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History of Cyprus

The history of Cyprus is interesting and dramatic. The first settlements of ancient people discovered on the island belong to the Neolithic era (8200-3800 BC. BC). The settlement of Khirokitia, which is very well preserved, dates from this period. For the role played by Khirokitia in the transmission of the Neolithic culture from the Mediterranean region to the West, it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The historical development of the island was predetermined by three factors:

its geographical position. Being at the intersection of three parts of the world, trade routes and ancient civilizations for millennia made the island an apple of discord between European and Middle Eastern powers.
the arrival on the island of Mycenaean Greeks, which marked the beginning of the Hellenization of the island. In the 14th century BC. The first Greeks appeared, as merchants, and a little later, in the 12th century BC. for permanent residence, bringing with them their culture, language, traditions and their gods. Independent city-states are founded: Paphos, Salamina, Kourion, Kition, etc., erect majestic temples in honor of their gods, among which here, in Cyprus, the goddess Aphrodite Penorodnaya, Heavenly, holds a special place, in Homer we read: “Aphrodite of Cyprus” . She was born here, off the coast of Cyprus, not far from Paphos, from the drops of blood of her father Sky-Uranos, foamed by the sea. The cult of Aphrodite lasted on the island for more than 1600 years, for 300 years it competed with Christianity. It should be noted that the local population, having accepted the Greeks and their culture in those distant years, remained true to their choice, despite the many conquerors who had passed through the island with the desire to impose their customs and culture.
The third factor that played a huge role in the historical development of the island is the discovery of copper, which brought truly revolutionary changes to the island. Trade in copper, ceramics, which appears on the island already in the 5th millennium BC, with wood, of which the island was also very rich, brings prosperity to Cyprus, enriches the city-states. One of the first in the region, they minted their coins, ships are built at their shipyards. And, of course, does not leave indifferent the neighboring countries. At the very end of the 8th c. BC e. Assyrians capture the island, the Egyptians, who, in turn, in 545 BC, replace them. displaced by the Persians. Small Cyprus revolts twice against the ominous Persian Empire, and both times the kings of Salamí become the head of the uprising, who managed to unite all the city-states under their authority to achieve their goal. First Onisilos in 499-498gg. supports the uprising of the Ionian Greeks, and then Evagoras (411-374), attracting the Athenians to their side. And although the uprisings are defeated, Cyprus is becoming one of the leading political and cultural centers of the Greek world. The close connection with the Greek world, the application of the Greek alphabet on gold coins of Evagoras for the first time in Cyprus, became the second step towards the Hellenization of the island. In the end, the island of Persians relieves Alexander of Macedon. In gratitude for assistance from the Cypriot kings – 220 warships with crew and weapons during the siege of the city of Tire; Alexander, though includes the city-states of his empire, but does not abolish them. After the death of Alexander the Great, lengthy disputes about the inheritance between his military leaders led to the division of the empire. Cyprus went to the Ptolemies who occupied Egypt. They abolish the city-states, unite Cyprus into one state, and the city of Paphos becomes the capital of this state. Ptolemies pay great attention to education, theater, and culture in general. A very strong influence on the art of Cyprus has the capital of the kingdom of Ptolemies – Alexandria. This influence is clearly felt when we consider the sculptures, ceramics and figurines of this time. One of the wonders of the world – the Faroese lighthouse in Alexandria and the impressive “Royal Tombs” in Paphos date back to this period. It was at this time that the Greek alphabet completely supplanted the syllable letter used before this ka Cyprus, and this is the third and final step towards the Hellenization of the island. Since that time, Cyprus is an integral part of the Greek world. The Romans, who came to Cyprus after the Ptolemies in 58 BC, continued active copper mining. Along with copper, they export timber, salt, and wonderful decorative Cypriot ceramics.
The most important event in the history of the island of the time of Roman rule was the adoption of Christianity in 45 AD. From the very beginning, the church in Cyprus is independent, since it is Apostolic. The island is called holy, with good reason: the Apostles themselves preached Christianity on the island: Paul, Barnabas (born in Cyprus), Andrew the First-Called. St. Lazarus Four-day here was the Bishop for 18 years in the city of Kition, ordained to the rank of Bishop by the Apostle Paul himself. Saint Helena walked on the island. In 327, on the way from Jerusalem to Constantinople, she stopped on an island, built 3 churches and left sacred relics as a gift to the island: a piece of the Holy Cross, on which the Lord was crucified, and the bonds of Christ.

