This post was most recently updated on February 3rd, 2021
Just a couple of days back, I was chatting online with a friend of mine from Japan. Upon talking, he asked me where I am these days.
I said I am in Cyprus for the last 1 and a half years.
He replied, “Wow, Greece is such a nice country.”
I was confused by his reply. I thought he misheard me.
So to make things clear, I told him again, “No, No, it’s Cyprus, not Greece.”
His response was, “What? Isn’t Cyprus in Greece?”
He clearly didn’t know that Cyprus and Greece aren’t the same countries.
This friend of mine has traveled to multiple countries like the USA, Canada, the UK, and some countries in Europe, too, like Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
If a traveler guy like him doesn’t know that Cyprus and Greece aren’t the same countries, then it’s safe to say a lot of people in the world who have never been out of their countries would think so too.
Today in this article, we will discuss about how Cyprus is different from Greece.
Why do people think Cyprus and Greece are one country?
Cyprus is a very small country. In fact, it’s an island country.
Did you know Greece has 6,000 islands, of which 227 islands are inhabited?
So Cyprus being an island, and Greece having so many islands, people think Cyprus is one of the islands in Greece.
People in Cyprus also speak Greek. There are Greek temples, monuments, and churches everywhere in Cyprus. Along with that, Cypriots and people from Greece eat similar kinds of food.
The majority of people in Cyprus and Greece are Orthodox Christians.
So I guess it’s common for people to think that Cyprus is inside Greece because of having so many similarities.
Are Greece and Cyprus the same country?
No, they aren’t. They are two different independent countries. Even though they share the same history, have a similar culture, speak the same language, they are not the same countries.
Both of them speak the Greek language, but it’s not the same Greek
The Greek language Cypriots speak isn’t a language on its own. It’s actually a dialect language.
For those of you who don’t know what dialect is, a dialect language is a particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social group.
Yes, both of them speak Greek, but the way they speak, it’s different.
The Standard greek language is from Greece, and Cypriot greek is particularly spoken in Cyprus only.
In schools in Cyprus, students are taught the standard Greek, including the same grammar, spellings, and pronunciations.
But how people talk from what they read is usually not so similar.
A person who speaks standard greek might even have difficulty in understanding Cypriot Greek.
Both languages aren’t completely different as both of them have derived from ancient greek, but how Cypriots and Greeks pronounce the words makes it easier to figure out the difference.
Demographics of Cyprus and Greece
Cyprus is called the Republic of Cyprus.
Greece is called the Hellenic Republic or Hellas.
Cyprus is located in the Eastern Mediterranean, whereas Greece is located in SouthEast Europe.
Area (Cyprus): 9,251 km2
Area (Greece): 131,957 km2
Cyprus Population according to Worldometer: 1,209,976 (As of 16th October 2020)
Greece Population according to Worldometer: 10,408,955 (As of 16th October 2020)
Human Development Index (Cyprus): 0.873 as of 2018
Human Development Index (Greece): 0.872 as of 2018
Cyprus drives on the Left Side, and Greece drives on the Right Side
The UK has a huge influence on Cyprus in various aspects. Driving on the left side is also one of them.
Not only that but many of the road signs and traffic systems are similar to the UK.
Cyprus is one of the countries in the European Union that has the driver on the right side of the car while the car being in the left lane.
Unlike Cyprus, Greece drives on the right-hand side of the road while the driver being on the left side of the car.
Greece is in the Schengen zone, but Cyprus is not.
The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passports and all other types of border control at their mutual borders.
Greece Falls under those 26 countries, and Cyprus doesn’t.
Greece signed the Schengen agreement on 6 November 1992 and started its implementation on 1 January 2000.
Whereas Cyprus hasn’t joined the Schengen Area yet.
Will Cyprus join the Schengen zone in the future?
The rules from the European Union says it has to, but still, it hasn’t been decided when it will enter the Schengen zone.
Read here to understand, will Cyprus join the Schengen Zone in the future?
Was Cyprus ever under Greece?
No, it wasn’t.
Cyprus has extensive cultural ties with Greece, but it was never under Greece’s control that we know of.
Cyprus was part of the British Empire in 1914 under military occupation from 1914–1925 and a Crown colony from 1925–1960.
On August 16, 1960, Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom.
On the other hand, Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1822.
I hope you know now that Cyprus and Greece are two different countries.
To understand Cyprus better, I suggest you follow and read the following articles.