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In at the deep end of light water March 30, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus.
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In Cyprus four Paphos-based British artists exhibit works that centre around the theme of water.

The state of art today is such that it can now be created by amateurs with virtually no study, preparation or training. In galleries and exhibition spaces, the amateur aesthete can now compete on equal terms with the masters.

Paphos, in particular, has experienced a full-on amateur take over and with so many new artists now resident there all busy making so much art in so many different ways, no one can possibly make sense of it all. It seems every village has its own art gallery, though few, if any, display much in the way of art that you could stand to look at for long, nothing displayed is made to sustain you, and rarely are you seduced with work that is turbulent, elusive, bold, exhilarating or recklessly new. This is indeed the land of the bland.

The latest exhibition to hit the Paphos scene is a collection of art that will hopefully draw a clear line between the professional and amateur status. A Paphos-based British quartet have recently created a form of watery symbiosis, as artists Keith Walker, Mary Lynne Stadler, Raymond Wilson and Elizabeth Walker launch an exhibition that takes the theme of water and light. Water has no colour of its own so provides the chance for these artists to express an interesting range of emotions. Also water has no form so it’s a technical challenge to describe a convincing physical depth, there’s no gravity, which makes for unique underwater poses by the models just because of their weightlessness.

Retired art teacher Keith Walker was the one who set things in motion when, in 2007, he was loaned an underwater digital camera, making it possible for him to at long last capture the play of sunlight through seawater onto the human body. He then translated these underwater photographic images onto canvas, superimposing layers of thin glazes using a mix of acrylic and oils. His work does indeed evoke the wonderful, ever changing dappled sunlight as it swirls and ripples across the surface of the sea onto the contours of submerged swimmers. At the same time he manages to reflect the wonderful feeling of utter weightlessness experienced by the human form when immersed in our clear blue waters. “I had been trying for years to capture this imagery on camera but it’s only since I acquired a digital camera I was able to freeze that moment and get that wonderful balance of pattern, light and shadow and then use paint to recreate my own visual interpretation,” he said.

Raymond and Elizabeth Walker also acted as the underwater photographic models, and it is Raymond’s paintings and interpretations of life under the surface of the water which may prove to be the most unusual, with his work hopefully leaving a lingering thought or two when you exit the venue. He consistently uses a more narrative feel, visual short stories with an underlying psychological tension and the odd hint of psycho sexual nightmares.

Elizabeth uses the medium of photography and the images look eerily akin to a series of preliminary Henry Moore sketches, and I would strongly urge any innovative owners of a night club or cafe bar to swiftly snap up her evocative images then blow them up to use as stunning pieces of photographic wall art.

Mary Lynne Stadler is a talented lithographer and painter. Here she delves deep into a sort of mythological sea world, her vibrant palette fairly pushing the idea that underneath those sun-kissed waves lays a glorious, secret fantasy world.

Those trotting down to the Kyklos Gallery won’t be overly confused, won’t feel stupid, or intimidated by the art on show, it’s as honest as it can be and the four artists presenting their work genuinely believe in what they are doing. After all, who really knows what is or not serious art, what will or will not be taken seriously one day.

Light Water > Exhibition by four artists Keith Walker, Mary Lynne Stadler, Raymond Wilson and Elizabeth Walker. April 5 to 18. Kyklos Gallery, 6 Minoos Street, Kato Paphos, tel 26 936 681. 10am-1pm 4pm-7pm. Closed Saturday pm and Sunday. 


Yours sincerely March 30, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus.
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An exhibition of works of art collected by one of the island’s banks over the last 25 years goes on show in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Laiki Marfin Bank has spent the last 25 years collecting works of art, a selection of which has been included in “Yours Sincerely”, an exhibition opening this week. But there is so much on display, so many items, that you might say the exhibition doesn’t consist of paintings and sculptures, just things, or, in Foucault’s terms, objects.

Foucault used to say that a postmodern artist is one who does not like to be labelled, not even understood really. Once you know what to expect from him, he will change style, just to impress. These artists are secretive and their art is a secret. One of their principles, as Boulez stressed, is to represent what in art is usually only referred to, hidden, unnamed. Metaphors, for example, allegories, or symbols all point to something outside the canvas. In postmodern art there are no such things and there is not an outside.