Belief says that the Mother of God herself visited on the island of St. Lazarus, the friend of Christ.

Cyprus is the first Christian state in the world already in the year 45 AD The capital of the island remains the city of Paphos. The greatness of the then Cyprus can be felt even now, standing on the ruins of ancient cities. All the archaeological monuments of the city of Paphos belonging to the Roman and previous Ptolemaic-Hellenistic periods are listed in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Catalog. After the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus became part of the Eastern Empire, which eventually developed into the Byzantine Empire, and one could call all 800 years of his life in the Great Empire gold if it were not for the Arabs, who are 300 years old, from 6th to 10th centuries. tyrannized the island. In 965, the Byzantine emperor Nikifor Fock defeats the Arabs and delivers Cyprus from their raids. For security reasons, the Byzantines transfer the capital to the interior of the island. The city of Lefkosia (the city of the white gods) appears on the map, which today, for more than 1000 years, is the capital of the island. All the monasteries that will be created in Cyprus in the next 200 years will be places of pilgrimage for all Christianity for many years. At this time, Emperor Alexey Comnenus donates to the island the greatest shrine of the Christian world – the icon of Our Lady of Kykks, one of the three icons painted by St. Luke from Our Lady herself. You have the opportunity, visiting the island, to attach to this shrine. 10 churches in the Troodos Mountains, built during this period, are included in the UNESCO list for Byzantine-style wall paintings. You will be amazed by the subtlety of the works and the brightness of the colors that have survived to our days. At the very end of the 12th century, in 1191, during the third Crusade, the ships of one of the leaders of the march, Richard the Lionheart, fall into a storm off the coast of Cyprus. The ship on which the bride Richard Berengaria, Princess of Navarre, rides is stranded. Isaac Comnenus, who usurped power on the island on forged documents, very unfriendly meets Berengaria. Richard is worthless in a few days to seize the island, and economic “help” is not superfluous. Taking with him 50% of the state of the islanders, he sells the island to the Knights of the Knights Templar and leaves, having preliminarily played a wedding on the island he likes. The Templars turn out to be very cruel. Revolting people in a year expels them. Richard is forced to look for another buyer and he is: King of Jerusalem-Guy De Lusignan, left without a crown. The Frankish nobleman will be the ancestor of the dynasty, which will last in Cyprus for almost 300 years. Very costly Cyprus cost Isaac Comnenus adventure with imposture. The Lusignan people establish a kingdom, seek recognition in European courts, and, in exchange for their recognition by the Pope, Catholicism is declared the official religion. They bring with them a feudal system of government, build churches and castles in, new for Cyprus, Gothic style. The widow of the last Frankish King Jacob 2 Catherine Cornaro in view of the impending danger of Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire in 1489 transfers the rights to manage the island of Venice, where she came from. 80 years Venetians rule the island. In the last years of the government, great attention was paid to the construction of fortifications, fortress walls and fortresses throughout the island. In the city of Lefkosiya half of the city was demolished for this. Palaces, churches, monasteries, houses of ordinary residents were destroyed and served as building material for the construction of walls. Alas … In 1570, when the Turks attacked the island, the walls were able to protect the city in just 6 weeks. Much longer, for 11 months, Famagusta lasted. 7,000 defenders restrained the siege of 200,000 troops and not only restrained. During the months of the siege, 80,000 Ottoman Turks were killed under the walls of the city. After a promise to everyone to save lives, the exhausted defenders of the city opened the gate. On the same day, all those who had resisted them had been killed before, Christians were expelled from the city, and from the bravest commandant of the city, Mark Antonio Bragadino, after long tortures, they tore off their skin from the living. The expelled inhabitants founded the city of Varosha (today’s ghost town) near Famagusta, in the hope that they would soon be able to return to their homes. I had to wait 307 years. In the very long history of Cyprus, these were the most difficult, exhausting years. And although the Ottoman Turks restored the Orthodox Church in their rights, they did not weaken their desire to Islamize the island, trying to implant a culture completely alien to the island. Often there was a choice before a Christian: either accept Islam or, in the literal sense, pay with his head. In 1821, the Archbishop of Cyprus, three Bishops and about 500 people of church and worldly people were executed for supporting the Greek Revolution. In 1869, the Suez Canal opened. The interests of the British in the region are increasing dramatically, a shorter way to the “pearl” of the British crown – India appears.

