This is how a foreign buyer of our property explained why he had picked Cyprus. 'In some countries I saw great order but little heart. In others, life is easy and pleasant but completely unorganized. And only in Cyprus did I see a marriage between heart and order.'
Indeed, Cyprus is a European democratic country ruled by law, on the one hand. Civil servants are honest, courts are independent, and the legal system was inherited from the English system as far back as when Cyprus was a British colony (until 1960).
On the other hand, all Cypriot life is enveloped in the spirit of openness and lightness, unlike the heavy spirit of pedantry and strictly regulated life. Of course, the country's small size plays a part here; there are no traffic jams, people know each other by sight. Furthermore, Cyprus is a southern country where nature and climate as they are bring a lot of joy to people.
But surely the point is not just the size of the country and its lavish climate.
Cyprus would never have become a place to attract people from all over the world but for its wise, cheerful, and hospitable inhabitants.
In Cyprus there are no retirement homes, orphanages, no beggars or the downtrodden. The fact is not only a high living standard, but also mentality and long standing traditions rooted in the centuries-old history of the island.
The Cypriots are true citizens of the Mediterranean, they have soaked up the traditions of all peoples that traded, fought and lived here throughout the 10,000 years of its history.
The Cypriots know a thing or two about work and play. They are devoted to what they love, in this aspect they are similar to West Europeans. Recreation in Cyprus is Hellenistically lavish: family friendly, noisy, and merry. And at the same time it is absolutely peaceful and decent! On Fridays and weekends all over the island, one can see well-dressed people in dinner clothes hurrying to their favorite restaurants and taverns. On those days, it is customary for the Cypriots to gather there with friends and family, talk, share their news and success stories.
If for example you, a foreigner, tread on a Cypriot's foot in a supermarket, and he or she says something impolite, other Cypriots in the queue will bear down on him or her to defend you. Because you are a foreigner.
The Cypriots are no xenophobes. Unlike residents of many other countries, the Cypriots traditionally take well to foreigners permanently residing on their island. The Cypriots are genuinely interested in guests of the island, always willing to help, explain, and show around. Foreigners living in Cyprus don't have to change their habits.
And they don't have to learn the local language either. The society does not require it. Virtually all Cypriots speak English, and at a rather high level. You will be surprised that computer keyboards in many Cypriot houses have only Latin characters and are not localized. For the Cypriots, it is easier to correspond in English both with foreigners and each other, so that they could all understand each other.
All those observations are steadily confirmed by figures and studies. Cyprus is the fifth most attractive country to move to for permanent residence (see Knightfrank). No wonder that there are many foreigners on the island. Non-Cypriots make up over 20% of the country's population (the 2nd place in the EU). The island has large British and Russian communities.
In a word, foreigners living in Cyprus can rightly call Cyprus their true home.