Cyprus is often referred to as the island of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. This connection was established over many centuries. When the Achaean Greeks arrived in the 12th century BCE, the local population was worshipping a fertility goddess with oriental characteristics in certain temples; it seems that the Greeks ‘gradually Hellenised her’ over several centuries, according to archaeologist Jacqueline Karageorghis. The goddess was fully identified as Aphrodite by the 4th century BCE, and during the Hellenistic Period Pafos emerged as the principal place for worshipping her. You can visit the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite at Palaipafos, the site of the original settlement near Kouklia village (14 kilometres east of Pafos). Although the city was moved to what is now the Archaeological Site of Kato Pafos in the 3rd century BCE, the temple continued to draw pilgrims to honour the goddess well into the Roman era. Central to their veneration was a large conical stone, which is now on display in the museum at the temple site. Aphrodite came to be associated with sexuality as well as fertility and love. Through limited sources, historians conclude that the cultic worship included sacrifice, divination of the future, the burning of incense, and ritual bathing and prostitution. Emperor Theodosius banned pagan worship in the temples in 392 CE, but the connection between Cyprus and Aphrodite persists. Other related attractions include the nearby Petra tou Romiou (site of the goddess’s birth) and two in the Akamas—the Baths of Aphrodite and Fontana Amorosa, where she consorted with Adonis.
The series Eco Art features site-specific artworks that refer to the environment. The 2019 group exhibition entitled ‘Public Nature-Private Culture’ asks viewers to contemplate the interplay between natural geology, flora, and fauna and markers of human cultural expression. The site chosen is intriguing: a stone escarpment reveals caves and openings carved by man and occupied in various ways over the centuries. In the past, for example, some were used as burial chambers, while currently Christians have decorated the walls with icons for devotional purposes. Now artists invite you to look anew at the site as you view eight works along a labelled pathway. The first work, ‘Ephemeral Culture’, is a pallet of cat food bricks offered to the current residents—the cats. In ‘Tama and the Rose’, Miriam McConnon creates a lacy pattern out of rose-shaped linens on the floor of a shrine. Susan Vargas’s ‘Tablets’ is interactive: you are invited to inscribe your messages on seven wax tablets, paralleling the process by which Christian believers have made their devotional wishes public. The totemic wishing tree by Tim Bennett, ‘Wish Harder’, stands outside the chambers and uses manufactured materials (steel, paint, hula hoops) to create a biomorphic form. Rinos Stefani’s ‘Saint George and the Dragon’ features a large log resting on an abandoned building foundation and pierced by sawblades; it symbolises the Anthropocene, the era in earth’s history in which man came to dominate nature. ‘Public Nature-Private Culture’ is located next to St. George’s chapel. The exhibition continues through 31 December.
The traditional arts and crafts of Cyprus offer a wealth of techniques and a rich visual vocabulary to work with. Although many handicrafts have been produced in the same way from generation to generation, some contemporary artists and designers are reconsidering traditional arts with an eye toward rejuvenating or refurbishing them. The exhibition entitled ‘.CY: Alternative Traditional Art and Design’ gathers works by thirteen artists and three design teams at Almyra. Taking its name from the country extension for Cyprus in internet domain names, the exhibition focuses on the notion of Cypriot culture in the current moment. Artists in the show may approach common Cypriot concerns through modern techniques or, conversely, use traditional Cypriot techniques to approach issues outside the traditional frame of reference. They do not stay within the comfortable realm of folklore and or render familiar provincial scenery. Instead, these artists confront Cypriot traditions creatively, discovering new paths of inquiry and modes of expression. Their works explore (and celebrate) the multifaceted richness of Cypriot identity. The exhibition opens on 14 September at 20:30 with a reception in the Lobby. Curated by Yiannis Sakellis, the group show features artists and designers Christos Avraam, Michalis Argyrou, Elena Daniel, Stella Karagiorgi, Marios Konstantinidis, Charalambos Margaritis, Eleni Panayiotou, Christos Panayiotou, Charalambos Proestos, Marios Shiarlis, Christina Tsantekidou, Paris Christodoulou, Yiannis Sakellis, the design team ‘ΦΧΨ heritage design’, the team Retrovi, and the foundation Faneromenis70. The exhibition continues through 5 October.
