Offshore Enterprise in Cyprus: Business Plan

This assignment focuses on the arrangement for setting up a business in Cyprus, and the potential continental requirement necessary for running an ‘off shore’ enterprise in that country. Consideration is given to set-up processes, image concepts, operational and financial aspect that will impact on the business.
Show the process of setting up a business, using the example of Aristo Develops Company in Cyprus as a case study.
Contents (Jump to)
1. Introduction
2. Potential Company Profile
3. Products and Services
4. Marketing
5. Operations
6. Financial Planning
7. Conclusions
8. Bibliography
9. Appendices:-
Appendix A: Entreprenuer’s Curriculum Vitae
Appendix B: Legal and Taxation Considerations
Appendix C: Banking Matters
1. INTRODUCTION
This document is a reflective paper on the aspects of setting up a business in Cyprus, in which it offers some of the conceptual aspect of business planning, Cypriot regulations and aspect of ‘how to financially plan for businesses. It draws on other established businesses and aspects of financial requirements that any entrepreneur would need to consider in some depth. Appendices are provided with some aspects noted in the paper.
2. POTENTIAL COMPANY PROFILE
The business plan is written to reflect the aspirations of Cyprus Interiors as a new and vibrant company set up to provide excellence in interior design and architecture.
Mission Statement
The mission of Cyprus Interiors is to assist clients in locating prime real estate properties, and through proven design and concepts technology provide the ‘know how’ expertise to ensure that the properties are professionally finished and furnished to a level of superior quality and ultimate excellence that reflect the unique tastes of each client
Company Goals
Our target is to provide a high and unique class of interior design service that meets the specific requirements of each client. In doing so:

Source materials and suppliers that reflect the high standards of a professional interior designer;

Offer a seamless service from initial consultation to expert finish through to ongoing maintenance and upgrading;

Continually provide services that reflect new design technology, changes in concept, construction and client tastes;

Engage staff, contractors and associates in continuing professional development that keeps the company at the edge of new and exciting developments in interior design.

Potential
The potential of the business will be reflected in the continuation of the ‘new build era’ that is currently engaging Cyprus. Many new and exciting developments are planned and executed to reflect the growing trend in, holiday property, timeshare and professional residential dwellings.
Similarly the ongoing and exciting dialogue with the European Union (EU) for greater integration also has extremely positive and exciting potential for professional interior design companies.
The opportunity for diversity is also a clear indicator of the market trends across the property industry. Potentially, the company could move comfortably into professional letting, building and leisure facilities to which a small number of competitors are slowing becoming engaged (Aristo Developers 2008; Medina 2008).
Strengths
The company will be managed by a professional designer with a clear track record; British degree standard education; professional experience of customer service and related industries and a network of associations to professional businesses and associated that can engage with and through the company.
The company will be incorporated under Cyprus, UK and wider EU legislation in order to ensure that its operational impact can be as fare reaching as possible for our potentially international client base.
3. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
As interior designers we will provide a full range of services. In that we will bring together a team of architects, planners, interior designers and graphic designers in our business. In doing so our services will maintain a professional seamless experience for our clients.
We will recruit associates that have proven track records in their professional fields, with visible portfolios that carefully reflect the growing trends and experiences of our clients.
This in itself will engage a collaborative integrated approach for our clients in which they will be guided through the seamless professional design of their project with a professional consultant who will project manage their requirements to a high level of standard and expertise.
In doing so we will focus our interior design excellence with clear and professional note of our clients’ residential and commercial needs.
Uniquely our competitive advantage will be in engaging the client collaboratively in each project, ensuring that the seamless nature of each clients design is professionally executed to a high standard using products and services that reflect their budget.
Our costs will be competitive, in that we will take reflection of the market trends and in particular take note of our competitors but, uniquely, set our costs, to reflect the professional levels within the current commercial standing our industry.
4. MARKETING
To ensure the success of the company it has been imperative that some key research has been undertaken to consider the wider market, competitors and potential niche markets.
The growth industry that interior design has become is reflected in the many larger companies that are now engaging in this aspect of property services. We have considered some of the larger companies currently successfully operating in the market place, many of which are after some considerable time in the market, diversifying to ensure maximum impact.
Currently, we have four main competitors:

Aristo Developers, who are in the main a property, Leisure Company that also, provides interior design services (Aristo 208)
Medina A younger British company that builds, renovates and provides interior design concepts.
Ampersand Interiors, again a British company that is engaged in providing furnishings and fittings into the Cyprian market.
Scott Brownrigg again a British company, with a proven track record of renovation expertise for older buildings across a wide international portfolio.

