Cyprus



               Cyprus, an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, at the cross-roads of three

               continents - Europe, Asia and Africa - has one of the oldest histories of the



               world, dating back 9000 years.
 
 



               Its strategic position, its wealth in forests and mineral deposits, as well as its



               skilled craftsmen, made it the prized possession of the powers of the day.
 
 



               Cultural influences came from all directions - all major regional civilisations left



               their mark on the island, contributing to the development of a very rich and



               diverse cultural  heritage. 






                                 ANCIENT TIMES
 
 



              The Stone Age
 
 



              The first signs of human life on the island date back to c. 8500 BC during the



              Palaeolithic period. Evidence of human activity was found in cave dwellings near



              Liopetri, though it is not known whether they were just hunting parties passing



              through or permanent settlers.
 
 



              The first undisputed settlements are believed to have been established towards



              the end of  the 8th millennium BC.  Vestiges of such early communities are found



              all over the island, such as at Khirokitia, Kalavasos-Tenta, Apostolos Andreas-



              Kastros, Phrenaros, Petra tou Limniti.
 
 
 
 
 
 



              Neolithic Cypriots built circular houses



              with small undressed stones for the



              lower structures and sun-dried



              mudbricks and  clay for the middle and



              superstructure. The Khirokitia neolithic



              settlement in Larnaca district stands out



              as a striking example of prehistoric



              architecture. 


 



                                              The Neolithic settlement of Khirokitia
 
 
 



              The Bronze/ Copper Age
 
 



              Large copper deposits brought fame and wealth to the island and may have even



              given it its name. It has been documented that during the bronze age Cyprus had



              intense commercial relations with the main commercial and cultural centres of that



              time. During this period metallurgy and pottery flourished while close relations



              developed, particularly with Crete, which are also expressed in the



              Cypro-Minoan script which appeared in Cyprus around 1500 BC.
 
 



              Of special significance for the future of Cyprus was its colonisation around 1200



              BC by  Mycenaean  and Achaean Greeks, a migration process that lasted for



              more than a century.  They brought with them to the island the Hellenic language,



              culture and religion. Legend has it that the first Hellenes who settled in Cyprus



              were heroes of the Trojan war. The arrival of the Achaeans greatly influenced



              town planning, architecture, and pottery. Since then Cyprus has remained



              predominantly Greek in culture, language and population despite influences



              resulting from successive occupations.
 
 



              Iron Age
 
 



              More and more people from the Greek world came to live in Cyprus.  They built



              city along the lines of the Greek ones.  There were about eleven city kingdoms in



              all:  Kourion, Paphos, Soloi, Marion, Lapithos, Salamis, Kition, Kyrenia,



              Amathus, and Idalion.
 
 



              Although Cyprus was conquered by other peoples, these city kingdoms mostly



              ruled themselves, paying taxes to their conquerors. The island was conquered in



              succession by the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Persians (800-332 BC).
 
 



              The Classical Period
 
 



              For more than a century, Cyprus was caught in the middle of the power struggle



              between Greece and Persia. In the 6th century BC Persia became the dominant



              power and the kings of Cyprus, while being allowed to retain their autonomy,



              were obliged to pay tribute to the Persian King and place their military forces at



              his disposal. Persia\'s domination, however, was not maintained easily and there



              were several attempts tooverthrow the Persian yoke, the most significant being



              the Ionian revolt and an attempt by King Evagoras I of Salamis to unite all of



              Cyprus\' city-kingdoms under him. attempts failed.
 
 



              The Hellenistic Period
 
 



              Cyprus stayed in Persian hands until Alexander the Great defeated the Persian



              Empire when the island became part of his huge Empire. Upon Alexander\'s death



              Cyprus fell to one of his generals, Ptolemy I, the ruler of Egypt. From then on