Cyprus was settled by humans in the Paleolithic period (known as the stone age) who coexisted with various dwarf animal species, such as dwarf elephants (Elephas cypriotes) and pygmy hippos (Hippopotamus minor) well into the Holocene. There are claims of an association of this fauna with artifacts of Epipalaeolithic foragers at Aetokremnos near Limassol on the southern coast of Cyprus. The first undisputed settlement occurred in the 9th (or perhaps 10th) millennium BC from the Levant. The first settlers were agriculturalists of the so-called PPNB (pre-pottery Neolithic B) era, but did not yet produce pottery (aceramic Neolithic).

Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old, putting them in the Stone Age. They are said to show the sophistication of early settlers, and their heightened appreciation for the environment


Nicosia was first inhabited over 5000 years ago. It was first known as Ledra during the Hellenistic period, but later the name was changed to Lefkothea under the Ptolemists. Till the Middle Ages the city was only known by the Greek name of Lefkosia; when Cyprus came under Latin rule it was renamed Nicosia but the Greek population continued calling it Lefkosia. As a result of Arab raids on the island after the 8th Cebtury, many people abandoned the coastal areas to seek refuge inland; it was during this period that Lefkosia (Nicosia) became capital of Cyprus.