Shared sites and a desire for a nostalgic past in Cyprus
(University of Cologne )
Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses how the historical places of syncretism and hybridity have become legitimate devices in the nostalgic and romantic remembrance of a shared past in Cyprus.
Paper long abstract:
Cyprus presents a complex landscape of sacredness with its historical places of syncretism and hybridity. In search of miraculous healing, Christians and Muslims share the blessings of holy places and practices. However, after the division of the island in 1974, many Greek Orthodox sites that remained in the North and Muslim sites that remained in the South have become subjects of controversy and conflict regarding their preservation, restoration and conversion. More specifically, the multivocality of some holy sites provokes discussion over the identity and politics of these places. Yet, in some cases, these powerful symbolic sites have become legitimate devices in the nostalgic and romantic remembrance of a shared past. This paper discusses how some Greek Cypriots refer to the syncretic practices of Muslim and Orthodox Christians as an evidence of the peaceful coexistence and cooperation between the two communities. However, what is shared is usually imagined as Greek and Orthodox Christian; it does not necessarily connote to the acknowledgment of the existence of another cultural community in the island. This paper depends on an ethnographic study conducted in Cyprus between 2010-2012.
Ritual and the utopian past