Driven by a real passion for Cyprus and fuelled by a love for its history and culture, Anna describes herself as “a stubborn archaeologist and art historian.” But the wider public are well aware that her talents go far beyond the official titles of ‘archaeologist’ and ‘art historian’, also possessing the kind of undisputed charisma that makes people stand back and listen; especially when addressing a crowd to talk about the topics that both inspire and drive her lifelong work, whether that’s trying to make Cypriots understand and appreciate their real history, or shedding light on the beauty and value of their monuments and their bonds to both the East and the West.
A ‘cultural activist’ at heart, she is also a self-professed lover of writing, researching, travelling and “dreaming”. And it’s certainly no small feat that she has come very close to becoming Nicosia Mayor more than once. That’s not to mention various publications that bear her name, exhibitions that she has curated, and museums that she has helped to set up. Born in Nicosia, raised in Famagusta, inspired by Limassol, and provoked by Paphos, she is a passionate lover of her country’s myths, history and its landscape throughout the centuries.
“I hope I was a good mother of two, but I am sure that I am a super yiayia (grandmother) of another two, a dog owner, a good swimmer and an avid reader,” Anna lets on. She also makes it known that she is a fervent follower of Epicurus: “Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance”. Her new website, named ‘Historic Cyprus’ aims to give all-rounded insight into the island and its importance in the Eastern Mediterranean world, as well as the “story of its courageous people” as Anna dutifully points out.
My Cyprus Insider asks her ten questions about her life on the island…read on!
1. Three things you most love about Cyprus…
The people, the landscape, the history…and how these three factors mingle and co-exist naturally and bring out the real character of the island, as the crossroad between East and West.
2. Most beloved spot on the island?
I love the Karpas because it’s the essence of Cyprus, what Cyprus is all about; a persistence of land, people and nature; a deeply rooted determination found not only in the people, but also in the landscape. Karpas offers amazing seas, coves, caves, lush forests, ancient monuments, byzantine and medieval. It’s a world on its own.
3. Favourite town?
Difficult question; Nicosia is reality, Famagusta is a dream come true, and Limassol is “the art of living”. Nicosia gives me reasons for living and fighting, as I am a lover of the old city. I know its turbulent history, its atmosphere, the light, the narrow alleys, the monuments….Famagusta and her splendours give me perspectives in life, planning ahead, thinking of a reunited country, and last but not least, Limassol shows everyone how one should live a real fulfilling life!!!
4. Best memory?
My childhood along Famagusta beach! It is not a memory; it’s a vivid story of a life, a family, a land.
5. From sunsrise to sunset, what’s your perfect weekend break?
A breath of Cypriot landscape, away from everyday; there is so much to see, be it the sea, mountains, a remote village, a church or a nature trail….A weekend that offers perspectives, deep breaths of fresh air, scents of the forest, walks with the dogs, laughs, good food with friends and family.
6. A day at the beach or mountains?
I am a July lady…the sea is where I am at peace of mind and heart, but my favourite beach is a well-kept secret!
7. Favourite place to eat?
Real Cypriot food is a blessing and not easy to find anymore; but you can still get it in the Limassol wine villages. Try Marinos or Ariadne in Vasa Koilaniou, try the souvlaki of Fettas at Eros square in Paphos, try the 7 St George’s in Yeroskipou, try Omorphos tavern in Kato Moni; it’s real food. In my neighbourhood of Ayios Andreas in Nicosia, Lambros souvlaki is my favourite hide out!!!
8. Favourite place for a drink on the island?
My terrace at home…reading, gazing, dreaming, planning…with a cold KEO beer, or a stunning Zambartas rosé!
9. If you were to recommend a visitor tries just one local dish, what would it be?
A really good kleftiko! (slow cooked lamb).
10. Best season in Cyprus?
Definitely spring! I love walking my dogs in the forests, where the air is different; I love the Pentadactylos range and its castles, the history and the romance; Easter is usually during springtime and that’s where Cypriots really bring out their real bond to tradition!