Plans are under way for a rich and diverse opening ceremony on January 28 as Paphos has assumed the title of the European Capital of Culture 2017.
Hundreds of professionals from around the island, organised groups, volunteers, students and young children will take part. As part of the programme, Greek Cypriot and Turkish musicians and singers will join in as well as a jazz orchestra from Aarhus, the sister European capital of culture.
According to Christos Patsalides, president of Pafos 2017, the opening ceremony will also include a spectacle of lights and sound, while Greek singer Alkistis Protopsalti and other artists will have a central role in the ceremony.
“Paphos should get ready for a unique experience,” Patsalides announced on Thursday.
“Our goal is for all to celebrate with pride, optimism and joy the first time a city from Cyprus assumes the title of the European Capital of Culture,” he said, adding that altogether 152 projects and more than 350 activities have been planned, with the participation of more than 1,500 artists.
The opening ceremony, which was designed by a team of Cypriot artists and intellectuals in cooperation with the group Walk the Plank, starts at 7pm. It aims to illustrate the history, multiculturalism and contemporary culture of Paphos as an integral part of the broader European civilisation.
The event is inspired by the legend of Paphos and the narrative is centred on the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion was a mythical king of Cyprus and a creative sculptor. He carved an exquisite statue, Galatea, with whom he fell in love and when he kissed her she came to life. According to the legend, they had a child after their union was blessed by Aphrodite. They named the child Paphos, and the city where the mythical couple is said to have lived is named after the couple’s offspring.
As part of a joint action for the months of December and January, Paphos has invited people to write down their greetings, hopes and expectations for the future of Cyprus. The wishes will be stored in a glass jar and delivered to Patsalides.
More activities will take place during January 28 and 29, including exhibitions and music performances.
The president of Pafos 2017 said the organisation aims to leave as a legacy, for Paphos and Cyprus in general, the necessary infrastructure for a new approach in cultural activities beyond 2017.