There are also a number of smaller companies that provide aspects of services and appear to have a returning client base for design services.
Marketing Concepts
From engaging in market sampling it is apparent that most competitors are operating successfully though a network of building agents, developers and associated industries. Thereby engaging contracts through ‘competitive tendering’, carefully targeted sales forces and brochure campaigns.
The smaller companies appear to work through advertising concepts, press articles and networking with smaller building contractors: plumbers, electricians, building maintenance etc.
Customer Niche Market
To ensure that the company engages customer’s attention it will be important to offer specific services that others either omit or do not provide. Therefore, it is apparent that the specific interior design focus needs to be customer focused, and offer unique designs that are not copied into other designs or properties. Thereby offering the customer their own product designed and integrated to their choices. Many of the competitors offer similar concepts, and copy designs over and over, thereby loosing the uniqueness aspect. Therefore, it is crucial that all marketing brochures reflect the unique and necessary nature of the client centred approach to our design and product packages.
Pricing Concepts
Our services will engage a wide range of products that can be easily sourced, in some cases, freighted at low costs to our locations. Retaining a large volume of stock would not be economically viable and so a full range of professional brochures would be necessary to offer the client a range of choices.
Each project would be prices according to the clients’ budget, and where necessary our professional expertise would offer advice and direction towards products that will support the clients needs and also be at a level of finish that reflects their product vision. However advise by PSYBT (2007) carefully notes that:
Low price and good value is not the same thing. Don’t think that if you drop your price, customers will come flocking to you. Instead, they might think you are cheap and nasty and avoid you.
People should squeak (slightly) at your price. You can always lower your price by offering them a special discount, which will make them feel good.
You don’t want to win every customer. It is much better to have 5 customers paying you £20 an hour than ten paying £5.
Give a menu of prices. Perhaps have a low entry price for your service, but concentrate on offering the value-added extras to your product or service.
Be very careful of VAT implications as often the threshold for registration can be reached quicker than you think. For more information contact your local Customs and Excise office.(PSYBT 2007 p.22).
Location
Our initial location would be a small office/studio that is easily reach by potential and current clientele. This base would afford the business a focal point for client and professional meetings as also, a base for preparing briefs and designs.
5. OPERATIONS
Initial Management
A director would manage the Business, initially while the business establishes itself within the market place. The director has proven experience in customer service industries and is qualified and professionally experienced in interior design to degree standard (Appendix A)
However, the engagement of key personnel, associates and sub-contractors would be undertaken as soon as appropriately possible according to the development of the business.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
To ensure that all areas of the business operation is competently managed, it will be a requirement for all personnel to engage consistently in CPD. Therefore, contact would be made with educational institutions that could support the venture in ensuring optimum personnel competence. In this respect, contact would be made with Alexandra College who offer specialist training in Interior Design and associated learning in Cyprus. (Alexandra College 2007)
Legal & Taxation Considerations
There are a number of residential and commercial considerations that need to be clearly clarified in that, residency within Cyprus hold two specific roles: residential permit, temporary permit and permanent permit requirements. As also other major property taxation VAT issues. These are explained in more detail in Appendix B.
Banking Considerations
Cyprus is a low taxation country and also offers a considerable range of banking facilities, concepts and arrangements for business. Many of the UK larger banks are represented in Cyprus. As also many other EU banks and credit agencies. The legalities and regulations within Cyprus are managed by the Central Bank of Cyprus, whose website provides a wealth of information and operates on similar lines to that of the Bank of England. However, appendix
6. FINANCIAL PLANNING
