Flag of Cyprus

Flag of Cyprus
Country Cyprus
Population 1,260,138 (2023)
Area (Km²) 9,240 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇨🇾
  hex rgb
#D57800 213, 120, 0
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255
#4E5B31 78, 91, 49

The flag of Cyprus is an image of a copper-colored map of the country on a white background and two crossed branches of an olive tree. Until 2008 and the introduction of the Kosovo flag, Cyprus was the only country to have an official flag with a map of its territory.

What does the flag of Cyprus mean?

  • The white background of the flag symbolizes peace and tranquility;
  • the copper-colored map of the island reflects Cyprus' historical attachment to this metal. Specifically, copper resources are mentioned even in the name of the country. It is believed that the Latin word "cuprum" (copper) comes from the name of the island, as it has rich copper deposits. Therefore, in Latin, copper was called "aes Cyprium" (metal of Cyprus), which was later shortened to "cuprum".
  • two branches of the olive tree symbolize peace between the two communities of the island - Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

History of the Cyprus flag

For several centuries, Cyprus was part of the Ottoman Empire and was represented by the Turkish flag. In 1878, the United Kingdom gained administrative control over the island nation. Subsequently, the British colonial flag flew over the island, consisting of the British blue flag and the Union Jack in the canton (upper left part of the flag) and a pair of two red royal lions on the coat of arms. Greek Cypriots and Turks living on the island used the flags of Greece and Turkey as their national flags.

History of the Cyprus flag

After Cyprus declared independence from Great Britain, a competition was organized to choose a flag design. It was determined that the flag should not use the color red, as it is associated with Turkey, and blue could not be used, as it is associated with Greece.  Archbishop Makarios, the first president of Cyprus, and Fazil Kucuk, the vice president, accepted Mr. Güney's flag. They both agreed that it was the best of the options presented and approved the teacher's sketch, and the flag began to be used on August 16, 1960, in accordance with the Zurich and London agreements that declared Cyprus an independent state. Having lost his battle with cancer, Ismet Güney died at the age of 77 in 2009. Importantly, in 2006, Güney asked the government to pay him a royalty for his design, as well as compensation for the use of his copyright. According to Ismet, Makarios promised him 20 Cypriot pounds a year for winning the flag contest, but never paid him. In April 2006, the flag's design was updated, with the shape of the olive branches and their color slightly changed.

Many ships in the world fly the Cypriot flag, as it has the third largest fleet in the European Union - 16% of the total fleet of the 25 EU member states. The capacity of the European fleet has increased since Cyprus joined the EU.