For people of many different nationalities Cyprus has become not only another island in the Mediterranean, or another in the long list of holiday destinations, but also a second home – literally. Huge numbers of foreigners are buying real estate on the island, some to use as their permanent residence, and others to have a holiday home in Cyprus.
It’s not worth spending precious time explaining how good the island’s climate and ecology are – you can find that information in all the tourist brochures and on every website. We simply say that it is sunny and warm all year round!
We would, however, like to share some interesting facts about real estate in Cyprus with you, so you can see just how special it is:
- Real estate prices are much lower than in other popular seaside resorts, though as investments they grow steadily,
- Real estate maintenance costs are relatively low,
- Houses and apartments in Cyprus can be rented out very easily, so when you are not using your holiday home, it can earn you money,
- Thanks to the British common law legal system and strong legislation regulating ownership rights, people purchasing real estate in Cyprus are much better protected than in the majority of European countries,
- Owning real estate in Cyprus enables the purchaser to obtain a temporary or permanent residency permit,
- English is an official language in Cyprus, together with Greek, which is very convenient for foreign investors.
For more detailed information about purchasing real estate in Cyprus, please visit
www.maptika.com and ask for Anton Kolesnikov, Managing Director.
In just six hours of sunny weather, the world’s deserts are capable of producing more solar energy than the human race produces and consumes in one year from oil, gas, fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. By 2050 the world population is expected to reach 10 billion, so alternative sources must be introduced to cover the world’s energy needs. One of the most promising efforts is the giga-sized project of the Desertec Foundation, established in 2009 to try and produce electricity with the help of so-called solar-thermal parabolic power plants in the North African Sahara. The essence of the solar-thermal power plants is that the sun’s energy is collected by parabolic reflectors, and directed to heat storage tanks filled with water, special salts or oily solution. The steam, heated to several hundred degrees, drives the turbines, which produce electricity, which is then transmitted to the consumer via traditional transmission lines. Of course, the whole thing is a little more complicated than that, as, in part, instead of water they use oil, which retains heat better, meaning that even after sunset they can continue to produce electricity for up to 8 hours. The idea is extremely promising, even taking into consideration the fact that it currently costs 5-8 cents to produce 1 kilowatt of energy using wind turbines and 16-23 cents using solar-thermal techniques; these costs, however, are expected to be reduced drastically in the future. According to the calculations of the Desertec project, they could produce 15% of Europe’s energy requirements from a 2500 square kilometre desert power plant, and the initial set up cost, including transmission lines, would be some 400 billion euros.
Very few people are probably aware of the fact that the origins of the word “dollar” can be traced back to what is today the Czech Republic. Or more precisely to Joachimstahl, a small Bohemian town where in Medieval times a mint issued gold and silver coins. It is from here that the word chain “thaler”, “tolar”, “daler”, “dollar” led to the term dollar, which is still in use today as the name of the currency in numerous countries around the world (USA, Canada, Australia).
Of these, the American dollar is obviously the most well-known and also the most recognisable, and is arguably the only true world currency. If we went into a bank in the most secluded corner of the world with a 100 dollar bill, we would probably be able to exchange it for the local currency. The Confederation Congress of the US resolved on the introduction of the dollar on July 6th 1785, and it has remained the legal tender ever since. Similarly, many countries around the world currently use the US dollar as an additional means of payment. In 1995 some 380 billion dollars were in circulation in cash, of which two-thirds were “circulating” outside the USA. By 2005, the figure had reached 760 billion, but the amount outside the USA had remained at close to two-thirds. Many Asian countries, such as China, India & Saudi Arabia, have amassed reserves of US dollars, which is why today these countries are able to have a not insignificant influence on the supply of and demand for American dollars on the world market.
Over 54 years together, 10 600 concerts and performances, 90 records and CDs. If we only look at these three statistics, then the figures are breathtaking. If we then add that we are talking about a Hungarian group who have been playing together since 1957, then it is even more surprising. Anyone who doesn’t know them probably thinks I’m talking about some folk-dancing troupe.
That couldn’t be further from the truth, as the Benkó Dixieland Band play, and always have played, real American music, the music of New Orleans. It would be difficult to list places in the world that they haven’t been to and people with, or for, whom they have not played. Two US presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have acknowledged their professionalism, and they also played for Chancellor Helmut Kohl at the reunification of Germany.
