Everybody else seems to have been to Cyprus, so not to feel left out we went too. Like most of the British we went to the southern (Greek) part.
We wanted to visit the northern (Turkish) part but we were told that the process would have taken most of a week to negotiate.
I hadn't really got much of an idea where Cyprus was till the screen on the back of the aircraft seat showed that if we overshot the island we'd land in Beirut. So it's the last big island before the Middle East starts, if you ignore Africa because you've flown past Libya, Egypt and the like.
Here's a map or two for the geographically bewildered
I don't know about the Turkish part, but the Greek Cypriots drive on the left, and are part of the EEC but use pounds rather than Euros, a British pound is currently worth about 0.8 Cypriot pounds. Almost everybody in the tourist industry knows enough English to do their job and they don't seem to resent our occasional intrusion, or they are polite enough not to show it. The shop and road signs are at least bi-lingual (if they have any relevance to us) and the roads are better than ours. I was told that this is because they are British built, but I don't know if it's true. They drive more politely than the Portuguese possibly because somebody had the sense to make the hire cars (tourists) distinctive with red number plates. They hope to have a Sat-Nav map soon, but don't hold your breath. While we were there (May) the weather was fine, warm and sunny with a thunderstorm on the Thursday night and rain on the Friday. There are no gutters so the rain pours off the roofs, Heavy rain floods the streets and is quite dramatic (and in the wrong place dangerous) before it is sucked up by the bare lime and sandstone. This may increase with global warming, certainly the newer road builders have planned for a fairly massive throughput of water. I expect to see gutters soon, but the house builders don't want to put off the tourists and ex-pats. If you intend to buy there, consider where the water will flow, because when it does, it's fast, and there's no soil, trees, or roots to hold it up. On the right you can see the village path underwater. The fact that we always go on holiday off-season does have one disadvantage. The tourist industry in the Mediterranean, and come to think of it, all over the world is focused on beaches and bars first, so if you go looking for a famous cave or ruin, there's no help, direction or sign of it till you get there (except in the high season). It will probably be closed, sometimes so closed that it doesn't even have a fence, and you can wander round (albeit somewhat baffled) to your hearts content. So it’s worth digging out any old guides, maps or other paperwork. Incidentally, if there is an attendant, note that if you don't get a ticket, there's no record, and the money can go in his pocket. This applies anywhere in the world too.
There are large archaeological sites, often covered with huge protective roofs, which are open (in the sense that you can go in) like Eustolios' house, others, uncovered, like the theatre, with a gate you can open, for a pound. Then there are some, like the one called, for obvious reasons "Tenta", (See Right) which looked inviting, was visible for miles, difficult to get to, but when we got there it was emphatically enclosed, shut, and not open.
Others were just shut..
The Island is mainly made of sandstone and limestone
and where there is limestone you get caves, we found a tiny shrine by accident. I haven't a clue where it was, the little structure on top let the light in and kept most of the rain out
On the other end of the scale, the church in the Kykkos Monastery in the Troodos mountains was amazing (though sadly full of disapproving priests) I think they would have welcomed us with open arms but we had left our gold bars in the hotel. One of them did make a bit of an effort at gouging me for trouser hire and last minute museum tickets, as in "That'll be £2 each thank-you, closes in 5 minutes". He was a bit surprised when I took the money back out of his hand, and probably a little hurt that we put nothing in the gigantic collection box.
We saw the near vertical village hanging from the edge of the road, and seemed to be made of rusty corrugated iron.
Obviously the collection wasn't being spent there Sorry I couldn't find you a photograph of the fine local church, it was on the only flat bit of ground.
As you might have gathered I wasn't too impressed with the established church, or priesthood, which didn't look at all like irritable potbellied stoves, no no. I'm sure nobody thinks that, but I'm willing to bet that they had disrespectfully naked legs under all that cloth.
The island has a fair bit of sandstone, which the inhabitants have made good use of over the ages, so there are lots of tombs cut into it. notably the "Tombs of the Kings" in Paphos which is well worth a look. Here (on the right) is what looks like an early attempt at a two ton sliding door. Good idea, but it doesn't slide.
One warning, there is a genuine tourist trap in the roads leading to the village of Lefkara, famed for it's silver, embroidery and lace.
There's a large shop outside the village where they tell all sorts of lies to keep you from going into the village proper, (where the prices for linen, lace and especially the silverware are much lower,) there is plenty of parking space. You'll get a good chat, and possibly a glass of lemonade from Louis "Cardiff" Papaloizou