Cypriots are very proud of their cultural heritage, which stretches back more than 9000 years. However, you'll probably find that Cyprus today is more concerned with the events of the last 20 years than those of a millennium ago. The north of the island is busy re-creating itself in the image of Turkey, changing names to Turkish and embracing the life and culture of its northern neighbour.
The traditions and customs of a culture can best be observed in ceremonies and on special occasions. Between the Turkish Cypriot community, some of these are wedding ceremonies, feast days (Ramazan), birth, children starting school, etc. Another important characteristic of the Turkish Cypriots is their hospitality. In the past, the importance of the guest was relative to their social status and their age. Serving the guests usually started with coffee or sherbets, especially those of honey, rose and carob. Fruit paste serving was also of importance.
Cypriot culture is also reflected in the rich folk art of the island. Age-old crafts, handed down from one generation to another, are faithfully carried on to this day by skilful hands and nimble fingers, fashioning handicrafts, both decorative and useful, that would grace any home.
Carnival is one of the best known Cypriot and throughout the year there are also exhibitions, concerts, drama and folk festivals.
Whatever the present-day situation may be, Cyprus is littered with reminders of the island's history. Many villages specialize in a particular art form, and as you travel around Cyprus you'll see pottery, silver and copperware, basket weaving, tapestry and Lefkara's famous lacework.