Exploring the richness of Cyprus

10 August 2017

Exploring the richness of Cyprus

Cyprus truly is one of the most diverse places on planet earth, and island with indigenous species and has one of the most unique histories.  Whether your interest is in architecture, archaeology, nature, culinary exploration or general fun in the sun, Cyprus has it all.

Many with the Cypriot community see Cyprus as a beach holiday destination, some visit relatives and spend time with loved ones. However, even though they may travel to different parts of the island, they do not explore it. It is always much easier for families to repeat the same routine every year, visit the same beaches the same waterparks, no doubt there satisfied otherwise why else would they keep visiting the island? But our aim is to unwrap the island and give visitors a greater understanding of Cyprus, its culture, its produce and its people.

Each region has its own history, Cyprus has been inhabited since circa 10,500 BC making it one of the oldest civilized settlements in the world. Amazing when you consider that Cyprus is an island, meaning that these pioneers fashioned a vessel of some kind and ventured out to the unknown. These forbearers led to the development of Cypriot civilization, the first believed to be Agios Tychonas – Klimonas, Lemesos dating back to Neolithic times. Little is known about these early Cypriot inhabitants, who were they, where did they come from? This is the million-pound question. Dr. Kypros Tofalillis believes that, due to skeletal examinations of early Cypriots, they hailed from Asia Minor but there are many other theories. The important thing for us is that they laid down the foundations that made Cyprus an important trading post.

The location of Cyprus has been advantageous for civilisations throughout the ages not only in terms of conquest but different races came for economic reasons to establish a trading presence. From the East the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Sumerians, Persians, Hittites, Assyrians-Babylonians, Jews, Arab raiders, Ottomans rule and later the Turks. From the West the Achaeans, Arcadians, Argives, Athenians, Minoans, Macedonians, Romans, Salaminians, Byzantines, English, Frankish, Venetian, and later the British Empire. This dynamic history makes Cyprus a fusion of East and West, such a rich history of so many different peoples is embedded in the DNA of Cypriots.

Each of these peoples left their mark in Cyprus and there are monuments and sites to visit that reflect the complexity of Cypriot history, of a mixed multicultural society that in-between all the conflicts managed to bury the hatchet for the sake of trade and make Cyprus a wealthy cosmopolitan outpost for many different civilisations exporting copper, timber, perfumes and of course wines.

Wine has been produced on the island for thousands of years, the earliest evidence of grape cultivation was at the Neolithic site of Agios Epiktitis-Vrisi in the Kyrenia region dating back to around 4500-3900 BC, fast forwarding to the bronze age at Kalopsida in the Ammohostos district circa 1950 BC and from the Iron age, finds at Salamis from the 6th – 4th century BC. Wine production continued to grow in the Hellenistic period (323-31 BC) under of Alexander the Great then Ptolemy I, whereby Cypriot wine was imported to Jerusalem for temple use. When the Ptolemaic dynasty fell and Rome’s Empire grew eastward, the wine traditions continued in Cyprus during the it’s time as a Roman province and later as part of the Byzantine empire. The wine of Cyprus became famous throughout the Middle Ages and one of the most ancient Cypriot wines was being exported all over Europe. Koumantaria was very popular amongst the ruling elite it was even the choice of wine at King Richard the Lion Heart’s wedding feast giving birth to the saying ‘The Wine of Kings’. Kolossi castle played a major role in growing the reputation of Koumataria, when the Knights Templar established the castle as their Grande Commanderie giving birth to the name (latinised) Commandaria.

Shipping is an industry in which Cyprus is still prominent player, having a vast experience in marine matters since ancient times and you can still find this heritage proudly displayed in Makkas Winery’s logo (pictured).  Cyprus’s unique positioning on the edge of the European border at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea makes it a great trading partner for many nations and now just as in bygone times Cyprus will excel and prosper.

 CyWineFest is a great way to begin your exploration with representatives of the Cyprus Trade Centre, the Cyprus Tourism Office with tons of interesting facts and stats about the island as well as countless information on all places of interest to visit.  It is not every day that you get to talk first hand with representatives of the Cypriot Embassy here in the UK.

Source : George Charalambous - Parikiaki

 

 

 

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