A robotic telescope, interactive shows and an open-sky amphitheatre are among the tools to introduce us to the marvels of space

By Maria Eirini Liodi

The planetarium at Tamassos and Orinis, which was officially inaugurated on Saturday night, is the first of its kind in Cyprus and the biggest observatory to be found in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Boasting a series of cutting-edge technologies and interactive spaces, it is the newest pillar for astrotourism in Cyprus and a place for combining science education and entertainment. And, of course, it’s a must-visit venue for space lovers.

feature maria the ineractive points in the planetarium

The interactive points in the planetarium

With its Planetarium Dome ready to host interactive shows on an array of topics, a novel technological experience via the VR360 room, and a VR game simulator in its basement, the indoor space of the planetarium is filled with fascinating journeys into space.

And outside is one of the most modern robotic telescopes in Cyprus, while you can study and observe the sun and solar activities with its helioscope – an especially ripe opportunity for those interested in researching solar storms, which are in prevalence this year.

The planetarium also hosts a café, a restaurant, and an open-sky amphitheatre, making it an ideal place of community and connection, where families can spend a meaningful afternoon, academic institutes can host workshops, or local organisations can host cultural activities.

The aims of the planetarium are “to introduce people to the marvels and mysteries of science, be it adults, teens or children. It is open to all,” said the CEO Christos Triantafyllides.

By bridging the worlds of education and entertainment, through the ‘educatement’ approach, the Cyprus Planetarium has created fruitful grounds for multifaceted, interactive learning about space, showcasing how we can be entertained through education and be educated through entertainment.

There are plans to collaborate with the education ministry to cooperate with schools, providing Cypriot youth a place to “come in touch with their fantasy and the extraordinary”, said the Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos who provided the land for the planetarium.

feature maria

“Religion answers our whys, science shows us the how – this way they are not necessarily separate things,” the metropolitan said when asked why he did this.

In doing so, seeds are planted in the community by providing both educational and technological opportunities as advanced as those seen across many other European countries. This, he said, enables meaningful learning across many fields – astronomy, astrophysics, ecology, philosophy and beyond.

When setting the groundwork for the project, Metropolitan Isaiah, and businessman and academic, Viatzeslav Zarenkof – who paid for the project – envisioned a place that could launch significant scientific developments in Cyprus by putting it on the world map. They are doing this largely with the help of their scientific associates, the Interstellar Institute, which will aid the planetarium in collaborating with universities nationally and internationally, and the bigger international agencies such as ESA.

For the Cypriot scientific community, this focus will be profound, by providing the facilities as well as the know-how for research and innovation for young scientists.

Following the formal inauguration by President Nikos Christodoulides of the Cyprus Planetarium on June 3, the doors open to the public on June 4, followed by a community celebration on June 10. Mark your calendars and prepare for a journey to worlds beyond!

feature maria media representatives trying out some of the interactive outlets earlier this week

Media representatives trying out some of the interactive outlets earlier this week