Kourion Mosaics, archaeological sites, Halloumi and more mosaics ~ Day four of my Cypriot Adventure

Visiting the Kourion Archaeology site in Cyprus, with spectacular Roman mosaics, also a Halloumi Farm and contemporary mosaics in Limassol

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The Thursday was about heading to Limmasol, and visiting the Roman site of Kourion.  Like all of our trips away from Lefkara, we had to do a couple of stop offs en-route, and today’s detour was via a halloumi farm.

The delights of halloumi are many, great taste, unusual texture, pretty healthy, a great addition to the salad, and I have even found a cashew nut and halloumi curry recipe which is fantastic!  So we were all really pleased to get taken to meet the goats and sheep, whose milk is combined to make the halloumi, and to see the process of making it, and of course to taste…

Herding the Sheep
Herding the Sheep at the Halloumi Farm in Cyprus
Holding a Newborn
Holding a Newborn

The farm is one of the projects supported by the Martin of Grampian Heritage – trying to find ways of traditional agriculture entering the modern day, and here the problem is one of staffing.  They have more demand for their halloumi than they can manage, but struggle for staff in their rural location, and are caught in a position where they do not want to increase their herd size, then find they have no staff to milk.  A couple of the course participants mentioned the idea of woofers, individuals who would work for them in return for learning about the processes and enjoying Cypriot life – a hard concept to start with, but a model that was felt could be looked at to support the Halloumi Farm.

Whilst eating lunch, halloumi with tasty tomatoes and home made lemonade, I perused the varying artworks on the wall, and this caught my eye.  A mosaic of snail shells…

Mosaic Made of Snail Shells
Mosaic Made of Snail Shells

We then headed on into the centre of Limassol where we were to meet with the  Limassol Mosaic Collective. Originally started in 1981 as a wider group of contemporary mosaic artists, working individually and collaboratively, they now having to re-think their organisation and are closing their premises. The purpose of the visit was to show the group how mosaics can be used in a contemporary context, and it was useful to see their showcase pieces including a doorstep mosaic, a disabled sign on the toilet and a vespa.

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Upstairs they had a fantastic shop of tiles, and more tiles.  Not my cup of tea for my mosaics, being a recycle queen myself, but very tasty eye-candy anyway.  This is where Panayiota buys the materials for the classes. When they close, where will she go, or can I encourage her to give the recycling a go!?!

Then it was a quick visit to a bakery to pick up a carry out lunch, and on to Kourion, near Episkopi.

At this point, I should apologise for the photos.  It was blisteringly hot, and the sun was beating down, and whilst most of the mosaics were protected, under cover, it was so difficult to get images due to the shadow play.  I have done my best with the mosaic images. The heat was too much for some, and the site pretty big, so it was a bit of a mad dash around to see the best bits. We were there at about 3pm, and it must have been nearly 30°, if not more, and the site closed at 5pm, so one tip for the Department of Antiquities, have a longer lunch time and open later into the evening, so more visitors could enjoy the site in comfort.

The Roman ruins, with some impressive mosaics, date back to approximately the 4thcentury AD. And beyond mosaics, the rest of the archaeological site was of interest too! 

More-or-less the first mosaic you land on is the House of Eustolios with a large floor mosaic from the 5th Century.  The focal point of the central room of the baths features Ktisis (Creation) in a medallion holding an object thought to be a measure which is the length of a Roman foot.

Ktisis, or Creation, at the House of Eustolios
Ktisis, or Creation, at the House of Eustolios

The other three panels include a partridge motif, other birds and a fish.

One little bit of mosaic work that I spotted ~ a few years ago, I read a mosaic artist’s take on andemento, and the “correct” way to finish two lines going into together into a narrower space.  And seemingly so many people did it “wrong”.  Never one to follow the rules, I generally do it how it happens, if my materials allow it, how it looks.  And then I spotted this mosaic – the craftsperson on this job was doing it “wrong” too.

Andemento in Mosaic, Kourion
Andemento in Mosaic, Kourion

The whole site, beyond visiting the mosaics, was packed with the ruins of buildings, including pillars, clear indications of their heating systems, an amphitheatre, where Lucy did a good rendition of a scottish ballad, and arches, which made a great photographic back-drop. See below!

And how’s this for a hunk of a man?

House of Gladiators Mosaic Floor, Kourion
House of Gladiators Mosaic Floor, Kourion

Finally, and America’s Next Top Model moment, with Kirsty, Esther, Lucy and Judith (and me at the front)

kourion arch with us

This visit to Cyprus has been funded by Erasmus+, with ARCH Network as the promoter and Kato Drys Community Council as our hosts.  We were welcomed by Martin Clark, a resident of the town, who is also a partner in Arch Network, and is a Director of Grampus Heritage and training.

Author: inthegardenwithfriends

A mosaic artist located in Comrie

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