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Cyprus Island Information Nature
 
Nature
Nature's Gift    

From the topmost point of Mount Olympus to the coasts and sweeping plains, Cyprus is nature's island. Many exquisite wild flowers grow in splendid profusion in springtime. Trees, shrubs and plants luxuriate in the Mediterranean sunshine all year round. Bright bougainvillea blazes vividly against white walls, reflecting its splendor in the crystal clear waters.

Right through this magnificent flora of the island an equally superb and unique animal kingdom emerges. From reptiles and amphibians, to land mammals and fish.

Cyprus is also prized for its bird life, and the migratory birds that use the country as a stopover are eagerly awaited between seasons.

Due to the wonderful climate and variety of scenery, the island offers endless opportunities for nature lovers and outdoor sports fans. Activities such as angling, mountain-biking, hiking, gliding, golf, sea sports and yachting are but a few of the special activity holidays that the island offers.

With so many possibilities, Cyprus is a, bird watcher's paradise ... An archaeologist's heaven... a photographer's dream...

Flora of Cyprus

With its approximately 1,800 species and subspecies 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 neighboring land masses.

About 8% of the indigenous plants of the island, 125 different species and subspecies, are endemic. The island's great variety of habitats, attributed to a varied microclimate and geology, is the main reason, which contributed to this high number of endemics.

     
Fauna of Cyprus

The arrival of animals in Cyprus has been a subject of interest to zoologists, since it has always been an island. According to existing evidence, the first arrivals were hippopotami and elephants, both excellent swimmers. They arrived 1.5 million years ago and apart from some shrews and mice, were the only land mammals roaming the island prior to Man's arrival 9,000 years ago.

The present-day fauna of Cyprus includes some 7 species of land mammals, 26 species of amphibians and reptiles, 357 species of birds, a great variety of insects and mites, while the coastal waters of the island give shelter to 197 fish species and various species of crabs, sponges and echinoderma.

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.


The sea creatures include seals and turtles, though unfortunately the Monk seal no longer breeds in the coastal sea caves of the island. On the other hand two marine turtles, the Green turtle (Chelona mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) have been found to breed regularly on the island's sandy beaches and are strictly protected.
     
Birds of Cyprus and their Folklore  

Cyprus is used by millions of birds as a stepping-stone during their migration from Europe to Africa and back, something that has been observed since Homeric times. The main reason for that is the occurrence on the island of two wetlands, with unique and international importance, namely Larnaca and Akrotiri salt lakes.

The birds of Cyprus outnumber 350 species, about 200 of which are passage migrants. Some 46 residents and 27 migratory species breed regularly on the island while the endemic species (unique to Cyprus) are around 10.

From the numerous wild birds of Cyprus, birds of prey are the most fascinating and amongst them the Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) and the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) are the jewel on the crown.

By word of mouth a wealth of folk tales have been preserved to our days in which imaginary adventures of birds or people teach a lesson in morality and prudence or impart simple instructions for a wise conduct of life...

This relation of humans and birds is analyzed through this selection of birds of Cyprus and their folklore.

Cyprus is one of the few places on earth where the geological processes have played such an important role in the development of its natural environment. These processes prescribed at the same time the socioeconomic and historical evolution of the island, both in antiquity and in modern times.

 
 


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