In order to ensure the success for the business, the following documents would be prepared:
12 Months Profit and Loss Projections
The 12-month forecast can be seen as the crucial centerpiece of a potential business plan where the entrepreneur focuses on the realities of running a business. Fictitious figures do not provide a real picture; the figures need to reflect a period of concentrated effort on the venture by the owner (SBA 2004).
Four-Year Profit Projections
This ambitious tool is excellent for those potential owners who want to take the business finance forecast beyond the first crucial year of operation.
Personal Finance Statement
This crucial tool is vital for any arrangements with banks or investors; it reflects the financial standing of the owners. Moreover, many will have invested their own assets in the venture, which may include mortgaging or re-financing homes and other assets (SBA 2004).
PSYBT (2007) note the caution is essential in providing a sound financial basis for a new venture in that:
Many businesses with fantastic potential, great products and customers lined up can go bust simply because they don’t have enough cash in the bank for a short period. All it takes is a few of your customers paying late, a series of regular overhead payments, and a limited overdraft to do this. Ironically it is often businesses growing fastest that run into these problems. Good cash flow will not make your business a success PSYBT 2007 p,27).
Sound financial planning is crucial for the business, from the projection targets the business director can manage and try to ensure that the forecasts are achieved at the target dates in the plan. Failure to do so will provide, careful warning towards potential problems and remedial action can be taken before those problems are pitfalls.
7. CONCLUSIONS
The most important aspect of the business planning stage is to ensure that the entrepreneur has a complete and comprehensive knowledge of the business, its environment, concept, market and moreover, its finances.
The PSYBT (2007) offer a tracking list of important aspect for potential business entrepreneurs, much of which has been explored in this document. This critical preparation is noted in appendix D.
8. REFERENCES
ALEXANDER COLLEGE (2007) Interior Design Course Insights: undated; [online] (cited 6 November 2008) Available from:http://www.alexander.ac.cy/~website/interiordesign.html>
ARISTO DEVELOPERS (2008) Company Profile; undated; [online] (cited 6 November 2008) Available from: http://www.aristodevelopers.com/profile/>
BURNS; F (2008) Get Big, by Starting Small; Online: 26 September 2008; [online] (cited 7 November 2008) Available from: http://interiordesignbusiness.net/>
BURNS; F (2008) Going Abroad for a Boost; Online: 30 October 2008; [online] (cited 7 November 2008) Available from: http://interiordesignbusiness.net/>
CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS (2008) Banking in Cyprus: 6 May 2004; [online] (cited 6 November 2008) Available from: http://www.centralbank.gov.cy/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=28>
EDWARDS; P, (1997) Getting Business to Come to You: Complete Do-it-yourself Guide to Attracting All the Business You Can Handle; Jeremy Tatcher; London.
EYRE; E, & PETTINGER; R (1999) Mastering Basic Management; Palgrave Master Series; Third Edition; Palgrave Macmillan; Basingstoke.
MEDINA (2008) Interior Design and Garden Services: undated; [online] (cited 6 November 2008) Available from: http://www.medina-cyprus.com/interior.php>
MIRZA; R (2007) How to Start your Interior Design Business; Online: undated; [online] (cited 7 November 2008) Available from: http://www.mydesigninterior.com/howtostartyourinteriordesignbusiness.html>
PSYBT (2007) The Business Start-Up Guide; The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust; Glasgow.
REID; C & SMITH; J, (ud) What makes a New Business Start-Up a Successful?; Conference Paper; CRIEFF; University of St Andrews Scotland.
SBA (2008) Plan Your Business; Online: undated; [online] (cited 7 November 2008) Available from: http://www.sba.gov/index.html>
ST JOHN; A (1999) Understanding Your Accounts: A Guide to Small Business Accounts; Revised Edition; Kogan Page; London.
WOLVERHAMPTON UNIVERSITY (2008) BA Interior Design; Online: undated; [online] (cited 7 November 2008) Available from: http://courses.wlv.ac.uk/Course.asp?id=11585&type=1>
Scott Brownrigg Architects Interior Designers
http://www.scottbrownrigg.com/home/>
Ampersand Interiors
http://www.interiordesignersandceilingfans.eu/aboutampersand.htm>
http://www.score.org/pdf/Profit and Loss Projection_12 Months_08.pdf>
9. APPENDICES
Appendix A: Entreprenuer’s Curriculum Vitae
Appendix B: Legal and Taxation Considerations
Appendix C: Banking Matters
Appendix D: PSYBT Critical Preparation Checklist
APPENDIX A: ENTREPRENUER’S CURRICULUM VITAE
SOURCE:The Client