That is not to say that the contemporary artist does not want to communicate: on the contrary, he wants to be just like the observer, and he wants the observer to be just like him. When the artist sets out to compose his work, he struggles to come to terms with his background, his education, he wants to be a virgin when it comes to inspiration and he does not like anyone to be able to name his predecessors. It is as if he is trading places with the audience and when he displays his work he wants to see the same puzzled eyes, the same effort in understanding, or, rather, shaping the object in front of him, just like a creator shapes his work.

Something has to be said, again, about the hosting of exhibitions at the Nicosia Municipal Art Centre. The spatial disposition is not great and the viewer sometimes struggles to separate one work of art from another. Brown sculptures, such as the interesting “Mother/Life cycle” by Angelos Makrides, are set against a brown background, in this case the polymorphic, Medusa-like painting “Roots” by Andreas Charalambides. Sculptures and objects are set in curious, not always efficient, ways although it must be said that many sculptors seem to have intended their work more as an “alto-rilievo” than as a 360° volume, Koumides’ “Folding Screen” is an example.

In general, it is not clear why certain works of art have been put next to one another. It is not chronological, nor chromatic, it has nothing to do with similar art tendencies nor with art schools.

In the first room, after the welcoming room with the candidly ironic “The canticle of the Muses” by Klitsa Antoniou, are many of Theodoulos Gregoriou’s creations. This artist shows a consistency in his calm inspiration that has not abandoned him through the years. His paintings look like sculptures and the sculptures are pure pictorial forms.

In the other rooms the works are all of a good level. A work by Umit Inatchi, certainly not one of his best, still sets the standard for the only true and valuable abstract, symbolic work on the island. I cannot stress enough how much Greek and Cypriot artists become original when they go back to their origins. Some of them believe that they need to be European to be modern, au contraire, I find that Yiannacouris’ “Archaic figures”, a work almost 30 years old now, is more modern, more accomplished than any attempt or wink at cosmopolitan modernity. The puzzling “Where is my head II” by Yioula Hadjigeorghiou sounds, and looks, like a practical joke, not a work of art. Instead, Yiannacouris’ double figures, hieratic, old but at the same time modern stand tall and can even display the pleasure of playing with materials, faking the veins of a piece of marble, hinting to the pleats of fabric.

Another good example is Charalambides’ “Roots”, scary as the Medusa’s head in Rubens’ famous portrait and narrative like a contemporary short story about the drowning of the past. I would like to conclude with the sarcasm in Angelos Makrides’ “White Conspirators” because sarcasm is such an important trait in contemporary art, and something, along with irony, especially self-irony, so absent in Greek-Cypriot art. It is a circular sculpture of black and white pigeon-like objects, the black ones encompassing the white ones. Solitary, outside the circle, an object with wings, the only one with wings, observes the scene. The artist and the observer finally meet and they are one and the same.

Yours Sincerely > Selections from the Marfin Laiki Bank Art Collection. Until April 20. Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Old Power House, 19 Apostolou Varnava Street, Nicosia. Wednesday-Saturday 10am-3pm and 5pm-11pm. Sunday 10am-4pm. For information call 22 7974000.

A waxworks exhibition comes to Nicosia’s Ledra Street March 21, 2008

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An exhibition featuring 50 wax and silicone figures was yesterday opened by Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou at the Municipal Information Centre at the bottom of Ledra Street.

Named ‘Ledras’, it hosts life-sized figures by renowned Russian artist Alexey Chuzhov that portray among others names from ancient Greek Mythology such as Hercules and Socrates, cartoon heroes, characters from the world of cinema such as Captain Sparrow, Shrek and Harry Potter as well as other well-known celebrities.

Mavrou described the exhibition as, “special and interesting,” adding that it will appeal to all age groups. “This is a cultural event which will give locals and visitors alike the opportunity to see what many have experienced already throughout Europe. The artist has managed to give life to his creations in an amazing way.”

Speaking to the press, Chuzhov, who has 20 year experience of working with wax, said that it takes between six months and a year to create one figure. “It is human tradition to make figures from wax, which often bear an amazing resemblance to their real-life subjects,” he said.

