Animals and Plants
Which animals live in Cyprus?
Some endemic animals live in Cyprus, such as the Cyprus mouflon, a wild sheep. The Cypriot spiny mouse is also endemic, it only exists in Cyprus. It was only discovered in 2004 and is noticeable for its larger head size and larger ears. But they have been around for thousands of years.
Incidentally, it is very rare for an unknown mammal like this little mouse to be discovered in Europe. There are also known animal species such as rabbits, foxes, wild cats, fallow deer and bats.
What is the name of the lizard that only lives in Cyprus?
Sea turtles are comfortable on the beaches of Cyprus, they are protected by the government, especially during the times when they lay their eggs.
A lizard, the Hardun, can often be seen in Cyprus. You can see this on the photo opposite. He likes to sunbathe on rocks and stone walls.
There is also a venomous snake, the lava otter. This is a species of viper that only occurs in Eastern Europe and is also widespread in Cyprus.
What is flying around there?
Migratory birds also like to stop by in Cyprus. They like to stop here on their long flight to Africa. Above all, the mountain heights in the north and in the middle serve as a retreat for the birds, some of which live there all year round, others just nest and move on. Eagles, falcons, sparrowhawks, vultures and many songbird species also have a home on Cyprus. Among the endemic bird species include the shed Warbler and the Cyprus wheatear.
By the way, pygmy hippos and pygmy elephants have lived in Cyprus. That was a long time ago, however, and in the post-ice age. People brought cattle, sheep and goats with them.
What is growing in Cyprus?
There is a lot of maquis in Cyprus. The bushes and trees typical of the Mediterranean region grow: turpentine acacia, gorse, strawberry tree or myrtle. The evergreen golden oak is endemic to Cyprus. The biodiversity in Cyprus is great, 1,800 wild plants grow there. The flowers are particularly beautiful to look at in spring.
In the Troodos Mountains there are still large areas of forest. Pine trees that are closely related to the Aleppo pine grow here, as well as cypress, cedar and pine trees. The forest is a specialty of Cyprus, because 18 percent of the area is covered by forest. The yellow flowering stone herb is typical of Cyprus.
The traces of foreign rule in Cyprus
The third largest Mediterranean island has always been in great demand. The rulers of the Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Franks, the Venetians and the British changed. All these countries have somehow left their mark on the island, be it in the architecture, in the culture, in the eating habits or in the way the people live.
Cyprus is divided into a Turkish-influenced north and a Greek-influenced south. There are big differences between the two cultures here. The Greek Cypriot society still influences the Orthodox Church today. The Turkish part is influenced by Muslims. The north is also much sparsely populated than the south and this region is doing worse economically. There are now more tourists here than in the past, but the north is still different from the south.
Modern and past
Especially in the country you are in no great hurry. The old men like to sit in the cafes, play a popular game called backgammon, and have a coffee with them. If you should discover a woman here, you can assume that she is a tourist. In the churches too, men and women always sit separately. The women run the household, embroider and sew and make lace.
That sounds very comfortable. In Cyprus, however, the young people move from the village to the city in the hope of finding work there. The Cypriot villages are dying out more and more. It was not that long ago that donkey carts pulled across the villages and a car was almost never seen there. But a lot is changing here. Some things are good, but some are also bad.
Especially when it comes to handicrafts, the Cypriots maintain their old traditions, especially in the country. So women embroider according to old patterns and the art of pottery is used. There are still old artisan quarters in the small towns where people go about the silver or coppersmith trade.
Eating in Cyprus
What do you eat in Cyprus?
Cypriot cuisine is similar to Greek cuisine, but it has strong Turkish and also Arabic influences. The British cuisine is also not to be denied, so you will also find the popular fish and chips and the English breakfast in Cyprus. Nevertheless, the Cypriots were largely able to free themselves from these influences and retain their independent cuisine. What do you eat in Cyprus now?
The classic Greek farmer’s salad with sheep’s cheese is popular as a starter. You are sure to know the Greek tzatziki if you have already been to a Greek restaurant with your parents. It’s a yogurt that is flavored with garlic. A little less garlic is used in Cyprus.
Very popular in Cyprus: grilled meat
According to holidaysort, everyone in Cyprus loves meat from the charcoal grill. Large skewers of meat with souvla, which is usually lamb or goat meat, are particularly well seasoned in restaurants. The smaller version is called Suvláki, which you may have eaten before.
Then there are Sieftaliá, which are minced meat rolls. You pack them in píttá, the popular flatbread, and there are tomatoes and cucumbers. The national dish of Cyprus is called Kléftiko. This is lamb or goat meat that is traditionally braised in a clay oven. There is also braised potatoes.
A very special cheese
If you don’t want to eat meat, you can use a cheese made from goat, sheep and cow milk. This is called Halloumi. This is also often put into the flatbread, píttá, and served with spices. It is also often grilled and served with side dishes such as tomatoes or potatoes.
Legume soups are also popular. Dolmádes are vine leaves stuffed with rice or sometimes with minced meat. Hummus is a puree made from chickpeas, oil, parsley and garlic.
And what else is there?
Also olives are popular and love to come to the table. Fish from Cyprus’ own waters are rare and usually very expensive. The Cypriot fish often come from fish farms. This is where the fish are bred and kept. Red sea mullets (barbounia) and squid (calamari) are popular in Cyprus.
Who Sweet like usually also gets the same quite fat to eat as many sweet things are fried in fat.
Mocha is popular as a drink, but you can order it as a café. It is then available with little, a lot or a lot of sugar.