Accepted Papers:

Representations of 'Aphrodite' in the margins of Europe: mapping the ancient Goddess on the cultural map of Cyprus  


Nicoletta Paphitou (Bristol University)

Paper Short Abstract:

I examine the ideologies and practices involved in the promotion of cultural tourism in Cyprus.

Paper long abstract:

The authorities in Cyprus desire to promote Cyprus as a cultural destination, even though the tourists who visit the island seem to be more interested in sun and sea. For this purpose they promote Cyprus' classical antiquity, superimposing the myth of the ancient Goddess on the contemporary Cypriot landscape. My paper examines this phenomenon. I pay special attention to the ideologies and practices involved in the promotion of cultural tourism in Cyprus, and in particular, to the use of the culture and symbolism associated with Goddess Aphrodite, who, according to the Cypriot narrative is presented as having been born in Cyprus.

I will discuss whether the recent focus on Aphrodite as a particularly 'Cypriot' Goddess, as opposed to the previous emphasis on Aphrodite as a 'Greek' Goddess, is related to the construction of the island's identity and its ambiguities. Does the Cypriot identity of Aphrodite override the uninterrupted continuity with the Greek Past? Or Aphrodite's Cypriot-ness is merely a selling point in advertisement campaigns? I will address the above questions ethnographically, based on long-term fieldwork among tourists and tourism professionals in Cyprus, paying special attention on the use of the past, and its remains, in the construction of a new model of cultural heritage.

panel P19
Ruins: perception, reception and reality