According to a Municipality press release, “the art of wax portraits in Europe has existed for centuries. Thanks to its qualities, wax was used by the ancients as a substance which connected the world of living beings and the world of the dead.”

Ancient Greeks made portrayals of the gods for performing vows and religious ceremonies. They also made wax dolls for children’s entertainment. In ancient Rome, wax masks of dead noble Romans were stored with great honour and were used in religious celebrations. When Christianity became the main religion in Europe, wax portrayals of noble persons were dedicated to the church and were stored in cathedrals. Many sculptors, such as Michelangelo, before working with marble made their masterpieces out of wax.

“Russian masters have worked out a unique technology of making wax which allows demonstrating wax figures in a wide range of temperatures from -40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees. This wax doesn’t shine and perfectly imitates human skin,” said Rena Fotsiou of Nicosia Municipality. “Masters of the Museum of Wax Figures in Saint Petersburg use high-quality prosthetic appliances of eyes, teeth and real hair in their work.”

Four years ago, the masters began to make figures out of silicone, which they say is much more solid and stable. Previously, only visible parts of the body were made of silicone but it is now possible to make full-length nude figures. Silicone allows for the demonstration of figures in the open air, in any weather conditions. “They are used for advertising, photography and even to decorate a modern interior,” explained Fotsiou.

Chuzhov’s exhibits have been presented all over Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Serbia, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine
The ‘Ledras’ exhibition will run until September 21, with entrance costing one to five euros. During its duration, it will be open from 10am to 5pm including weekends.

My animal and other families > an exhibition March 16, 2008

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My Animal and Other Families > an exhibition about relationships and honesty > communication cartoon style

My Animal and Other Families, the latest exhibition by talented young artist Nina Sumarac offers a combination of visual stimulation with an honest exploration of self-image and human intercourse and relationships.

The exhibition comprises mostly portraits and figurative paintings. The artist used oil paints for half of the paintings, while the rest were developed using mixed media, creating work that combines drawings, pastels, collage and scattered words.

My Animal and Other Families will be opened on March 18 by Mirco V. Jelic, Ambassador of Serbia and Dr Nadia Anaxagorou, Director of Cultural Services, Limassol Municipality at Rouan Gallery, 28 Dodekanisou Street, Limassol, Cyprus. The exhibition will stay open until March 30.

Exploring love in dance in Aphrodite’s loveland, Cyprus March 15, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus, Ballet Dance Opera.
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The 8th Annual Contemporary Dance Platform > Mid-March marks the beginning of the dance season with the Annual Contemporary Dance Platform taking place at the Rialto Theatre in Limassol, Cyprus.

Three evenings, March 14, 15, and 16 will serve to showcase new works from local choreographers. In the eight years that the platform has been taking place it has gained respectability and stature in the local community and every year the organisers add a new feature. This year, the regular programme will be accompanied by a new programme entitled “Dance Throughout the Year” offered at the new Dance House Lemesos, allowing foreign festival presenters that visit a glimpse in to works that are created during the entire year.

The first evening will open with a performance by Dance Theater Interact with choreography by Victoria Fillipou Aristidou entitled “About Us”. The work is performed by three women Marina Kyriakidou, Arianna Marcoulidou, and Fillipou. Each woman is consumed by a different prop representing different stages and preoccupations in women’s lives. The piece is accompanied by a video created by Michalis Aristidou and Markos Panayiotou.

Milena Ugren Koulas’ new work “Nothing” for Jeunesses Musicales carries her signature choreographic style, however this solo has a slightly different air. She explains that the solo was a result of her boredom with herself, with having nothing to say, being emotionally and choreographically consumed and exhausted. In result the work is based on a simple ideal – a few effective motifs, linear floor and movement patterns. An exposed, vulnerable performer with a refreshing honesty, Ugren shows a bird-like delicacy and subdued aggression.

