Alternative Title:


Writing and civilization are very closely linked for without this means of communication, ideas, facts, events, discoveries and emotions cannot be conveyed across time and advance the development of mankind.

Before the invention of paper by the Chinese in 105 BC writing was done on clay tablets, parchments and papyrus. Letter writing developed some 3000 years ago when the earliest known example of the Phoenician alphabet was discovered in Byblos, Lebanon. The Latin alphabet is said to derive from the twenty two consonants of that ancient script.

In the early years letters were exchanged between rulers and tradesmen since the majority of any population was illiterate. With literacy increasing, the art of letter writing, be it business, friendship, administrative or amorous, flourished.

The Persian King Darius the Great (521-486 BC) set up the first real postal service by opening inns every fifteen miles along the 1678 miles of the King’s road from Susa to Sardis. Over the centuries mail was carried at first by couriers on foot and in due course horses, camels, carriages, bicycles, ships, railways, cars and airplanes were used. As chariots were in use at the time of King Darius, one may wonder if they were used for the delivery of mail.

Prior to the invention of the envelope, letters were folded and often sealed with a wax wafer. An early letter from Cyprus is dated 17th June 1353 written during the reign of the Lusignan King Hugh IV when Cyprus was enjoying great prosperity. Regular services did not exist at the time.

Early letters from Cyprus to countries beyond its shores were sent by ship or hand carried by travellers until 26th September 1930 when the first airmail service was inaugurated between Ammochostos and Alexandria.




Cyprus Post, Republic of Cyprus
Κυπριακά Ταχυδρομεία, Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία




Library of Cyprus University of Technology

Contributor :

Designer: Glafkos Theofylactou





Item Identification:

2008CS71, 2008CS72, 2008CS73


Απαγορεύεται η δημοσίευση ή αναπαραγωγή, ηλεκτρονική ή άλλη χωρίς τη γραπτή συγκατάθεση του δημιουργού.


Is part of:

Temporal Coverage:

Spatial Coverage:


No tags recorded for this item.


Cyprus Post, Republic of Cyprus Κυπριακά Ταχυδρομεία, Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, “Εuropa The Letter, Commemorative Issue,” Αψίδα, accessed December 7, 2021,