 

Date of birth: 02/05/1986
Gender: Female
Marital Status: Single
Nationality: Cypriot

 

OBJECTIVE

A career opportunity in the field of Interior Design utilizing my educational foundation and personal skills. An opportunity to contribute to the success of your company.

 

EDUCATION

 

09/2006-05/2009

BA (Honours) – Interior Design
University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

09/2005-
06/2006
09/2003 –06/2005
09/2002-
07/2004
09/2001-
07/2004

O’ Levels
Including Greek, English Language and Maths
Technical School of Pafos, Cyprus
Certificate grade: 19.9
Architecture Technical Drawing lessons
Art private lessons

 

PERSONAL SKILLS AND ATTRIBUTES

 

Personal:

Successful communication skills in persuading people at all levels
Good negotiation skills
Creative thinking
Ability to work in teams and networking
Good analytical and research skills
Hard working and work on own initiative
High sense of responsibility and determination
Energetic and highly motivated
Operate at a professional level
Visualising –sketching-3D
Excellent technical drawing-hand drawing
Ability to write good design briefs
Good managing projects and project planning
High quality of presentations

Computer:

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, Access), Internet, Adobe (Illustrator CS,
Image Ready CS, Photoshop CS), AutoCAD 2002-9, ArchiCAD 9-10

Languages:

English (fluent), Greek (fluent), French (basic)

Others:

Clean driving licence

 

WORK
EXPERIENCE

 

06/2008-
09/2008
06/2007-
09/2007
09/2003-
09/2005

Promoting different products all around Pafos
Promotion Ltd, Pafos, Cyprus
Responsibilities: selling the products
Assistant Secretary-Designer on CAD
Kastelano Holdings Ltd, Pafos, Cyprus
Responsibilities: answering the phone and dealing with client inquiries, filing, typing of different documents and designing on CAD technical drawings – Visuals
Customer relations assistant
Camel café Ltd, Pafos, Cyprus
Responsibilities: assisting in handling customer requirements

06/2005- 06/2005

Customer relations assistant
Vienna café- Restaurant, Pafos, Cyprus
Responsibilities: assisting in handling customer requirements

 
 

 

INTERESTS

Art admirer, travelling, swimming, photography, Greek and Latin dancing

APPENDIX B: LEGAL AND TAXATION CONSIDERATIONS
SOURCE: ARISTO DEVELOPERS (2008) Company Profile; undated; [online] (cited 6 November 2008) Available from: http://www.aristodevelopers.com/profile/>
Residential Permit Residential Permit is easily obtained for persons living in Cyprus, who have purchased property. Temporary Permit The granting of this permit requires the existence of a bank account in Cyprus and a sales agreement of the property purchased. Temporary residence status can be from one to four years. Permanent permit In addition to the above requirements, the applicant must establish evidence of a secured annual income of not less than CYP 5.600 per person plus CYP2.700 for each dependant person. (Because of the entry of Cyprus to the EU, it is possible that for Europeans the law in respect of permits will change.) For more information please contact the Ministry of Interior, Nicosia.
Property Taxes, Fees, Rates
Immovable Property Tax
The annual immovable property tax is imposed on the market value of the property as at 1st January 1980 and applies to the immovable property owned by the taxpayer on 1st January each year.

Market value of property (1/1/1980)(CYP)

Annual Property tax (‰)

up to 100,000

100,001 to 250,000

2.5

250,001 to 500,000

3.5

over 500,000

4.0

Capital Gains Tax On gains from disposal of immovable property situated in Cyprus, capital gains tax will be imposed at the rate of 20% with the first CYP10.000 being exempt for each person. The gain is the difference between the sales proceeds and the original cost of the property. In the case of a property which was purchased before 1/1/1980, the gains are the difference between the sales proceeds and the market value of the property as of 1/1/1980. The seller is entitled to a further allowance regarding the transfer fees paid, inflation rate per year and the cost of any additions made to the house. Gains from the disposal of a private residence are exempt up to CYP 50.000 in total if the owner resides in it continuously for at least five years prior to disposal. Gains from the disposal of a dwelling house are exempt up to CYP 50.000 in total if the owner resides in it continuously for at least five years prior to disposal.

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Stamp Duty on Contracts The purchaser is liable for the payment of stamp duty on the purchase price of the property at the rate of CYL1.50 per thousand up to CYL100.000 and thereafter at the rate of CYL2.00 per thousand. This should be paid within 30 days from signing of the contract of sale. For example if the purchase price is CYPL150.000

first CYP 100 000

1.5‰

CYP 150

next CYP 50 000

2.0‰

CYP 100

 

Total

CYP 250

Estate Duty Estate Duty tax has been abolished as from the first of January 2000 (Statute No.78(1)/2000).
Local Authority Taxes & Rates A rough guide could be approximately CYP 50 -150 per year depending on the size of your property. This tax is for refuse collection, street lighting, sewerage, etc. The basic utilities, electricity, water and telephone are payable individually in accordance with the consumption and based on a meter reading.
VAT Since 1/5/04 a new statute in respect of VAT on properties has been introduced. Disposals of newly-constructed properties for which a proper application for planning permit has been submitted with the relevant authorities after 1/5/04 are subject to VAT at standard rate.
Under certain conditions, a grant is given to entitled persons for the purchase of newly-constructed properties that are used as the main permanent residence.
The application for the grant is submitted to the Ministry of Finance by any physical person citizen of the Republic of Cyprus or of any other EU member state who resides permanently in the Republic of Cyprus. The grant is for properties whose total covered area does not exceed 250 m2 and is restricted to 130 m2. For more details you may contact a local accountant.
Tax Advantages Cyprus is unique when it comes to the taxation aspects of living on the island.
The following income tax rates apply to individuals:

