Right in the centre of Larnaca, a historic building has been restored to its former glory and is set to introduce the general public to the wonderful handicrafts of the Larnaca region, even giving visitors the chance to watch artisans at work.
Located on Zinonos Kitieos shopping street (opposite the Pierides Museum) in a stunning 1800s building, known locally as the ‘Larnaca Club/Mattei House’, the new ‘Multicentre of Creativity and Culture’ is about to open its doors this spring.
The handsome building originally belonged to the affluent Italian merchant, Giacometto Mattei, and later housed the island’s first tennis club (under British Colonial Administration). As such, the main hall is dedicated to the rich and interesting history of the building itself, with the rooms leading on from the main hall representing the traditions of the wider Larnaca district.
The municipalities of Lefkara, Athienou and Livadia – which are all known for their unique and preserved handicrafts – each have their own room. While Lefkara lace, which dates back to Venetian times, is famous around the world, it is unbeknown to many that Athienou also has its own lace techniques known as Venis’ lace (or ‘pittotes’) and Athienou Lace (known as ‘oloplouma’), included on the UNESCO National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Livadia on the other hand is one of the few places on the island where a traditional form of basket making and weaving with cane and reeds is still practiced, and it’s the only place that still makes ‘psatharkes’ (traditionally used for roofing). The craft is included on the UNESCO National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
All photos: Larnaca Tourism Board
A fourth room is dedicated to the ‘Women’s Association of Rural Larnaka’ – a collective of women who continue to create and produce traditional delicacies and handicrafts – while the Cyprus Handicraft Service also has its own room exhibiting weaving on a loom.
Once you’ve had a good look around the space, you can enjoy a walk along the town’s Finikoudes promenade and visit the town’s famous Medieval Castle.
For more information about upcoming opening dates and times call Larnaka Tourism Board Tel.:+357 24657070.