What Was Cyprus Called in Ancient Times?

Cyprus is a beautiful island country located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. This country has a rich history, and its name has undergone various changes over time. Let’s delve deeper into what Cyprus was called in ancient times.

What Was Cyprus Called in Ancient Times?

Cyprus has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The first known civilization that settled on the island was the Mycenaean Greeks in around 1400 BCE.

They called the island “Alasia” or “Alashiya.” Alasia was an important trading center for copper, which was abundant on the island.

The island was also known as “Kupros” to the ancient Greeks, which is believed to have been derived from the word “copper.” The Romans also referred to it as “Cyprius,” and during their rule, Cyprus became an important agricultural and commercial center.

During the Byzantine period (330-1191 CE), Cyprus was referred to as “Kypros.” The Byzantines built many churches and monasteries on the island during this time, and Christianity became widespread.

In 1191 CE, Cyprus was conquered by Richard I of England during the Third Crusade. It then became a French possession for a short period before being sold to Venice in 1489. Under Venetian rule, Cyprus was called “Cipro.”

In 1571 CE, Cyprus fell under Ottoman rule and became known as “Kibris” or “Qibris” in Turkish. During this time, many mosques were built on the island, and Islam became prevalent.

The Importance of Ancient Cyprus

Throughout its history, Cyprus has been an important center for trade due to its strategic location between Europe and Asia. It has been ruled by various civilizations over time due to its valuable resources such as copper, timber, wine, and olive oil.

The cultural influences of these civilizations are still evident today, making Cyprus a unique and fascinating place to visit. Its ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine attract millions of tourists every year.


In conclusion, Cyprus has been called by various names throughout its rich history. From Alasia to Kibris, each name reflects the country’s cultural and economic significance during different periods.

By understanding the island’s past, we can appreciate its present and look forward to its future as an important player in the Mediterranean region.