Chargeable income (CYP)

Tax Rate (%)

Accumulated tax (CYP)

0 – 10.000

10.001 – 15.000

20

1.000

15.001 – 20.000

25

2.250

over 20.000

30

 

Retirees who become residents in Cyprus are taxed on their pensions from abroad at the rate of 5% per annum while an annual exception for the first L2.000 is granted.
Additionally, Cyprus has established Double Taxation treaties with the majority of European and non-European countries, safe-guarding that its residents will avoid paying tax in both countries. This gives the option to the citizens of these countries to take advantage of the very low rates in Cyprus.
APPENDIX C: BANKING MATTERS
SOURCE: CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS (2008) Banking in Cyprus: 6 May 2004; [online] (cited 6 November 2008) Available from: http://www.centralbank.gov.cy/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=28>
The Central Bank of Cyprus was established in 1963, shortly afterCyprusgained its independence, as an autonomous institution in accordance with the Central Bank ofCyprus Law 1963 and the relevant articles of the Constitution. Today the Bank is governed by the Central Bank of Cyprus Laws 2002-2007, which ensure the Bank’s independence as well as compatibility with the relevant provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Community and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank. The law’s amendment in March 2007 paved the way for the legal integration of the Bank into the Eurosystem in January 2008.
The main functions of the Central Bank include:

implementing the European Central Bank’s monetary policy decisions;
holding and managing the official international reserves;
supervising banks;
promoting, regulating and overseeing the smooth operation of payment and settlement systems;
safeguarding the stability of the financial system.

BANKS INCORPORATED IN CYPRUS
1. BANKS LISTED ON THE CYPRUS STOCK EXCHANGE

Bank of Cyprus Public Company Ltd
Marfin Popular Bank Public Co Ltd
Hellenic Bank Public Company Limited
Universal Bank Public Limited

2. SUBSIDIARIES OF FOREIGN BANKS

Αlpha Bank Cyprus Ltd
BNP Paribas Cyprus Ltd
Emporiki Bank – Cyprus Limited
Kommunalkredit International Bank Ltd
National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) Ltd
Russian Commercial Bank (Cyprus) Ltd
Societe Generale Cyprus Ltd

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Cult Practices in Late Bronze Age Cyprus

Assess the evidence for cult practices on Cyprus during the LBA (Late Bronze Age).
There is a variety of evidence for cult practices on Cyprus during the LBA although it is often difficult to interpret and scholarly opinion of the significance or meaning of any particular piece of evidence may vary widely.  In absolute terms, the LBA on Cyprus approximately covers the period from 1650-1050BC, some six hundred years, and in relative terms is divided by Steel into the phases LC (Late Cypriot) I-IIIA (Tatton-Brown 1997, 91; Steel 2004, 13).  The later phase down to c1050BC, traditionally termed LCIIIB, may be considered a transitional Bronze/Early Iron Age.  Such a considerable amount of time offers considerable scope for change in religious thought and practice, which may be more or less visible in the archaeological record, and although some material change through time may be observable, any interpretation still poses the danger of imposing a possibly non-existent uniformity on the material.  A lack of any written references such as inscriptions, dedications or other texts to deities in LBA Cyprus further complicates matters (Tatton-Brown 1997, 62).  Nevertheless, the archaeological evidence usually discussed in terms of religious or cultic beliefs and practices in LBA Cyprus seems to fall into several interlinked categories: clay figurines, architectural remains (eg of sanctuaries) and artefacts, such as statuettes, imported pottery or bucrania, found in association with those architectural remains.  The identification of any particular deities has been fraught with difficulty, but several bronze statuettes, the most well-known being known as the Ingot God and the Bomford figurine, are often thought to represent Cypriot or sometimes foreign gods and to show a link between cult and metalworking.  This essay shall therefore examine these in turn, focussing on LCII and LCIIIA in particular. 

