Introduction

OF THE PRESIDENT DR SOPHOCLES SOPHOCLEOUS

Sophocles Sophocleous

The Centre of Natural and Cultural Heritage celebrated its 10th anniversary on the 14th of December 2000 and its 20th anniversary on the 11th of December 2010 and completed in 2019 its 29th year of existence.

I am pleased to use our updated website to review our 29 years of service – a multi-dimensional service covering the areas of research and education in natural and cultural heritage studies; most specifically in the areas of archaeology, history of art, cultural heritage, museologoy, theory and practice of conservation-restoration, natural and cultural landscapes,  monuments of the Nature, the  traditional plants of Cyprus and their contemporary use, the centuries old trees, the aromatic herbs and much more. It also includes areas such as the digital management of the natural and cultural heritage of Cyprus in the framework of the pioneering project of EIKONOLOGION sponsored by TOTAL E&P CYPRUS. EIKONOLOGION constitutes the digital archives of the natural and cultural heritage of Cyprus, which is now open in the internet to the international academic community and the wide public.

Among CNCH areas of interest and action are also the restoration and conservation of Cyprus's cultural heritage, its study and enhancement through the creation of museums, the organisation of exhibitions and congresses, lectures and teaching of seminars, as well as by means of publications. Also programmes focusing on the recording and study of the natural heritage are being carried out, such as the FLORA CYPRIA - ΚΥΠΡΙΑΚΗ ΧΛΩΡΙΣ, which is the inventory of the main traditional plants of Cyprus and Mediterranean. This project has recently been supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, as well as by the ANASTASIOS G. LEVENTIS FOUNDATION. Our Centre promotes the use of the traditional plants for landscaping so that the physiognomy of the traditional Cypriot and Mediterranean landscape is not altered. In this respect a series of virtual realities have been elaborated by our multi-media collaborators showing how a Park of the Traditional Mediterranean Flora, entitled PARADEISOS, would appear.

Since 1990 Universities and post-graduate students, Research Centres, Municipalities and Communities, as well as the Church and the Government of Cyprus, NGOs and individuals, have collaborated with the Centre in various programmes and projects. Expert studies and consultancies have been carried out for several municipalities and communities of Cyprus. Various contributions were made for further development of the cultural tourism.

In 2014 our Centre acquired a conference room thanks to the generous grant of TOTAL E&P CYPRUS. In this way CNCH is organising now seminars and series of lectures every semester. The Centre accepts also students for internships they enable them to specialise in various areas of the studies on the natural and the cultural heritage.

Our principle is that the results of scientific research must not only be promoted to the academic community, but also to the wider public for the benefit of the society; and this in order to improve popular education, self-understanding and awareness for its national civilisation and ancestral bequeath in order to march in safe within the today’s phenomenon of universalisation that tends to destructure and even the national civilisations and languages all over the planet. Every national civilisation developed for millenia in its own geographic area is a jewel and a cultural beauty and richness to be preserved.

These 29 years of work and service were made possible rather through the support of private sponsors than of the Cypriot state or the Local Authorities. I make a particular mention of the role of the Anastasios G. Leventis Foundation and Total E&P Cyprus.

On this occasion I would like to express my deepest thanks to the Academic Associates and staff of the Centre, to the benefactors, donors and other supporters, who have made possible the achievements of our first 29 years. I would like to give everyone my best wishes for the future.