range, but is a frequent
feature every winter on ground above 1.000 metres in the
Troodos range. From December till April snow is usually in
evidence there, but hardly continuous. Yet during the
coldest months it lies in considerable depth for several
weeks, attracting skiers.
|Almond tree in
With its approximately 1.800 species, subspecies and
varieties of flowering plants, Cyprus is an extremely
interesting place for nature lovers and has all the
attributes which make it a botanist's paradise. Being an
island, it is sufficiently isolated to allow the evolution
of a strong endemic flowering element. At the same time,
being surrounded by big continents, it incorporates
botanological elements of the neighbouring land masses.
About 7% of the indigenous plants of the island - 140
different species and subspecies - are endemic to Cyprus.
The present-day fauna of
Cyprus includes some 7 species of land mammals, 26 species
of amphibians and reptiles, 365 species of birds, and a
great variety of insects, while the coastal waters of the
island give shelter to 197 fish species and various species
of crabs, sponges and echinodermata.
The largest wild animal that
still lives on the island is the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis
orientalis ophion), a rare type of wild sheep that can only
be found in Cyprus. Cyprus is used by millions of birds as a
stopover during their migration from Europe to Africa and
back. The main reason for that is the existence on the
island of two wetlands, with unique and international
importance, namely the Larnaka and Akrotiri salt lakes. From
the numerous wild birds of Cyprus, birds of prey are the
most fascinating and among them the Eleonora's falcon (Falco
eleonorae) and the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) are the
jewels in the crown. The island’s sea creatures include
seals and turtles. Two marine turtles, the Green turtle (Chelona
mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) breed
regularly on the island's sandy beaches and are strictly
protected. The main forest plant species are the Brutia pine
(Pinus brutia) and the Black pine (Pinus nigra) found in the
Troodos mountain area. The Cyclamen (Cyclamen cyprium) has
been declared Cyprus’ national plant while the Golden oak (Quercus
alnifolia) has become the island’s national tree.
Press and Information Office of the Ministry of the Interior
Geography & Orientation |