A lecture on Limassol
Curtain calls at CVAR and The Cyprus Institute
One of the most striking aspects of modern Cyprus is how the city of Limassol has expanded from a humble village of 150 people in the Ottoman period, to a sprawling modern metropolis of 240,000 where about 70 high-rise buildings have sprung up in the last five years.
As my time in Cyprus draws to a close, I am honored to have had the opportunity to present my research—on Limassol and otherwise—in two venues in Nicosia: The Cyprus Institute and the Centre for Visual Arts Research (CVAR).
“On storytelling across genres” at The Cyprus Institute
On the 9th of June, I spoke to an audience at the Graduate Student Club of The Cyprus Institute, my host institution over the course of the Fulbright grant. The Cyprus Institute is a research institution and graduate school that focuses on high-tech archaeology and scientific research. Work from their very specialized researchers are often featured in Mediterranean-staged documentaries, such as the 2020 National Geographic documentary, Buried Secrets of Keros.
My presentation focused on a description of my Fulbright research in Cyprus and my background as a writer as well as a discussion of the mission of the US Fulbright program.
Even though I’m neither archaeologist nor scientist, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have spoken with such researchers at the Institute.
“The City In-Between” at CVAR
On the 16th of June, I presented a section of my Fulbright research on Cypriot cities at the Centre for Visual Arts and Research (CVAR), operated by the Severis Foundation. The lecture was a work-in-progress titled, “The City In-Between: Competing visions for the image of Limassol,” and drew from my urban studies, historical, and journalistic research methods to provide a narrative collage of competing visions for what the transitional city of Limassol might become in the future.
Read the abstract of my talk below. You can learn more about the event at the CVAR website.
One of the possible origins for the name of the Cypriot city now known as Limassol is ανάμεσος, referring to the place as a city geographically “in-between” the more important urban centres of antiquity, Amathus and Kourion.
Ironically, the etymology of being “in-between” suits the status of Limassol today—a city caught in-between its past as a sleepy industrial port and a rapidly expanding, burgeoning modern metropolis whose impressive scale seems to emulate Dubai.
Amidst that transition, Limassol is a city whose form remains unsettled, whose idioms for expressing its status as a unique place are contested, torn somewhere between the scattered columns of the sanctuary of Amathus and the massive cruise ships anchored offshore. Out of this confusion have emerged several visions for what Limassol was, is, and will become.
This presentation, a work-in-progress deriving from my research sponsored by the US Fulbright Program, is an attempt to track the competing visions for Limassol. Using an urban studies approach that combines history, journalism, photography, and creative nonfiction, I will present a narrative collage of a city in-between, an approach I hope to apply to bicommunal issues in Nicosia and Famagusta.
It was a great honor to speak in front of quite a large crowd, and I am very grateful for the support of Dr. Christina Roditou and Dr. Rita Severis of CVAR, as well as my supervisor Dr. Nikolas Bakirtzis of The Cyprus Institute for the opportunity to speak at this wonderful museum and research center. The event was made possible with the support of the Active Citizens Fund.
I have much gratitude for the generous audience, made up of many people who I’ve met along the way this past year in Cyprus, whose constructive feedback will guide my research going forward.
This is the twenty-third post in The Cyprus Files, a limited-run newsletter series from The Usonian chronicling my Fulbright experiences in Cyprus. You can read all the posts in The Cyprus Files here. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss a (free) dispatch from the island of Aphrodite!