Cyprus is located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, about 95 km (60 miles) west of the Syrian coast, 75 km (47 miles) south of the Turkish coast and 325 km (203 miles) north of the Egyptian coast.
Its total surface area encompasses 9,250 sq. kilometres (3,571 sq. miles).
The population of Cyprus is 796,740 (July 2009 est.) and the capital city is Nicosia (Lefkosia).
Cyprus is divided into two mountain masses and a central plain between them known as the Mesaoria Plain.
The Troodos Mountains, formed of molten igneous rock, cover most of the south and west of the island, accounting for roughly half its area. They include Mount Olympus, which is the island’s highest peak at 1,951 m (6,401 ft).
To the north of the Mesaoria Plain, the narrow Kyrenia Range, extends along the northern coastline, occupies considerably less area, and is a narrow limestone ridge that rises suddenly from the plains. Its easternmost extension becomes a series of foothills on the Karpas Peninsula. That peninsula points toward Asia Minor, to which Cyprus belongs geologically.
Geologists believe that copper deposits discovered on the slopes of the Troodos Mountains originally formed under the Mediterranean Sea.
Centuries of deforestation have seriously affected the island's drainage system and made access to a year-round supply of water difficult. A network of rivers flows from the Troodos Mountains in all directions, but all of the island's rivers remain dry during the summer months the summer. As a consequence, an extensive system of dams has been built to bring water to farming areas.
Productiveness of the Mesaoria Plain, the agricultural heartland of the island, depends on winter rain and irrigation. The capital of the island, Nicosia, lies in the middle of this central plain.
Cyprus has an intense Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers from mid-May to mid-September and rainy winters from November to mid-March. These are separated by rather short autumn and spring seasons of swift change in weather conditions.
At latitude 350 N, Longitude 330 E, Cyprus has a change in day length from 9.8 hours in December to 14.5 hours in June.
The summer is a season of high temperatures and almost negligible rainfall. During the winter Cyprus is near the track of fairly frequent small depressions that give periods of disturbed weather usually lasting from one to three days and produce most of the annual precipitation, the average fall from December to February being about 60% of the annual total.
Rainfall in the warm months contributes little or nothing to water resources and agriculture, and the autumn and winter rainfall, on which agriculture and water supply generally depend, is rather unpredictable.
Average annual rainfall:
480 mm. Statistical analysis reveals a decreasing trend of rainfall amounts in the last 30 years.
Highest registered rainfall:
759 mm (1968/69)
Lowest registered rainfall:
182 mm (1972/73)
Frequent every winter on ground above 1,000 m (3,200 ft)
In the lowlands:
2 or 3 times a year
In the mountains:
6 to 9 times a year
Variation according to altitude:
5C per 1,000 m (3,200 ft)
Seasonal difference between mid-summer and mid-winter temperatures:
- Inland: 18C
- Seaside: 14C
Difference between day maximum and night minimum temperatures:
· Winter: 8°C to 10°C on the lowlands and 5°C to 6°C on the mountains
· Summer: 16°C on the central plain and 9°C to 12°C elsewhere
Mean daily temperatures:
· Winter: 10°C on the central plain and 3°C on the higher parts of Troodos
· Summer: 29°C on the central plain and 22°C on the Troodos mountains
Average maximum and minimum temperatures:
· Central plain: Maximum 36°C. Minimum 5°C
· Troodos Mountains: Maximum 27°C. Minimum 0°C
Maximum sea temperature:
Average sea temperature:
· June to November: 22°C
· January to March: 16°C to 17°C
Winter and nights:
Average hours of sunshine:
75% of the time the sun is above the horizon
11.5 hours (average)
5.5 hours in the cloudiest months (December and January