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There are various types of figurine from LBA Cyprus and as with figurines from elsewhere, their interpretation and significance is disputed.  Considering the earlier stump and plank type human figures, Tatton-Brown (1997, 62) suggests that whether they were fertility charms or goddesses ‘in practical terms their function would have been the same’.  It is perhaps appropriate to bear this in mind with the LBA figurines.  Karageorghis (2001, 323) has noted two types of female symbolism in the religious iconography of LBA Cyprus: one type of nude female figurine holding or supporting her breasts first appears on Cyprus in the Chalcolithic and continues down to the sixth century BC (see Tatton-Brown 1997, 49, fig. 49); another type, the kourotrophos (or boy-feeder; see Tatton-Brown 1997, 62 fig. 67 for an early plank-shaped kourotrophos) appeared firstly in the LBA and was also present in the Aegean as well as Cyprus.  The former are sometimes known as ‘Astarte’ type figures, after the Syrian goddess.  This emphasis on female characteristics such as breasts and genitals, as well as the feeding infant or infant in arms, is certainly suggestive of an interest in fertility and the feminine aspect, often thought to be represented by a ‘Great Goddess’ of Cyprus.  Although there is no textual evidence regarding female deities from LBA Cyprus, much later fourth century BC dedications at Paphos refer to ‘Wanassa’ – the ‘Lady’, which seems to be an old title known in the LBA Linear B record of mainland Greece (Tatton-Brown 1997, 63).  Greeks knew this goddess as Aphrodite or the Cyprian in the eighth century BC while Cypriots knew her as the Paphian, from the religious centre at Paphos.  Whatever the female figurines represent – and they may not even represent goddesses, it has nevertheless been concluded that anthropomorphic clay figurines ‘are not a typical element of LC cult equipment in LCII or LCIII’ but become popular towards the end of the LBA (Steel 2004, 205, 211).  Indeed, it seems that especially at Enkomi in LCIIIB, in the Sanctuary of the Ingot God, smaller and larger figurines (wheel-made with upraised arms) became especially popular, perhaps representing worshippers and deities.  The larger figurines seem to be related to Cretan examples (Karageorghis 2001, 325).  Most of the 120 figurines were deliberately broken, which may be indicative of changes in cult practice at this time (Webb 1999, 107).
Anthropomorphic figurines are not the only type of figurine that may be related to cult practices on LBA Cyprus.  Another key type may be the bull figurine.  Steel (2004, 178) suggests that ‘most LC cult sanctuaries are equipped with at least a single terracotta bull figure.’  Hadjisavvas (1989) describes the tentative identification of two sanctuaries and a household cult area at Alassa-Pano Mandilaris from LCIIC-IIIA, where in total more than ten bull figurines were found on floors (see Hadjisavvas 1989, 38 fig. 3.6).  Evidence of metalworking and a miniature ox-hide ingot were also found associated.  Since bull figurines tend to be found on the floors of sanctuaries rather than deposited in pits (bothroi) or wells, Webb suggests they served as cult equipment rather than offerings (Webb 1999, 219).  Bucrania had appeared on clay sanctuary models from the Early Bronze Age testifying to the longstanding significance of the bull in the Cypriot mindscape (Preziosi and Hitchcock 1999, 202) and the LBA figures emphasise the continuing importance of the bull in LCIIIA cult practices, reflected in the finds of cattle bones and skulls at sites such as the Sanctuary of the Horned God at Enkomi (Steel 2004, 205).  It may be significant that at several sites, including the Sanctuary of the Double Goddess at Enkomi, no bull figurines were found. 
The focus of communal ceremonial activity seems to have changed in LCIIA from the extramural cemeteries that seemed to dominate the ceremonial of LCI to sites specific to religious activity – sanctuaries, that now appear in the archaeological record (Steel 2004, 175).  There are notable examples of specialised cult centres from LCIIA at Myrtou-Pighades, Athienou and perhaps Ayios Iakovos-Dhima and in LCIIC-IIIA at the urban centres of Kition, Enkomi and Palaepaphos (Steel 2004, 176).  As seen above, the religious nature of a place may often be suggested by the finds associated with it, such as bull figurines or miniature ingots, supposing that they are a specialised assemblage distinct from domestic assemblages.  Particular architectural features or installations, such as horns of consecration (a feature from the Aegean, particularly Crete), altars and a cult room, may also be used to identify LC sanctuaries.  The remains of sacrifice, stores cult objects and images and specialised prestige and religious objects, such as figurines, bucrania and imported pottery should also be indicative of a sanctuary (Knapp 1996, 75-6 cited in Steel 2004, 175).  However, the identification of cult buildings is not always straightforward since as Webb (1999, 11) points out ‘there appear to be few artefacts or architectural or locational indicators exclusively diagnostic of cult activity. Virtually all object types, with the probable exception of horns of consecration, are found in domestic and funerary as well as apparently ritual contexts’ and there is a danger of circular argumentation.    
