If you’ve been to Cyprus before – particularly to Paphos – then let us tell you, you’ve not seen anything yet. And if you’ve never been before, what are you waiting for? For 2017 it’s a must-visit. Aside from its regular charms as a holiday destination of choice, this year sees it named the coveted European Capital of Culture.
Four years in the planning, Paphos and the surrounding region are being transformed into a cultural extravaganza. Music, theatre, art and dance make up just some of 300 events throughout the year. What is particularly special about Paphos however is the central concept; the ‘Open Air Factory’ is based on a tradition spanning thousands of years, when cultural events were held not in a theatre or concert hall, but under the open air. Paphos uses some of its most spectacular sites and attractions to create a stage, the likes of which you have never seen before. Here’s a glimpse at just some of the events on over the year.
The Opening Ceremony
28th-29th January 2017
They say “start as you mean to go on”, and this two day event is sure to kick off the year’s events in style. Set in Paphos’ cultural centre, the beautiful neoclassical buildings, traditional mansions and town hall will make a wonderful Open Air Factory stage. Inspired by Paphos’ rich mythological heritage, the city streets will come alive with music, dance spectacles, theatre, street shows and other events. This promises to be a tantalising glimpse of what to expect of the rest of the year.
The Travelling Stage 2017
January – December 2017
Introducing a yearlong programme of multicultural, musical events from around the world! The Travelling Stage is just that – travelling. You’ll find events and open air stages spring up all over the region, from local communities to the most significant sites.
One Touch of Venus
Don’t miss this show inspired by the famous musical, ‘One Touch of Venus’. Renowned composers and German singer and actress Ute Lemper will come together with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra to create this musical spectacular. Set in the Paphos Castle Square, the only thing more wonderful than the location is its acoustics.
Moon & Stars
See world famous artists perform in evocative open air locations, like Petra tou Romiou. Also known as the Rock of Aphrodite, it’s said to be the birthplace of Cyprus’ famous Goddess. Myths aside, this area is utterly beautiful and catching an event here should be high on your bucket list.
See acclaimed artists from Cyprus, Europe and the Middle East collaborate to produce some fantastic artistic creations, including sculptures, paintings, videos and installations. Exhibited in the Akamas peninsula, just under an hour from Paphos, the dramatic natural beauty of this protected area makes for a stunning setting in itself.
Pafos, Garden of Tastes
This gastronomic festival is one your taste buds will thank you for visiting – the delicious culmination of a series of culinary events. Springing up in sites all over Paphos, you can tuck into local delicacies, Mediterranean cuisine and irresistible ancient recipes from Greece, Turkey and the Middle East.
Inspired by the comedy of Aristophanes, see the House of Aion come alive in this multilingual production of Lysistrata. A Roman villa set in the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park and famed for its beautiful mosaics, it’s a stage the likes of which you won’t see again.
Symbolically performed by actors from divided cities such as Cyprus’ own Nicosia, this play is inspired by Euripides’ Ancient Greek drama, ‘Trojan Women’. Its message – that war and persecution continue, from the Trojan War to this very day. Presented at the Paphos Ancient Odeon, it’s a dramatic stage for a powerful production.
Mind Your Step
See the story of the city of Paphos come to life in a minutely choreographed display of dance, inspired by and set in Paphos’ urban central landscape.
Contemporary Dance Festival
Watch as Paphos Castle Square takes a modern turn, with performances by some of Europe’s principle dance companies.
1st July 2017
The historic harbour – dominated by Paphos Castle – has been the landing point for many of Cyprus’ ancient travellers. What better location then for the Pafos2017 pièce de résistance and World Travellers theme? This one-time event will see historic grandeur meet high-tech spectacle. Without too many spoilers, think fleets of boats, a fire in the sea, music and underwater surprises. Intrigued? Add to this 3D mapping of the castle, light shows and digital media displays. If you weren’t intrigued before, you certainly are now.
Balmy evenings in an open air cinema on the beach sound fabulous, don’t they? Don’t miss the annual See Fest. 2017’s theme is World Journeys, Travellers and Migrants. Look out for films shown in English or with English subtitles, recline on your sunlounger and don’t forget the popcorn!
There are over 300 events on throughout the year in and around Paphos. You don’t even have to plan to see them. The sites you’d normally visit will become a stage, and therein lies the magic. Look out for street performers, pop-up displays and seemingly impromptu spectacles with that irresistible touch of spontaneity.
Do you like a culture fix on holiday? If so then Cyprus could be the place for you.
Photographs by foto LARKO, Pafos.