The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington orgnised the exhibition entitled “Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations” which was on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, between 29 September 2010 and 1 May 2011.
The aim of the exhibition was the promotion of Cyprus in the United States on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus. The exhibition was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Christofias, on 28 September 2011.
The exhibition covered the periods from the ancient times to the Venetian period and included archaeological artefacts, coins, maps, engravings and byzantine icons. For the organisation of the exhibition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperated with various ministries, organisations and the private sector. The Department of Antiquities, the Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Cyprus, the Pierides - Marfin Laiki Bank Museum, the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation, the Holy Bishopric of Morphou and the Thalassa Museum of the Municipality of Ayia Napa, all contributed to the exhibition with various artifacts. The curator of the exhibition was Mr. Sophocles Hadjisavvas, former Director of Cyprus Department of Antiquities.
A film related to the exhibits and the archeological sites and the churches from where they originate was shown at the exhibition. A luxury catalogue written by distinguished scientists, from Cyprus and abroad, has also been published, which included the items of the exhibition and articles about the various historical periods of Cyprus.
In parallel to the exhibition and aiming at a comprehensive presentation of the history and culture of Cyprus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Smithsonian Institution and other organisations and universities, organised a series of lectures, seminars and workshops from October 2010 to April 2011. Distinguished scientists from Cyprus, the United States and other countries delivered lectures on the history and archeology of Cyprus, the mythology and goddess Aphrodite, the food and wine of Cyprus from antiquity to date, the everyday life in prehistoric Cyprus and the domestication of animals, as well as a lecture on underwater archeology with emphasis on the excavation at the Mazotos Shipwreck in Cyprus. Furthermore, a two-day seminar entitled “Cyprus from Byzantium to the Renaissance” was organised in collaboration with the Dumbarton Oaks Museum. Papers were presented by a number of distinguished scientists from the U.S.A, the United Kingdom, Greece and Cyprus.
The exhibition was promoted in the U.S.A in various ways. It was advertised on Washington’s metro buses with posters of Aphrodite: Goddess of Cyprus and the title of the exhibition. The exhibition was also advertised in the goSmithsonian magazine and the Washington Flyer magazine (the magazine that is distributed to all passengers at the Washington airport), as well as at the National Public Radio (NPR). Also, numerous American media published articles related to the exhibition and the history of Cyprus.
The exhibition was of great success as more than three million visitors had the chance to be informed about Cyprus, its history and civilization.
To view the exhibition and related events click here.