Bearing in mind the problems of identification, Webb (1999, 157-6; 166-88) has nevertheless suggested a number of characteristics of LC cult buildings.  Such buildings are mostly rectangular and freestanding and incorporate an enclosed courtyard or temenos.  They tend to be laid out on an east-west axis and often comprise two or three units of rooms – the hall, sometimes supported by rows of pillars, the cella or adyton and a vestibule.  A range of internal installations may be present, including: benches, for storage and display; hearths, often with burnt animal bone suggestive of sacrifice; stone podia for food and drink offerings or the display of votives or cult equipment; stone platforms or altars with horns of consecration, as at Myrtou-Pighades; terracotta larnakes or bathtubs and pits or bothroi, for the disposal of debris from sacrifices.  Also characteristic of LCII cult places are faunal remains of sheep, goat, cattle and deer, perhaps in the form of ash and burnt bone, the remains of sacrifice and feasting.  The main function of cult buildings may have been to house the deity and any ritual or public assembly may have made use of the courtyard or temenos area (Webb 1999, 162).  There may have been restricted access to particular areas reflecting the specialised role of religious functionaries, as in other ancient Near Eastern societies.  Keswani (1993, 74) has commented that what is striking about LC religious sites is their diversity in architectural form, which might argue for the existence of independent local polities.  However the relationship between religion and its expression in material terms, let alone the relationship between religion and politics, is unclear and, to use an analogy, the similarity of Gothic cathedrals or Christian churches across various countries does not reflect political unity.  Furthermore, whether the modern scholar’s distinction between cult building and non-cult building reflects any particular distinction between sacred and secular that may or may not have existed in LBA Cyprus is moot.
Turning now to the artefacts that are often found in the sanctuaries, Steel (2004, 177) notes that in contrast to the variety in architecture, the cult equipment of LCII sanctuaries is fairly uniform.  Although she comments that this may suggest ‘a certain degree of uniformity of cult practices and religious beliefs’ it should be borne in mind that material similarities and even similarities of ritual action do not necessarily betoken similarities in religious belief – the number of religions ancient and modern that utilise, for example, ritualised drinking (eg Christianity), while having very different sets of beliefs, should warn us of this.  That said, the cult equipment is largely made up of ceramics that suggest certain features of cult practice.  Liquid containers are common finds, especially Base Ring carinated cups which may have been used for wine consumption during feasting, for pouring libations or both (Steel 2004, 177).  The pottery in these contexts is usually fine Cypriot ware with some Mycenaean imports, mainly in the form of kraters, probably for mixing wine.  Some Mycenaean rhyta, often conical vessels used for pouring libations, have been found, for example at Myrtou-Pighades and Kition (see Preziosi and Hitchcock 1999, 201 fig. 134) and a locally made imitation in ivory was found at Athienou, although they may not have been fully incorporated into Cypriot ritual (Steel 2004, 178).  Other vessels such as Mycenanaean kylikes may have been used for libation ceremonies.  The ceramic focus on drinking seems reminiscent of the mainland Greek LBA palace of Pylos, with its storerooms full of drinking cups.  Another shared feature is the practice of using miniature votives, either ceramics or ingots, such as at Alassa-Pano Mandilaris (Hadjisavvas 1989, 38).  Apart from ceramics, Steel (2004, 178) also mentions the presence of objects that may have been used in divination: incised ox-scapulae, astragalis and worked shells, and other valuable items such as faience, ivory, glass, alabaster, bronzes and sealstones, which may have been involved in competitive display, at least on the urban sanctuaries. 
Three of the most famous and enigmatic bronze finds, perhaps representing deities, are the Ingot God from Enkomi, the unprovenanced Bomford statuette and the Horned God from Enkomi, all of which would seem to belong to LCIIIA (Carless Hulin 1989; Steel 2004, 180, 205 & plate 25). The Ingot God is a warrior with a horned helmet, holding a small round shield and spear.  He appears to be standing on a characteristically shaped bronze ox-hide ingot.  The Bomford statuette resembles an ‘Astarte’ figurine but also seems to stand upon an ingot.  Many interpretations have been offered, including suggestions that the Ingot God is a Babylonian or Levantine god (Nergal) or the Greek smith-god Hephaistos; others have linked it with Syria-Palestine or the Aegean (Carless Hulin 1989, 127).  The Bomford figurine, reckoned to be a local Cypriot goddess, has been assumed to be the consort of the Ingot God, since it also stands on an ingot, and thus Carless Hulin (1989, 127) has suggested that its identification must be seen in light of that figure.  