Showing work for the first time at the Platform is Aelion Dance Company with choreography by Alexia and Fotini Perdikaki and Maria Mavromichali. “21 minutes” is a work about relationships between genders and different understandings that may occur. Set on six dancers, the three choreographers and Marianna Dimou, Fani Efthymiou, and Suzanna Fialla, the piece is stylised, subtle, and feminine. It is a carefully choreographed dance that holds somatic expression at its core, intermixed with clever moments of theatrical installations.

The second evening of the festival will open at the Dance House Lemesos with two works. Milena Ugren Koulas will show “While Walking” at 18:30, followed by “Heart Time” a work by Lia Haraki and Machi Demetriou Lindahl. Ugren premiered the piece last year at the Platform as a trio and has reworked it into a solo that she has performed at a number of European festivals. Haraki and Lindahl showed their work at the Dance House in November as the first official performance in the space. It is a wonderful alternative dance theatre work exploring different ideas and shapes of love in moving, funny and poignant ways.

Four companies will present work at the Rialto on the Saturday night, starting with Evie Demetriou’s work “Give Me Not” for Omada En Drasei. The duet between the choreographer and Victoria Fillipou Aristidou focuses on the emotional impositions present in a relationship. This is literally represented by props, which form a pile that is passed between the dancers or placed on each other, which in turn forms an obstruction for them and on them. The partnering begins with a gestural conversation that develops into physical partnering that involves manipulations, lifts and throws, falling and sliding.

Echo Arts will present choreography by Arianna Economou “If Not for You” for four performers. Performed by a mixture of trained dancers and non-dancers the work is an exploration of sound, spoken word and movement with text written by Pantelis Georgiou for the particular performance. As usual Economou’s work will involve a multi-disciplinary approach based on improvisation and experimental choreographic methods.

After last year’s absence, Chorotheatro Amfidromo will show a new work “So Close, So Far” by Elena Christodoulidou. Judging from her description of the piece, the work explores a loss of memory in a person and its affect on the ageing mind and body.

Closing the evening will be Elena Antoniou, a performer we’ve been watching for many years, but this year’s offering is her first as choreographer. Her work “This is what you Get” created in collaboration with Polys Peslikas serving as an artistic advisor, is an everyday love story – a meeting, development of a relationship, and its possible failure. The work combines dance with theatrical installation moments, introducing “other” characters with props and lights. A great selection of music accompanies the solo allowing Antoniou to vary technical dance movement with stylised social dancing and her great ability as a theatrical performer.

The last evening will also begin at Dance House with a short dance video “The Only On(c)e” by Christodoulos Christodoulou at 19:00, followed by a new solo “Body Memory 1. Angel” by Machi Demetriou Lindahl.

At 20:30 the last evening of the platform will begin with a performance by Chorotheatro Omada Pente with “Threefold” by Roula Kleovolou. Set on three dancers – Chloi Melidou, Arianna Marcoulides, and Milena Ugren Koulas – the piece seeks to explore the ideas of borders. Borders are interpreted literally and metaphorically, by props, lights, movement, choreographic patterns and the spoken word. Kleovoulou’s work is straightforward, simple and effective which allows her to convey her emotional and psychological ideas.

Alexandra Waierstall’s new work “Terminus” will follow. It is the final installment in the trilogy of works entitled “A Human Study”, which began with a solo “Affect” shown at the platform two years ago, then followed by a duet “Between” presented last year. Waierstall’s has found a clear choreographic voice in the last few years beginning with “Affect” so it will be interesting to see how this piece with the magnificent Evangelia Randou, Christos Papadopoulos, and the choreographer herself will develop from the previous works. As a continuation of the duet “Between”, this piece will show an opposition to the calmness and quiet tension shown there by introducing a clash between characters.

The evening will finish with works by Athena Christodoulou for Soma Dance Company and Elena Kyprianou, a first time presenter at the Platform, for En Choro. Both women will present solos. “Utopia” combines dance performance with a video installation. In her solo Christodoulou examines ideas of performance, exposing oneself as an artist and a person whilst trying to hold on to the magic of creativity and performance.

The platform is a good opportunity to see how contemporary dance in Cyprus is developing. It offers an overview of the choreographic and performance level available in Cyprus. Most pieces premier at the platform and continue to grow and improve in the following performances.

