The island’s capital will never leave you without ample entertainment. Buzzing cafes and bars give way to colourful boutiques and top class eateries, while history calls out to greet every visitor just about every step of the way. But if gazing at inspirational artwork is your idea of the perfect day, there are a few great galleries, museums and art spaces set to really impress all fine art aficionados. So what are the My Cyprus Insider top three in the capital?
1. A.G Leventis Gallery
Make the A.G Leventis Gallery your first port of call, proudly displaying the works of legends including the likes of Monet, El Greco and Canaletto. Adding an invaluable touch to the cultural landscape of the island, this gem of a place has seen locals and visitors alike flocking through the doors of the streamlined modern building in order to catch a glimpse of some truly magnificent works of art.
Housing over 800 works in total, it plays home to the largest private collection of European Art on the island and stands as the culmination of the vision of the late Cypriot entrepreneur, Anastasios Leventis, who wished to establish a gallery in his homeland that would give crowds the chance to see the extensive private collection which he built up over his lifetime.
As art of the past is connected to the technology of the future, there are interactive digital labels and touch screens to give you a great experience as you tour the museum. Divided into three main collections, there is much to capture the imagination including The Paris Collection, The Cyprus Collection and the Greek Collection.
Where? 5 A. G. Leventis St. Tel: (+357) 22-668838. www.leventisgallery.org
2. Loukia & Michael Zampelas Art Museum
When it comes to showcases of inspiring artwork in the capital, the Zampelas Art Museum also deserves attention. Situated in the quaint old neighbourhood of Kaimakli, it’s worth spending some time walking around the area’s narrow lanes before setting foot in the modern building that combines tradition with innovation.
The establishment of this lovely museum came about following Loukia and Michael Zampela’s life-long love affair with art, supporting many upcoming and established talents over the years. Enter the space and you’ll come across a collection mainly comprised of Cypriot artists of the 20th and 21st century, including a small number of Greek artists from the 19th through to the 21st century. Step into the Zmart Gallery on the ground floor and there are paintings, sculptures and some modern mixed media to give you plenty to take in.
The permanent collection gives you the chance to experience a taste of European art movements of the 20th century, coupled with Cypriot trends and cultural highlights, as seen through the eyes of local artists. In addition to the permanent collection of works, you can also view some alternating temporary exhibitions, often giving the viewer great insight into today’s local art world on the island.
If you’d like to dabble in a spot of shopping, the Zmart shop boasts a lovely collection of collectable items inspired by the artworks found in the museum.
Where? 27 Arch. Makarios III Avenue, Kaimakli. Tel: (+357) 22-456098. www.zampelasart.com.cy
3. Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre
Housed within an old powerhouse and standing as a typical example of industrial architecture at the beginning of the 20th century, this is a great place to discover all things new in the contemporary Cypriot and foreign art scene, with regular exhibitions that often include a whole host of local talents exhibiting under varying themes. If you’re planning a trip to Cyprus, it’s well worth checking their website for updates on exactly what’s showing on the date you’re here.
Part of the ongoing aim of the centre is that of opening up new channels of artistic communication between Cyprus and abroad, encouraging partnerships between artists and introducing to the Cypriot public new tendencies and new ideas of the contemporary artistic creation internationally.
The Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre also houses the library of the History of Art, a specialized library that houses rare art publications, exhibition catalogues, specialized editions and a large variety of international art periodicals.
Where? 19 Palias Ilektrikis St, central Nicosia. Τel: (+357) 22-797400. www.nimac.org.cy
Cover photo: Paul Signac at A. G. Leventis Gallery