And don’t think that after all these years the band members have had enough and are thinking of retiring. Speaking with Sándor Benkó, the bandleader who gave his name to the group, it becomes clear that there are no plans for this in the near future. And if you’re still not convinced, go and see one of their concerts in whatever corner of the world they happen to be playing in. Or if you want an even more unforgettable experience, then visit the band’s club in Budapest. I can guarantee you’ll be impressed. Have a great evening!
A true wine connoisseur knows only too well that to produce good wine you need good soil, a good climate, good varieties of grape and a rich wine culture. Bulgaria’s excellent geographical position is not in doubt, but few people outside Bulgaria are aware that there exist a number of indigenous Bulgarian grape varieties whose history in what is now Bulgaria dates back more than 3000 years. Mavrud, Melnik, Pamid, Gamza, Red Miszket, Dimyat – perhaps these were the grapes used to produce the famous Thracian wines, such as those of Dionysus and Orpheus, or the heavenly pure wine used by Homer’s Odysseus to get the Cyclops drunk. These local grapes produce, to this day, excellent wines, and in addition, for several generations the Bulgarian soil has also offered a home to the cosmopolitan grape varieties, which also flourish here.
The deliberate development of the preserved tradition even led to the appearance in the first half of the last century of another Bulgarian speciality, the refined grape variety where, thanks to the work of the viticulturist, the “grape-child” inherits the best qualities of both “grape-parents”. Wines like this include Rubin (a cross between Syrah and Nebbiolo), Ruen (Melnik and Cabernet Sauvignon), Buket (Mavrud and Pinot Noir). And this list is far from complete!
The wines we have selected are all very individual, though they do have a couple of things in common: they are all excellent, and all give even the demanding taster something new, which they can’t get anywhere else.
White Mavrud 2009: Dry white wine from black grapes. 100% Mavrud. From the Zagreus cellar’s own ecological estate.
MEZZEK Rosé 2009: Dry, protected wine: 60% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 10% Syrah. From the Katarzyna vineyard’s own estate on the hilly border between Bulgaria and Greece, which became famous as No man’s land. The Mezzek Thracian domed tomb built in the 4th century BC can be found very close to the estate.
Single Barrel 2007: Mavrud, Syrah, Rubin, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. The proportions of the 6 types of grape are different in every barrel, which gives each barrel its own character, strength and appeal. From the Terra Tangra vineyard’s own estate in the Sakar Hills. Given the TROPHY award from “Les citadelles du vin 2009”, one of the highest accolades awarded to red wine.
And what if you’re looking for a suitable and still drinkable noble wine for a 20th anniversary? Or are curious about the taste of the famous 1973 Bulgarian Merlot? Maybe the 1918 Gamza is missing from your collection?
Feel free to contact us. We speak the language fluidly!
The enterprise, located close to Gstaad in Switzerland, takes its name from Fort Knox in the state of Kentucky, USA, and can justifiably be described as the world’s most secure guarder of secrets. While the original American Fort Knox guards the country’s gold reserves, the Swiss version is used for the safe-keeping of information storage units, in either digital or physical form.
The company was launched in 1994 in conjunction with the Swiss army. A bunker system was developed deep in the heart of the Swiss Alps, where the possible loss of information could be reduced to the minimum. The storage areas are protected by 1-metre thick armoured doors which are capable of withstanding an atomic explosion. The underground chambers move with the mountain, so the information stored here is even safe from potential earthquake damage. They have even thought of protection against water damage and survival in the event of the outbreak of war, with their own generators to provide power sources, ventilation, stocks of drinking water and food, and numerous other special details which have not been brought into the public domain.
In the beginning, the enterprise was not particularly successful in the 90s. Since 2000, however, the company has seen a spectacular growth in turnover and profits. The risk of terrorism has increased, and industrial espionage has become more widespread, but even the activity of the sun is capable of causing digital storage units to lose information. The Swiss company’s clients can be either individuals or companies. In theory, nations may not order the services of the company, but according to the experts there is nothing to stop a given state from concealing its secrets in the fortified bunker system hidden behind some company name. The service fees vary greatly, with rental of internet storage space starting at just a few euros, but it is not rare for the annual fees to reach 1-2 million Swiss francs, depending on the complexity of the services ordered. Details stored here are placed on the servers in 128- or 448-byte encryption. The codes are only known to the client, so even the service provider is unable to gain access to the information being held. The information has to be revealed in the case of a court order, but even in this case, the authorities only receive a jumbled string of meaningless characters.