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Insider: Michalis Georgiou

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Insider: Michalis Georgiou

“Cypriots have some of the most complex and rarest DNA codes on the planet”

Michalis Georgiou is a Cypriot architect who has designed one of the most exciting pieces of contemporary architecture in Cyprus, the Apostle Peter and St. Helen the Martyr Chapel. The miniature sanctuary, which occupies only 60 square metres, is located in the coastal town of Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How did the idea of the Apostle Peter and St. Helen the Martyr Chapel project start, and why was Paphos chosen as its location?

The project was a tribute to a beloved person who has passed away, and a private donation to the Church of Cyprus. We were commissioned by someone who comes from Paphos, and the chapel was built on the same plot of land where his house is located.

What do you love most about Cyprus?

It’s a safe place with fabulous weather, authentic Mediterranean food and rare natural beauty. Cyprus’ long history has shaped its rich and diverse architectural heritage. One can immediately sense this unique imprint by strolling down the alleys of the historic urban centres.

How would you characterise Cypriots as a people?

Interestingly enough, Cypriots have some of the most complex and rarest DNA codes on the planet. That’s simply because of our geopolitical location, which has historically attracted many suitors. Nevertheless, we have survived, remaining very friendly and hospitable!

What should visitors to Cyprus be sure to do?

Definitely NOT try to tick the boxes! Make sure that you enjoy the lovely weather, food, sun and sea. You are on a holiday after all! Try to blend in! Renting a car wouldn’t be a bad idea. An open-air evening concert at the Kourion ancient amphitheatre is a MUST. An evening swim at a beach can be very rewarding.

What are your favourite places in Cyprus?

The Akamas Peninsula with its small villages and the Troodos mountain region.

Which villages/cities must one include in an itinerary in order to feel the cultural soul of Cyprus?

One can easily visit all four main cities (Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos) in a relatively short time. Latchi and Polis can be very interesting destinations in the summertime. I would specifically recommend the medieval village of Fikardou as well as Omodos and Lefkara villages.

What is the most unique tradition in Cyprus that is still alive today?

Wine-making has a long history in Cyprus, dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The tradition continued and thrived during medieval times with famous wines like Commandaria. Cypriot wine is re-emerging nowadays, with younger wineries and winemakers starting to invest in new and forgotten varieties. You could actually plan a very interesting route through the mountain region by visiting wineries.

What favourite restaurants/cafés would you recommend for the gourmet traveller in Cyprus?

Traditional meze and souvla (pork, chicken and lamb) are a must when visiting Cyprus. I would recommend the Viklari tavern in the Akamas area for souvla, the Mousikos tavern in Sotira village in the Famagusta district and also Pangratios in Miliou village in the Paphos district for meze. There are plenty of modern healthy eateries in Nicosia. For a traditional Cypriot lunch, I would suggest Siantris in the old city of Nicosia. You can enjoy a nice sunset cocktail at the Oneiro Café in Coral Bay by Paphos.

Which places would be better to avoid as tourist traps when travelling around Cyprus?

There are many places dedicated to tourists, because we are a tourist destination. We even have entire areas labelled as tourist areas! In urban centres, make sure you stay where the locals are – you can't go wrong in a place full of locals. Away from the main centres, things are much more relaxed and everyone kind of blends together.

What is the biggest stereotype about Cyprus, and is true or not?

I believe that someone visiting Cyprus expects a holiday destination primarily offering the sun and sea. While this can be entirely true and very relaxing, those who wish to search beyond stand a very good chance of discovering the real island of Aphrodite.

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