An exhibition showing photographs by Christos Avraamides and drawings and video by Horst Waisterstall at the nearby Artstudio 55 will take place alongside performances. The platform is a popular event so make sure you book your tickets early.

Related Links > http://www.rialto.com.cy/

An Art Gallery without walls November 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus, Cyprus Nicosia.
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Ten artists from around the world gathered in a cloud of dust last week to create the second part of an International Sculpture Park

I could see white dust filling the air from the main road but thought nothing of it. However, approaching the park, the scene was quite breathtaking. A woodland slope was host to a group of ten dust-coated artists, each working on individual pieces of limestone. Over two weeks they had been carving sculptures as part of the second International Sculpture Symposium held in Ayia Varvara.

These ten sculptures were unveiled last week and have taken their places alongside ten existing sculptures at the International Sculpture Park, that were created during a similar event last year. Despite being on a hillside outside Nicosia, the park is called ‘international’ due to the participation of overseas artists, from as far afield as Cuba and Argentina.

“The International Sculpture Symposium is an EU-funded programme that helps Europe’s regions form partnerships to work together on common projects,” said Christos Lanitis, one of the artists and a member of the Friends of Fine Arts Association, which first realised the dream of a park. “By sharing knowledge and experience, these partnerships enable the regions involved to develop new solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges.”

Last year, the first symposium had sculptors from France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria, Georgia, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus working together to set up the first part of the park. “The association’s aim is to promote both Cypriot and foreign artists by organising exhibitions in Cyprus and abroad, and, of course, educating our members and the public about the arts in general and cultural and artistic events in particular,” said Christos. The Ayia Varvara Community Council donated the land, which, in addition to the sculptures, is home to eucalyptus trees and a small chapel of the Holy Cross that sits on top of the hill.

The scene from this year’s gathering was reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands, with clouds of dust surrounding each artist as they worked away on sculptures in the open air. Some were in overalls sans T-shirts due to the heat while others were covered from head to toe in clothing and masks. Tools were scattered around the area, and the atmosphere was cheerful despite the pressure to finish in time for the unveiling last Sunday. “Some of us have worked together on other symposiums,” said Nabi Basbus, from Lebanon. “But it’s such a nice time for all of us because we meet new people and live with them for 15 days, meanwhile doing what we love, so we’re one big, happy family.”

Although last year’s symposium did not have a theme, members of the Association decided to adopt the idea of having one from now on. “It was Christos Lanitis’ idea to focus this year’s sculptures on one theme, the sea, because he’s such a fan,” says Christiana Megalemou, PR spokesperson for the symposium. “The idea was to give all these people from different backgrounds a theme so they could elaborate and create something the way they understand and view it.” Although some of the artists’ English was on the poor side, it was clear that they were all happy to lend each other a helping hand whenever necessary, and, of course, the language of art was widely spoken.

The Friends of Fine Arts Association, a registered non-profit organisation, has big plans for this large stretch of hill. At present, however, describing the area as a park is a little misleading. There is little greenery and few facilities. “Nothing has happened yet apart from the roofed kiosk and seating area but our objective is to create a sculpture park with no admission fee, that way making it accessible to everyone,” said Christiana. “It has already become an educational destination for schoolchildren and college students, and we’re hoping that a cafeteria will also be operating for the community and the youth in particular.”

This is encouraging, but improvements to the site in the last year have been fewer than organisers had hoped. The reason is simple. “Lack of funds and sponsors,” said Christiana. “The younger generation might appreciate what we are trying to do here, but the truth is that a lot of people don’t understand or simply don’t see the point of it.” The EU funds 50 per cent of the costs involved, but the rest have to be covered by other sponsors and more need to be found.

The idea of a gallery without walls is intriguing enough but the fact that it also enables people to respond to these pieces of art, explore them and think about the sculpture in relation to the landscape, is a thrilling concept. However, the sad fact is that although people, regardless of race, creed and colour had gathered at this small village just outside of Nicosia to create a beautiful, creative recreational area, it’s a wonder if it will ever be fully appreciated.

The International Sculpture Park is situated in the village of Ayia Varvara, (Saint Barbara), Nicosia district, Cyprus.