Taking advantage of the defeat of Turkey in the Russian-Turkish wars, Britain offers Turkey assistance in case of subsequent wars with Russia, in exchange for renting Cyprus. Thus, in 1878, Cyprus is transferred to the control of Britain, remaining in the Ottoman Empire. After the First World War (1914-1918), in which Turkey, being an ally of Germany, is defeated and Great Britain annexes the island. In 1923, in Lausanne, Turkey renounces all sorts of claims to Cyprus and in 1825 the island is declared a colony of Great Britain. The hospitality with which the Cypriots meet the English in the hope that England will allow them to connect with Mother Greece will soon give way to disappointment. In 1931 there is an uprising, which is suppressed. In 1950, a referendum was held on the accession of Cyprus to Greece. 95.7% of the Greek population, at that time making up 82% of the island’s population, vote for accession. Voting results are ignored by both the UK and the UN. Having exhausted all possible peaceful solutions to the problem, Cypriots are forced to turn to armed struggle – the struggle of EOKA (the national liberation organization of the Cypriot fighters), which will last four years – from 1955 to 1959. The British are forced to negotiate, but they also set Turkey at the negotiating table, thus representing the national liberation struggle of the people as an interethnic in the eyes of the world community. The British themselves appear in the role of a conciliatory power-arbitrator. Cyprus is the only country in the world where self-determination was denied to the absolute majority of the population – 82%. In 1959, the constitution of a country is being prepared, which will very soon reveal serious problems. Three countries became the guarantors of the constitutional order of the country: Greece, Turkey and England. A special annex to the UK Constitution will be allowed to reserve two sovereign military bases, with a total area of ​​99 sq. Km. Miles In the same year in 1959, on the basis of the Zurich-London agreements, Cyprus received the status of an Independent Republic. Officially this will be announced in 1960. The first president of the country will be elected Archbishop Makarios 3, the man who led the struggle for EOKA. He will be re-elected twice more and he will remain in this post until 1977, right up to his death. In 1963, the president’s proposal to discuss certain articles of the constitution and introduce amendments led to tensions between the two communities of the island: Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. (This is how the Cypriot people were represented, according to the constitution). The way out proposed by the British, acting as a peacekeeping force, as further events show, will be in the hands of Turkey’s far-reaching plans: the so-called Green Line was held through Lefkosia, the Turkish Cypriots often moved along the northern side the side. Also 4 zones of compact residence of Turkish Cypriots were created. In 1974, the military junta, who was in power in Greece, makes an attempt on the life of President Makarios 3, with the aim of a military coup and his removal from power, thereby giving Turkey the long-awaited reason for invading the island. As a result of the Turkish aggression, 37% of the island’s territory was occupied, 200,000 people became refugees in their own country, more than 4,000 were killed, 1,619 people were missing. And although very soon the legitimate president returned to the island and took up his duties – constitutional order was restored in the country, the Turks did not withdraw their troops and did not liberate the occupied territories. The Green Line or the Ceasefire Line, as it is now called, stretches along the entire length of the island. Lefkosia is the only capital in the world that still remains divided. Continuous negotiations, condemnation of the Turkish aggression by the world community over all these years led only to the fact that 5 crossing points were opened between the northern and southern parts of the island. Despite the problem, the Republic of Cyprus has remained one of the most stable in the region; since 1974, not a single armed clash has been observed on the island. Since the declaration of independence, the presidential system of government has been in place. The president is elected every 5 years by direct secret ballot. Currently, the country’s president is Nikos Anastasiadis, elected in 2013. Since May 1, 2004, Cyprus is part of the European Union, and since 2008, the common currency of the EU, the euro, has become the country’s main currency.