While these two figures have posed significant problems in interpretation and in particular origins as deduced from style have been a major concern of those examining them, they do seem to show a connection between religion and metalwork (Steel 2004, 180).  This is not entirely surprising since such a link is suggested by the miniature ingots from cult areas mentioned above at Alassa-Pano Mandilaris or those from Enkomi, some with inscriptions.  Further representations of ingots have been noted that seem to show them in a ritualised sense – ie being carried in a procession  (unless this is mere transportation or loading), on sealstones, and in combination with human figures, trees and bucrania, the association of which would seem to indicate ritual significance (Knapp 1986, 37).  Another link between religion and metalwork is shown by the physical proximity of cult and metalworking areas.  This was the case at Alassa-Pano Mandilaris (Hadjisavvas 1989, 41) and can be seen clearly at Kition-Kathari (see Steel 2004, 179 fig. 6.13) as well as many other sites.  Hadjisavvas (1989, 41) concluded that there was a relationship between elite control (priesthood/priest-king) of craft production and trade in copper and other commodities and between cult and metalworking.  As with drinking, the relationship seems reminiscent of that of Pylos as a specialised production centre with close links between production, storage and religious/political authority.
The Horned God has also been classed as a warrior god (Steel 2004, 205), though it does not possess the military accoutrements (the spear and shield) of the Ingot God.  The impractically horned helmet may in fact be arrogating or representing some aspect of the bull divinity in human aspect.  The sanctuary of the Horned God at Enkomi in fact revealed cattle bones, skulls and possibly traces of an Aegean bull’s head rhyton that might be taken as supporting this conjecture.  Although these three bronze figures are commonly referred to as gods, the problem of interpretation nonetheless remains.  Do the statues represent deities and were they venerated?  Are they votives or substitutes for worshippers or individuals?  Perhaps they were simply items of cult equipment used in ceremonies, perhaps revealed during ceremonies of divine appearance or the enactment of myths.  Their deposition seems to suggest deliberate closure ceremonies (Steel 2004, 206), suggesting that these rituals and statuettes are tied to specific times in LBA Cyprus and presumably responded to specific social needs.  Thus it is perhaps unwise to draw period wide generalisations from such evidence.
Another type of evidence appearing in LCIII that should be mentioned briefly is the terracotta masks from the urban sanctuaries of Enkomi and Kition (Steel 2004, 204).  These have been divided into anthropomorphic and demonic types, both of which are slightly less than adult life size.  Some have traces of paint and eight of the anthropomorphic masks show a bearded male with cut-out eyes and a closed mouth.  The demonic faces are deeply grooved.  The masks have been interpreted as ritual objects worn during rites of passage from childhood to adulthood – the demonic masks representing the wild state of childhood and as masks used in mythological re-enactments connected to metalworking (Steel 2004, 205).
This essay has attempted to outline and assess the evidence for cult practice in LBA Cyprus.  Inevitably not all of the evidence has been mentioned here but it is hoped that reasonable coverage has been given to the main points.  It has shown that while there is much evidence linked to cult in the LBA, such as figurines, sanctuaries and specialised artefacts, their interpretation is often problematic.  Even when it is fairly certain that items may have been involved in cult in one way or another, any more specific comment is often impossible, even when deciding if a figurine represent a divinity.  It has also been demonstrated that to link variety in architectural form to any interpretation of the political geography of LBA Cyprus may be problematic, since the wider relationships between material and non-material remain obscure.  Furthermore, the essay examined the significance of several bronze statuettes, usually taken to be divinities, and the problems in their interpretation as well as the novel terracotta masks that appear in LCIII.  On the other hand, it has been shown that there seems to have been lively religious activity on LBA Cyprus that involved drinking and feasting using particular ceramics and in particular places, the pouring of libations and sacrifice of animals, as well as the deposition of valuable items.  There seems to have been a particular reverence for bulls and their imagery as well as the female aspect represented by figurines and the Bomford statuette, as well as a significant link between metalworking and religion, as demonstrated by both the proximity of cult and metalworking areas and the presence of miniature ingots.  Another important aspect of LBA Cypriot religion seems to be the willingness to incorporate features from outside Cyprus, the Cretan horns of consecration, for example, rhyta, Mycenaean cups, kraters and the like and the ability of Cypriot religion to change over time.
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