Facts about Cyprus

Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

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Cyprus Landscape

The geology of Cyprus was massively influenced by the collision of the Euro-Asian and African tectonic plates which happened about 80 millGeography of Cyprusion years ago. When the complex of Troodos constituted an island during the Lower Miocene era 25 million years ago, the Mesaoria plain, to the north and the Pentadactylos or Kyrenia range, further north, remained under the sea. Later to the end of Miocene era, Pentadactylos begun rising above the sea, while the Mesaoria plain remained under the sea to be shown above the sea much later in Pleistocene era. Coastline as the latest formation took the last stage in geologic modification. The rocks in general, sedimentary or metamorphic, hard, soft, or fractured, varied in color and quality, have got a significant meaning in formation of the landscape of Cyprus. Hand in hand with the rocks, different types of soil contribute to the colorful scenery of the country.

At present Cyprus can be topographically sub-divided into five morphological regions:

a) Pentadactylos or Kyrenia range: A narrow range that lies in the north of Cyprus resembling an arc-like line of land runs parallel to the coastline. With Kyparissovouno (Mount Selvili), the highest peak that reaches up to 1024 meters a. s. l., it is predominantly made up of hard limestone, dolomite and marble. The continuation of the Kyrenia range is represented by the Karpasia peninsula, further to the east with the tip of Zafer Cape, where no or little tectonic movements were recorded.

b) The ophiolite massif of Troodos: Spreads in the central-western part of Cyprus, it is made of the rocks of mountain block (gabbros, dunites, serpentines) that give the scenery a harsh and rugged look. There are plenty of steep-sided, deep valleys and one also finds there vertical slopes. Rounded hills occur too, made of soft rocks. The Olympos summit represents the highest peak with its 1951 meters a. s. l. and radial drainage pattern of the rivers which start in the mountain and end up in the sea is typical in the area. This region is also rich in dams and one can find there the three magnificent waterfalls, namely Kalidonia, Mesapotamos and Chantara.

c) The hills around the massif of Troodos and south of the Kyrenia range: Extending mainly eastwards, southwards and westwards off the ophiolite complex of Troodos, they consist predominantly of chalks. They present white landscape with rounded and bare features, completed by dry-fed cultivation, especially vineyards down beneath. Vine-growing villages of Pafos and Limassol districts make it a remarkable region.

d) Mesaoria Central plain: The central plain of Cyprus spreads in between the two mountains and with low altitude does not go over 180 meters a. s. l. Sediments from the Troodos and the Kyrenia ranges have been transported and gathered into the plain by streams in recent geological times and they represent the main consistence of the Mesaoria. The total horizontal distance of the plain from the Morfou bay in the west to Famagusta bay to the east, ranges up to 90 km. There is a rich aquifer in the extreme south-eastern part, in Kokkinochoria area, with the elevation of 70 m and it is the second most important in the country. The area was given a name in connection with the deep red color of the soil.

e) Coastal plains: These are the elevated beaches that appear almost around the whole Cyprus. The visitor might find the coastal plain of Kyrenia in the north which is very narrow but with significant scenery. In the south, plain of Larnaka spreads, lying below 100 meters a. s. l. and comprises alluvium and terrace deposits of recent geological formations. Salt Lake represents the most significant morphological feature which is separated from the sea by porous deposits. During the winter it is full of water whereas in the summer it remains dry because of the evaporation. It is an important wetland destination for migratory birds in the winter and spring months. The coastal plain of Limassol spreads over the Akrotiri peninsula with extensions to Pissouri-Avdimou to the west and small areas east of Amathous and lies below 200 m. One will find here Akrotiri Lake. The water from the sea that fills the lake in winter months enters via the porous deposits, whilst during the summer evaporation makes the lake dry. When moving further west, the plains of Pafos and Chrysochou can be found. The plain of Pafos lies predominantly below 200 m, and consists of a line along the coast extending from Petra tou Romiou, not far from the Pafos-Limassol administrative boundaries, up to a small dwelling of St. George (Pegeia). Its length spreads up to 45 km, while its width varies locally but never exceeds 8 km. To the westwards and eastwards of Polis there extends the coastal plain of Chrysochou, which includes the part of the narrow Chrysochou valley to the south. Fruit trees, citrus, vegetables and banana plants are mainly cultivated and grown in the area.

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