Members of Europa Nostra enjoy tour of the rich cultural and natural heritage of Cyprus

In late October, members of Europa Nostra enjoyed a tour of the rich cultural and natural heritage of Cyprus in perfect warm weather. The participants reflected on centuries of civilisation visiting Greek temples, Roman mosaics, Byzantine churches, Crusader castles, Venetian fortifications and Ottoman houses. The tour was inspired by Europa Nostra’s Vice-President, Mrs Androula Vassiliou, who had given guidance on the programme, arranged some special visits and speakers, and invited the members to her summer house at Governor’s Beach on National Day for a delightful lunch.

Members on the tour hosted by Sofia Vassiliou at Governor’s Beach’ close to the village of Pentakomo. Credits: Claudia Steinfels


The tour started in the capital, Nicosia. Dr Rita Severis engaged members with the treasures of the Centre of Visual Arts and Research (CVAR), charting the history of the island through the 18th to 20th centuries. The Centre, created and managed by the Severis Foundation, received a Grand Prix of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 2017. The participants also admired the collection of the late Leto and Costakis Severis, parents of Europa Nostra member Denis Severis and his wife Minouche, who were in situ and enriched the tour with their deep knowledge and love of the island.

The members also appreciated an exclusive evening tour of the Leventis Gallery followed by dinner given by the Director, Dr Loukia Hadjigavriel, with members of the Board present. In each case the participants were given an eloquent explanation of the origins and aims of these important and wealthy foundations locally, nationally and beyond.

There was a day’s excursion to the wooded foothills of the Troodos Mountains, visiting Byzantine churches and enchanting villages. The restoration of the old village of Fikardou received an Europa Nostra Award in 1987. Another day’s excursion brought us to the Turkish side of Cyprus, to the historic fortified port city of Famagusta.

Members visiting the site of ancient Kourion. Credits: Joanna Worsley


The last two days of the tour were spent in the Hellenistic capital of Paphos, mythical birthplace of Aphrodite.

This trip under the signum of Europa Nostra was a further broadening of horizons in every respect“, as one participant commented.

The next tour for Europa Nostra members will be dedicated to ‘Spanish Royal & Private Heritage’, from 1-6 October 2024, with exclusive private visits arranged by Sofia Barroso, known to many members. For more information about the upcoming tour, please contact Fernanda Verdon-Roe,


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