Ouzo, the anise-flavoured aperitif, is typically mixed with water or ice and sipped over a leisurely dinner in an ouzerie, a kind of restaurant found throughout Greece and Cyprus that serves a sequence of small dishes known as meze. But ouzo can also be used in the preparation of cocktails. The Almyra Ouzo Special is one such example. The bartender begins by selecting a tall hurricane glass and filling it with ice. Then 5 cl of ouzo is added to the glass. As the ouzo comes into contact with the ice, the clear liquid emulsifies into a milky whiteness. Then comes hand-squeezed lemon juice and a healthy pour of lemon- and lime-flavoured soft drink. After a gentle stir, we add some rose cordial. This distinctively Cypriot beverage, based on the distillation of the damask rose, gives the milky ouzo a lovely pink glow. Then our cocktail is garnished with two slices of cucumber, a maraschino cherry, and a sprig of fresh mint. Sip it with a straw and you’ll find it fizzy and tangy—with the tartness of the citrus tangling with the sweetness of the rose and the bitterness of the anise. Bar manager Stavros Roumeliotis is concocting several new cocktails with ouzo as a base, and he plans to launch them at Almyra’s Ouzerie (where else?) in 2020. Watch this space for details. Meanwhile, stop by Almyra and check out the Almyra Ouzo Special at any one of our bars.
Sunday Vibezzz, the weekly summer music programme at Eauzone pool bar and lounge, is closing out its 2019 season with a marathon party on 1 September. It all begins at 15:00 with the Pool Party Set; DJ Kong will spin three hours of mellow rhythm and blues hits while partygoers soak in the sun and swim in the pool. Greek recording artist Harri Agnel is up next as the Sundown Set gets going at 18:00; listen to three hours of down tempo electronic music as you take in the legendary Almyra sunset. Resident DJ Aris takes over at 21:00 with the Midnight Set; his three hours feature Oriental deep ethnic tracks and will keep you grooving until midnight! The party is for adults only (ages 16 and up). Throughout it all, the Eauzone kitchen will be serving sushi à la carte and sharing platters. In addition to our menu of classic and signature cocktails, we offer two drinks menus featuring tequila and gin. The Tequila Time menu offers five mixed drinks along with a selection of five premium tequilas served with your choice of citrus enhancers. With the Gin O’clock menu, choose from six cocktails or command a bespoke gin and tonic—with eight premium gins, four house-infused gins, five tonics, and ten enhancers, the possibilities are endless! You can order wine or champagne by the bottle or by the glass. Stop in at Eauzone this Sunday and celebrate summer.
Yoga instructor Katerina Meintani of Athens, Greece, will be present at Almyra on 6-8 September to lead a Yoga Weekend Retreat. On Friday, guests will check into the hotel and attend a welcome ceremony where the weekend’s activities will be explained. On Saturday morning, attendees will meet at 7:30 for thirty minutes of pranayama—breathing exercises and poses. This is followed by an hour and a half practicing vinyasa yoga, where the instructor helps students move from pose to pose while controlling breath. The group then eats breakfast together before enjoying some free time. At 18:30, the group gathers once again for an hour and a half of meditation. Sunday begins with another thirty-minute session of pranayama. Next, the instructor leads the group for one and a half hours through a session of yin and yang balancing. The weekend closes with a group breakfast. The yoga retreat is open to practitioners of all levels. The package includes accommodation for two nights, breakfast and dinner at the hotel, and all yoga and mindfulness sessions (€320 per person double occupancy; €500 single occupancy); those wanting to attend only the yoga and mindfulness sessions will be charged €30 per person per day). The weekend retreat is a great way to step away from daily stress and rebalance for the week ahead. Contact Almyra on 26888700 for reservations.