April 1 – Greek Cypriot Day in Cyprus

Posted on April 1, 2015

Cyprus is a nation divided. The Republic of Cyprus, according to Cyprus itself and every country in the world other than Turkey, rules the entire island of Cyprus. However, ever since Cyprus's independence from Britain in 1960, there has always been strife between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. For eleven years the “strife” became violence, and when Greek Cypriots grabbed control of the government in 1974, Turkey responded by invading the island.

Since that 1974 war, the northern part of the island of Cyprus has been the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (according to itself and Turkey), or illegally occupied by Turkish armed forces (according to everyone else in the world).

The Republic of Cyprus (the Greek-majority part) is major tourist spot with gorgeous beaches, modern facilities, high incomes, and a strong human rights record. However, the division of the nation is a painful reminder that people cannot move as freely throughout the island as they might wish.

Today is the celebration of this date in 1955 when Greek Cypriots first started a struggle against the British in their efforts to achieve independence. Apparently some Greek Cypriots celebrate the day by going to special church services or school programs that focus on the history of the day.

As you can see from this map, Cyprus is closer to
Turkey than it is to the Greek islands, such as Crete.

Here are some things Cyprus can be proud of:

  • Aphrodite Beach, on which Aphrodite was supposed to have been born by rising from the foam...and whose rocks reportedly make pillars of foam that islanders claim look like Aphrodite rising up again.

  • Paphos, including the Tombs of the Kings and Roman mosaics.

  • Wild sheep, the national symbol – BUT they were once considered vermin and were hunted almost to extinction!

  • Halloumi, a cheese made from goat and/or sheep's milk.

  • A wishing tree that is adorned with handkerchiefs, ribbons, and votive rags – all tied onto branches in the hopes that people would have good luck, illnesses would be cured, people lost at sea would return, and so forth.

  • The wreck of the Zenobia, rated one of the world's best wreck diving sites.

Also on this date:

Mathematician Sophie Germain's birthday

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