The history of Paphos dates back to 2300 years, for which the city has acquired the richest cultural heritage and, undoubtedly, an outstanding place in the history and culture of Cyprus.

The ancient city of Paphos (then called New Paphos, or Nea Paphos) was founded at the end of the 4th century BC. King Nikokl, the last ruler of Palepafos (Old Paphos, today’s Kouklia). In the ancient Greek community, Palepafos, the city-state, was an extremely popular place of pilgrimage.

It is there that the remains of the famous temple of Aphrodite are located, the date of construction of which dates back to the 12th century BC. Of all the regions and kingdoms of the Hellenistic period, it is Paphos that is associated with the cult of the goddess of love and beauty, which, according to legend, was born from the foam of the sea at the site of the Romaiskaya Rock (Petra tou Roma).

Nikokl surrounded the new city with a wall, and the remains of a large part of these fortifications have survived to this day. One of the most significant elements of the city’s architecture was the Hellenistic Theater, which contained about 7,000 spectators, being the largest on the island.

The Ptolemies, the Hellenic-Macedonian rulers of Egypt, who had Alexandria as their capital, ruled Cyprus from the beginning of the 3rd century BC. yes the middle of the 1st century BC, when the island was invaded by the Roman Empire. The kings of the Ptolemies attached particular importance to the development of Nea-Paphos, which in a short time became an important center of international importance, so important that at the end of the 2nd century BC it was here that the capital of all Cyprus was moved. The most notable example of urban architecture, which reflects the wealth and the highest level of development of handicraft art and craftsmanship, which Paphos of the Hellenistic period reached, are the so-called “Tombs of the Kings”.

Nea Pafos continued to remain the capital of Cyprus and an important economic and cultural center even after the Roman annexation of the island in 58 BC. During the reign of the Roman Empire, the city reached the peak of its heyday, as evidenced by the huge number and luxurious decoration of public and private buildings that have come down from that era to our days. One of these objects is the Odeon Theater, which was restored in the 1970s, and since then, various performances have taken place on its stage.

This period, namely the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. most rich mansions with mosaic floors dating from excavations in Paphos date back. Thus, the city becomes one of the largest centers of mosaic production in the entire Roman Empire. The most famous mosaics of the Roman period are preserved in the Mansions of Dionysus and Orpheus and in Villa Theseus, slightly older than the mosaic of the Mansion of Éon (dated to the middle of the 4th century).

An important milestone in the history of the city was 45 AD, when the Apostles Paul and Barnabas arrived on the island to preach the Word of God. Roman proconsul Sergius Paul, who was at that time in Paphos, converted to Christianity, and thus Cyprus became the first Roman province to be headed by a Christian ruler.

Around 330 AD, Cyprus becomes part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium). In the first half of the 4th century AD Paphos is experiencing several devastating earthquakes, and residents are leaving it. The capital is transferred to Salamina, next to today’s Famagusta.

During the design domination, which, with small interruptions, lasted until 1191, a large number of beautiful churches were built in Paphos, the most famous of which is Chrysopolitissa, one of the largest basilicas found in Cyprus. From the middle of the 10th century, the city begins to regain its former glory.