Related Links > www.friendsoffinearts.org.cy

It’s in your hands > the Cyprus Euro November 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Cyprus, Business & Economy, Cyprus News.
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As of January next year, the euro will be the official currency in Cyprus. A new exhibition in Limassol hopes to answer any final questions

New Year’s resolutions may be slightly different this January. If a wealthy and prosperous 2008 is top of your list, make sure you envision the cash filling your wallets in euros. As the island enters the euro zone on January 1 2008, you will have to say goodbye to those National symbols that have graced Cyprus’ notes for so many years. As Cyprus adopts the euro, the Cyprus pound will be completely withdrawn from circulation within a one-month period.

The intensive campaign to inform the public about the euro kicked off back in March with the slogan ‘The Successful Adoption of the Euro is in Your Hands’. It marked the beginning of a one million pound campaign that even included a special white and yellow euro bus travelling to the more remote villages encouraging the public to become less sceptical, and more at ease with the idea of the euro. Dual prices are now displayed in shops, and you can’t miss the newspaper and magazine adverts displaying blue hearts emblazoned with the euro symbol.

But most Cypriots don’t change their habits easily, and there are still many that are a bit bewildered by the ins and outs of the euro adoption. To come to their aid, an exhibition has opened at the Lanitis Centre in Limassol, focusing on the euro and providing plenty of information on what the implementation of this new currency will involve.

With six different theme rooms, you can find out about the various Cyprus euro coins that we will soon be using, learn about the history and the benefits of the euro, and hopefully find answers to important queries that may still be puzzling you. Organisers explain that the point of the exhibition is to illustrate the importance of the euro in daily life, as well as the benefits involved when it comes to exchange, travel and investments abroad.

The euro was first launched in January 1999 as an electronic currency, but attempts to create a single currency went back 20 years prior to that because of the economic crises of the 1970s. In January 2002, the euro became a reality for 12 countries of the EU and is now a part of daily life for 315 million Europeans living in the euro area. As Cyprus enters the euro zone along with Malta, you may be wondering what exactly Cyprus’ notes and coins will look like?

The notes Cyprus will be using are identical to those currently used in the rest of Europe. It may be a little sad to think that Cypriots will no longer have notes unique to the country, but the point of identical designs is to represent the harmony of contemporary Europe.

Each euro banknote depicts a 20th Century European architectural design. The front of the notes depicts windows and gateways to symbolise European spirit, openness and cooperation. Unlike the notes, however, the euro coins will depict unique national designs on the one side. Interestingly, the symbol chosen for the new currency (€) is inspired by the Greek letter ‘epsilon’, the first letter of the word Europe. The two parallel lines indicate the euro’s stability.

Go along to the Lanitis Centre and you will also be able to have a look at a photographic exhibition named ‘Cyprus-Europe’ which documents the relationship between the island and Europe from ancient times to the present day.

The Euro: Our Currency > An exhibition aiming to make the Cypriot public better aquainted with the euro. Opened October 26, 7pm, until November 5. Evagoras Lanitis Centre, Carob Mill, Limassol, tel 25 342123.

So what exactly happens on January 1 2008?

  • When the euro replaces the pound as the official currency of Cyprus on January 1, euro banknotes and coins will immediately be put into circulation. All bank account details that are normally denominated in pounds will automatically be denominated in euros
  • For a period of one month after the adoption of the euro, banknotes and coins in Cyprus pounds will circulate in parallel with the euro and will be accepted for payments in all shops and enterprises, but any change will be given in euros. From February 2007, cash in Cyprus pounds will cease to be legal tender and will not be accepted for payments
  • Withdrawals from bank accounts will only be in euros
  • ATMs will only issue euros
  • All non-cash transactions, by means of cheque, card, etc, will be carried out in euros
  • Banks will exchange pound notes and coins for euros free of charge, up to a ceiling of Cy£1,000 per customer, until June 30 2008
  • Dual display (in pounds and euro) of the prices and services provided to consumers in all companies, shops, restaurants etc. is compulsory right up until September 2008. This means you will constantly be able to compare prices as you adjust to the new currency
  • National website for the euro > www.euro.cy Toll free telephone line for the euro is 8000 2008.