The success of the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai can be gauged from the level of interest shown by locals and tourists from all over the world in finding out about the many hidden and unknown wonders of various countries through their respective pavilions.
One such country that has been wowing visitors since the Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors has been the small Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Nestled in the Opportunity District of the Expo 2020 Dubai, the Cyprus Pavilion is a nostalgic walk down memory lane for the Cypriots living in the UAE and also an eye-opener for the many tourists thronging to find out more about the picturesque island. Upon entering the pavilion, visitors are greeted by a hologram of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, who emerged from the sea off the west coast of the island according to legend. Staying true to the underlying theme of Expo 2020 Dubai, the Cyprus Pavilion brands the country as a land of opportunity, waiting to be explored. The pavilion does a good job of highlighting some of Cyprus' best assets. There are a series of holographic displays that focus on the country’s cuisine, from the famous Halloumi cheese — which has recently been formally recognised as being native to Cyprus by the EU's coveted 'Protected Designations of Origin register', to glyka tou koutaliou — the small, delicious, bite-size sugary-sweet preserves made from fruits and vegetables such as figs, cherries, watermelon peel and walnuts.
The pavilion has been branded under the tagline: 'At the center of where you want to be’, which pays homage to the naturally strategic geographical position of the island, placing it at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It is this global positioning of the island that makes it an emerging regional business hub for many reasons. These include its strong economy, attractive tax regime with the second lowest corporate tax in Europe, low cost of doing business and excellent infrastructure, all of which are big attractions. There are also interactive displays which highlight the island’s standing as an educational centre and business hub.
Cyprus has been on the path of many invading armies throughout its history, and each civilisation has left a mark on the culture and history of the island, turning the effect of centuries into an interesting and exotic amalgam that makes the island a uniquely memorable experience for all. This has been expertly captured in the pavilion with posters displaying some of its best-known archeological sites, such as Kolossi Castle, the ancient amphitheatres at Kourion and the House of Dionysus in Paphos. All these and more, emphasise the iconic history of Cyprus a stopping point for the Romans, Assyrians, Phoenicians and Ottomans, among others.
There are other examples such as ancient mosaics, sculptures and traditional vessels crafted from dried pumpkins, as well as lefkaritiko, which is a form of embroidery from the village of Lefkara, that has international acclaim, becoming a treasured craft of the country. Another item not to be missed is the phythkiotika — the wooden moulds that have been traditionally used to make perfectly rounded loaves of traditional Cypriot bread.