In the period from 1192 to 1489, Cyprus became a kingdom ruled by the Frankish dynasty of Lusignan. The heyday of Paphos continues, it was during this period that the Fort “Forty Columns” and the Paphos Castle were built, and numerous Gothic churches adorned the city.

During the Venetian rule from 1489 to 1570, the city’s decline continued, beginning by the end of the Frankish period. The situation was exacerbated after the seizure of the island by the Ottoman Empire, the rule of which lasted just over three hundred years (1570 / 71-1878).

Nea Pafos finally falls into decay, and the population gradually moves further from the coast to a new and better district, Ktima, which later gave its name to the city.

The region of Ktima, the center of the modern city, becomes the administrative center of the diocese (district) of Paphos. In 1878, the British Empire established its rule on the island, and it was not until 1960, after a bloody five-year liberation struggle, that Cyprus gained its independence.

During the past thirty years of the British colonization of Paphos, thanks to its enlightened townspeople, it experienced a spiritual and cultural flourishing, its appearance was decorated with administrative buildings in the neoclassical style, for example, the City Hall (until now the city government meets there), the Public Library and the buildings of institutions.

The city was actively experiencing the period from 1963 to 1974, which left its mark on the further development of the island. In July and August 1974, after the coup d’état and the overthrow of the legitimate President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, Turkish troops invaded the island and illegally occupied approximately 37% of its territories.

In 1980, the archaeological sites of New Paphos (today Kato Paphos, or Lower Paphos), as well as the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite at Palepaphos (in Kukliya), were included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list of values.

Today, Paphos regularly hosts a wide variety of cultural and leisure activities, the organizer of which is mainly the Paphos Municipality. These events cover a wide range of topics and events, such as the Festival of Flowers, the Cataclysmos festival (“Flood”, the feast of the Holy Spirit), the Paphos Carnival, the Summer Festival “Showcase of Culture” and many others, the purpose of which is to preserve the traditions and shape the cultural image of the city. . In addition, a variety of local and international exhibitions, theater and dance performances, the publication of books and albums, etc. contribute to the advancement of art and science, as well as contribute to the organization of quality leisure for young people and older people.

At the same time, the achievements of modern art are actively advancing. One of the most important events in the cultural life of Paphos is undoubtedly the annual festival of the opera, which is organized by the company Pafos Aphrodite Festival Cyprus Ltd. The festival is held in the first week of September in the square in front of the medieval Castle of Paphos. Such a prestigious international event clearly defines the place of Paphos on the cultural map of Europe. For 12 years of the Opera Festival, the company collaborated with such renowned organizations as the Bolshoi Theater (Moscow), the Mariinsky Theater (St. Petersburg), Arena di Verona (Italy), the National Polish Opera, the Lyric Theater (Trieste, Italy), and the Sofia National Opera (Bulgaria), Slovak National Theater, and others. The economy of Paphos began to develop dramatically after the Turkish invasion in 1974, mainly due to tourism. Today the city boasts a developed tourist infrastructure: more than 11,000 hotel rooms, hundreds of restaurants, cafes and bars. It is estimated that Paphos receives over 800,000 tourists every year.

Over the past 15 years, the Paphos Municipality has been actively developing and maintaining ties with Greece and Europe, during which time Chania, Kalamaria, Preveza, Lamia, Kerkyra, Mytilene (Greece) and Anzio (Italy) were included in the list of the twin cities of Paphos. The municipality of Paphos actively cooperates with the municipalities of other communities (eg Tegea, Sofia, Sefton), as well as with international organizations: the Ancient Ports Network of the Mediterranean Sea, the Network of Historical Cities of the Mediterranean Sea, COOPEM (Committee for Partnership of Local and Regional Authorities of the Mediterranean), Les Rencontres (Cultural Association of European Cities and Regions), Europa Nostra, Organization of World Heritage Cities, and others.



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