I have had the privilege of being asked by Kuperard, the company behind the CULTURE SMART! series of guidebooks for numerous countries on Earth, to read and review the first guide they published about Cyprus, written by London-based Constantine Buhayer.
Culture Smart! guides help readers “to deal confidently with unfamiliar situations” in the country they are visiting or relocating to, and inform them about “the beliefs, attitudes, and behavior of people” they might encounter, in order to be aware of “local manners and sensitive issues”.
Mr Buhayer’s personal and professional experience with the Cypriot community in the UK and elsewhere has enabled him to write a guide that makes a welcomed attempt at presenting the values and attitudes, customs and traditions, the do’s and dont’s of daily life, of exploration and of the business world, as well as the complexities of history, religion and politics.
It is always refreshing to witness a conscious effort of the tourism industry to present a unified perspective of Cyprus, like in this Culture Smart! guide. Like the author accurately says, “all communities on the island, even those who think they stand apart, possess a shared Cypriotness and common hopes and memories”.
At the same time, one should acknowledge that the decades-long geographical and political division of the island can make any such attempt daunting, to say the least, for two reasons: (a) because one has to be very well informed about what is happening simultaneously on both sides of the dividing line in order to provide a balanced picture and (b) the temptation to use the word “Cyprus” assuming one is talking about the entire island while in fact referring only to one of the two sides (usually the southern part of the island).
With this double challenge in his hands, Mr Buhayer did a very decent job! Although not perfect because of the two challenges I mention in the previous paragraph (my comments to the publishing company for revisions include suggested additions for text clarification and enrichment, as well as fact-checks and text corrections), the guide absorbed me as a curious reader from the get-go. I carried it with me to read (and take notes in) while making new explorations of the island, including camping in Akamas.
I am confident, like for other Culture Smart! guidebooks (see photo further down), that travelers considering visiting the island of Cyprus will find the guide a very useful companion. It can be purchased at https://www.culturesmartbooks.co.uk/