Cementography is an art form invented in the 1960s by Cypriot artist Christoforos Savva. The process begins with paper and pencil, as the artist sketches a plan for a wall hanging made from cast cement. The plan is used as a guide for creating a mould with polystyrene, which is shaped by cutting or burning the material. Then a cement mixture is prepared; some portions of it may be coloured or given increased texture by the addition of pieces of glass, stone, or tile. The cement is added to the mould and allowed to harden. Afterwards, the polystyrene is removed, and the surface of the work can be further defined by painting or scratching it. Savva taught the technique to fellow artist Costas Economo, who gave it its name, and he then passed it on to the next generation of artists. In 2017, he collaborated with nine artists to create an eight-panel work, ‘Arodafnousa’, using cementography. It illustrates a fourteenth-century Cypriot folk tale in which a beautiful girl named Arodafnousa is beloved by a king and murdered by a jealous queen; the king kills his wife and gives the girl a proper funeral. The eight panels can be viewed in sequence in the Old Town area of Pafos, where they have been mounted on the exterior walls of buildings. A website connected to the project (www.cementography.net) explains the technique and describes two documentary films featuring it. Inquire at Guest Services for a custom map of the tour.
The remains of the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, about 45 minutes by car from Pafos, reveal a multi-layered history of religion in Cyprus. Although named for the god Apollo, the site was considered sacred as far back as the Late Bronze Age (2000 BCE). The first monumental structures were constructed in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE: The Archaic Altar Precinct housed two open-air altars where worshippers made votive offerings. The Circular Monument, dating to the 6th century BCE, is a paved, ring-shaped pathway thought to have supported religious rites; cuts in the bedrock of its centre suggest that a sacred grove of trees was planted there. Experts argue that the site was consistently associated with a male fertility deity and linked to the forest, wildlife, hunting, and military prowess. The male god was at first nameless, but eventually became known as Hylates, In the Hellenistic Period (323-30 BCE), the god took on the Greek name Apollo; in this era, the first temple to Apollo was built along with a complex on the east side of the site. The sanctuary was further developed during the Roman Period (58 BCE-330 CE) with a new Temple of Apollo, a monumental entrance to the Circular Monument, baths, an athletic court, and more. Pilgrims could enter from gates on the east and west, then turn northward on the main processional road to the temple. The sanctuary was destroyed by earthquake in 365 CE, 27 years before pagan worship was banned in the Roman Empire.
When the sun sets beyond the sea near Eauzone, Almyra’s poolside lounge and restaurant, few guests can resist the urge to snap a picture or pose for a selfie. Looking across the infinity pool toward the sea, you sense the two bodies of water merge as the sunlight filters through the leaves of four palm trees. Though Eauzone is a favoured perch for watching the sunset, Almyra offers other equally alluring places to take in the view. Guests staying in a Kyma suite can gaze across the hotel’s gardens to Pafos harbour from their private rooftop lounge. The pergola at al fresco restaurant Notios casts delicate shadows in the waning light. Stand above seaside taverna Ouzeri, and you can see its white trellis as well as a breakwater and the silhouette of the Pafos castle. Of course, you can range farther afield, following the harbourside promenade to the castle (where you can take in the panoramic view from its roof) and then taking the seaside trail to the lighthouse. At Almyra, we have seen so many people using a camera to capture the beautiful colours of the sky, sea, and harbour that we decided to hold a sunset photography contest. The winning image, taken by Leondios Tselepos, shows the glow of the setting sun behind the façade of the castle; in the foreground, a rough sea washes over a pier and throws its foam skyward. Why not take a shot of your own? The spectacle happens every night right here.
This year Almyra invited local artist Yiannis Sakellis to paint seasonal murals on the street-facing side of its front garden wall. As the seasons change, he covers the mural of the passing season and heralds the next season with a new one. Recently, he completed the Fall mural depicting leaves blowing across contrasting orange and white backgrounds. Yiannis was born in Pafos in 1983 and started painting at the age of 15. Encouraged by his instructors, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts ‘Pietro Vannucci’ in Perugia, Italy; he graduated with honours in 2007 and returned home to establish his studio practice. He works in many media. In some pieces, he uses thread, rethinking the canvas background of most paintings as a medium of expression. In 2016, for example, he created ‘Capella’, a dome of string filtering the light from a window in the ceiling of Almyra’s Lobby. His film ‘The Box’ was screened at the Fine Arts Film Festival in Venice, California. He has presented three solo exhibitions in Cyprus and participated in group exhibitions here and in Italy and Moldova. He is very active in the local arts scene, having directed the Street Art Square Festival that brought many murals to the Old Town area and curated many exhibitions; ‘Thresholds of Life’ is on display at Almyra through 11 November. He can often be found at Kimonos Art Center, which he helped found in 2015; it brings art classes to the public and serves as a creative hub.
In the Persian language, a ‘khan’ is an inn surrounding an inner courtyard where caravans of travellers stop for the night and get essential services. Khans were found throughout the Middle East, including in Pafos, where the complex that came to be known as Ibrahim’s Khan was built during the Ottoman era. The structure, built in 1860, provided stables for travelling animals on the ground floor and sleeping rooms for people upstairs; amenities included a coffee shop, a canteen, a grocery store, and a farrier’s shop for shoeing animals. Ibrahim’s Khan fell into disuse in the 1950s, but it has recently been reimagined as a cultural and arts centre. In anticipation of Pafos 2017: European Capital of Culture, the municipality worked with architects and builders to restore and adapt the stone structure. Now the former stables house workshops for artisans. Woodcarvers, jewellers, and manufacturers of carob and olive oil products are present; you can see them at work and buy their wares. In the centre of the courtyard is Honey, a restaurant serving regional cuisine. In the back of the complex, an outdoor performance area is sited next to the structure housing the Creative Writing Centre. Nearby is the Mosaic Experience, where you can take a four-hour class in the art every Thursday. Climb the central stairs (or take the elevator) and find a gallery for contemporary art. Once a place of hospitality for travellers, Ibrahim’s Khan is now a symbol of cultural diversity and a hub of creativity and community.
Most of us do it many times a day—passing over a threshold from one space to another. At times, though, this movement can have fateful consequences and serve as a metaphor for a major life change. An image of a threshold can evoke departure, exile, incarceration, liberation, hospitality, or shelter, to name just a few examples. On 19 October at 20:30, the exhibition ‘Thresholds of Life’ begins with an opening party in the Lobby of Almyra. To prepare the exhibition, artist Yiannis Sakellis invited people all over Cyprus to send him life stories along with pictures of them crossing thresholds. He then distributed the texts and images to 45 visual artists throughout the island and asked them to create works of art based on the materials. These works are presented in the exhibition. The show thus expands the notion of a group exhibition by engaging artists, audiences, and fellow citizens in a creative collaboration. Half of the proceeds from sales of the works will be donated to charities that help the homeless and displaced, further broadening the impact of the effort. The exhibition is being held in collaboration with the Kimonos Art Center, which offers public workshops in Pafos on such visual arts techniques as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, animation, and video art. It is also part of the official 2019 celebration of ‘Third Paradise’, a global effort to find a balance between nature and artifice in human culture led by the Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto's ‘Cittadellarte’ Foundation. ‘Thresholds of Life’ continues through 11 November.