• Vatican City!

    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

  • Macedonia!

    Macedonia: Traditional architecture. Go Now!

    Macedonia
    Macedonia is a country still finding its unique identity, but its architecture is already one of a kind. Explore Macedonia!

  • Netherlands!

    Netherlands: Wooden shoes. Go Now!

    Netherlands
    This low country might be small, but it maintains a unique place in history and culture. Explore the Netherlands!

  • Austria!

    Austria: Belvedere Palace. Go Now!

    Austria
    Belvedere Palace (pictured) is just one of many palaces found in Vienna. The capital is a good start to Austria, which also features the Alps, the Lakes District, and incredible history & food. Go Now!

  • Ukraine!

    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

    Ukraine
    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Sweden!

    Sweden: Swedish Village. Go Now!

    Sweden
    This Scandinavian country boasts big city excitement in Stockholm to small town charm. Begin Your Journey!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Cyprus

Ethnicity

Cyprus is a divided island and nation; in general their ethnic, linguistic, and religious make-up is also divided by that same line. In the southern part of the island the majority of people are primarily of Greek descent, although various settlers over the centuries have influenced the gene pool. In the northern part of the island the people are primarily of Turkish descent and are identical to the Turks of Turkey on an ethnic level. Although the island is divided nearly evenly from a geographic perspective, nearly 80% of the population lives in the south and is ethnically Greek.

Language

Like the ethnic divide, in the south of Cyprus the people generally speak Greek, while in the north they speak Turkish; both are recognized as official languages by the Republic of Cyprus (which controls the southern half of the island, although they claim the entire island).

Nearly everyone in Cyprus, at least in the south, learns English as a second language, primarily due to the island's former status as a British protectorate and colony. English tends to be the language of communication from one group to the next and with the many tourists who visit each year.

Religion

Most of the Greeks are Cypriot or Greek Orthodox, while the Turks tend to be Muslim. There are also small minority groups in Cyprus, all of whom practice various religions.

Orthodoxy is a Christian religion that claims to be the most loyal to the Christian faith and religion as it was described by Jesus and the Gospels in the New Testament. Christianity, including Orthodoxy, was founded after the death of Jesus in about 30-33 AD; various branches of Orthodoxy were officially recognized by governments long before Catholicism was recognized in the Roman Empire.

Orthodoxy and Catholicism have many of the same beliefs; both believe that there is a single God who created everything and a savior, the son of God, Jesus Christ who is the forgiver of sins. However, Orthodoxy is decentralized so each bishop oversees their local country or region, giving each orthodox country a different leader. In this way, no bishop has more power than any other, meaning the tenants and interpretations of the faith remain relatively unchanged. These beliefs are based on the teachings of the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, in particular the life and teachings of Jesus, which is found in the gospels (in the New Testament).

Islam (the name of the religion, whose followers are called Muslims) is a monotheistic religion, whose holy book is called the Qur'an. The Qur'an is believed to be the word of God spoken through the prophet Muhammad from 609-632 CE (Common Era is preferred over AD (Anno Domini or "year of the Lord") since the Islamic world doesn't believe Jesus was the messiah). Islam believes Muhammad was the last prophet sent to earth by God, the last in a long line of prophets, which includes Moses, Abraham, and Jesus among others.

Muslims follow five pillars of their faith: testimony, prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimage. These pillars, and other tenants of their faith, can give great structure to their lives as some foods, like pork, are forbidden and every Muslim is expected to pray five times a day. However, the level of participation in each of these pillars and to what degree Islam influences an individual's life varies from person to person and community to community.

This page was last updated: May, 2014