In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish war and as a result of the subsequent Congress of Berlin in 1878, Great Britain found herself the recipient of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, taking over responsibility for administration from the Ottoman Empire.
The island became an important military base and was formally annexed by Great Britain at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, before becoming a Crown Colony in 1925.
In 1928 a set of ten commemorative stamps was issued to mark the 50th Anniversary of British Rule with the values from 3/4 piastres to 45 piastres being the first pictorial stamps of Cyprus, and with the £1 top value showing the portrait of King George V.
Several of these stamps featured well known architectural landmarks of Cyprus, with the 4pi showing a cloister at the Abbey of Balla Paise, the 9pi showing the Tekka of Umm Haram (a mosque near Larnaca), and the 45pi showing the cathedral of St Nicholas at Famagusta.
A further twelve achitectural subjects were to be included in the following pictorial definitive set which was issued in 1934.