On the Road: Around Cyprus and the Importance of Art

Give me a book and a new city to explore and I´m the happiest person on earth! After my trip around Crete, I went to Cyprus and discovered this island while I was reading the most recent book of one of my favorite portuguese writers, João Tordo.

I landed in the city of Paphos at night and had a direct transfer to Limassol, and it was the first surprise of my trip in Cyprus: in this mediterranean island people drive on the left side, just like in Great Britain.

As I arrived really late that night in Limassol, only on the second day I had the chance to explore this sunny city highlighted by a continuous beach and be surprised again: there are so many different communities, specially asian, which contribute for an interesting melting pot of cultures.

João Tordo´s new novel follows the life event’s of four different female characters, through the last two centuries in Lisbon but also in Fussen, Bavaria – and it was a pleasure for me to travel in time around my hometown and, simultaneously, discovering Cyprus.

In fact, in the morning I arrived in Nicosia, I was reading about the 1970s in Lisbon, which was exactly the decade when the cypriot capital was divided by the local greek and turkish communities.

Nicosia: the walled city with a border

Even if there´s a latent tension in Nicosia, I have to admit that the city has a special aura: I spend more time in the greek community side and I felt in love with the local vibe – not only it is possible to find food from diverse countries in the world – like Armenia or Egypt -, as the local coffee shops are a great place to relax, read and have a chat with the friendly locals.

I spent one day at the turkish side and felt back to Turkey: there´s a rich architecture, from mosques to hammam, and one of the highlights is Samanbahçe, the historical district that consists of 72 houses build for charity in the beginning of the 1900´s.

Nicosia is the last divided capital in the world and it is amazing to discover through its walled old town, which can be done easily by walking. Anyway, don´t forget to take your passport if you want to pass the demilitarized border zone, by the Green Line signalized areas.

Art is Timeless

My last stop in Cyprus was Larnaka. Larnaka reminded me Algarve, a region in the south of Portugal recognized by its beaches and night life.

Larnaka presents a mix of architecture – the ottoman legacy is side by side by orthodox churches -, however the local highlight is the street art: there´s a good quality of graffiti everywhere and I had the chance to discover the local collective ‘No Signal Studio’, visiting their studio.

Larnaka is, undoubtedly, a city that inspires: one morning, as I was walking the long and pleasant marginal, thinking about the piano teacher in João Tordo´s novel that lived in the beginning of the 20th century in Fussen, I was surprised by a local artist painting the omnipresent mediterranean sea.

This painter was happily whistling and, at that moment, I realize that, even if the time passes, art is a great connector: it links different eras and persons, different places and realities. In one word, I would say art is timeless.


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