In general, and as a member of the European Union, Cyprus follows European norms and standards. English is widely spoken, as are other European languages, especially in the resort areas.
Cyprus has a well-developed system of primary and secondary education. The majority of Cypriots earn their higher education at Greek, British, and other European or American universities. The Greek Cypriot community has developed private colleges and publicly supported universities.
Cyprus has an open, free-market, services-based economy with some light manufacturing. Cyprus' accession as a full member to the European Union as of May 1, 2004, has been an important milestone in its recent economic development. The Cypriots are among the most prosperous people in the Mediterranean region. Internationally, Cyprus promotes its geographical location as a "bridge" between three continents, along with its educated English-speaking population, good airline connections, and telecommunications.
The Republic of Cyprus aligns itself with European positions within the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. Cyprus has long identified with the West in its cultural affinities and trade patterns, and maintains close relations with Greece.The Republic of Cyprus enjoys close relations with many countries, including Greece, Russia, China, France, Cuba, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, and other countries in the region. Cyprus is a member of the United Nations and most of its agencies, as well as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Council of Europe and the British Commonwealth. In addition, the government has signed the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency Agreement (MIGA).
Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers starting in mid-May and lasting until mid-September and rainy, quite mild winters from November to mid-March. Spring and autumn are effectively short intervals in between, characterised by smooth weather. With almost year-round clear skies and sunshine, daylight length ranges from 9.8 hours in December to 14.5 hours in June.
The currency of the Republic used to be the Cyprus pound - CY£. As from 1st January 2008 the Cyprus pound has been replaced by the Euro as the legal tender money of Cyprus at the irrevocable fixed exchange rate € 1 = CY£ 0,585274.
There are seven denominations in Euro banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro. They all have different colour and size, the higher the denomination, the bigger the size. One euro is divided into 100 cent. There are eight euro coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent, €1 and €2. The designs on one side of the coins are common to all the countries of the euro area, while the other side reflects national identities. All euro coins can be used in all euro area countries, irrespective of their national side.
Travelling to Cyprus is very easy. The documentation required varies, depending on your nationality. A valid passport is required for a stay of up to 90 days for all bonafide tourists except citizens of European Union countries, Switzerland , Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway who may enter Cyprus with their national identity card provided it bears a photo. Some non-EU third country nationals require a visa. Further detailed information can be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs