Digital Heritage Research Lab

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site to Represent Cyprus at TwinIT! Event

With its rich cultural heritage Cyprus has a treasure trove of sites, monuments and artifacts any one of which could have been selected to represent the island in the European Commission’s TwinIt! campaign, coordinated by Europeana. The TwinIT! initiative started on 21 June 2023 inviting all the Ministries of Culture of EU Member States to work with their national cultural institutions and submit one 3D digitised heritage asset to the common European data space for cultural heritage, to collect and showcase emblematic and high-quality samples of Europe’s cultural assets in 3D, while supporting Member States in their 3D digitisation and preservation efforts.

After considering the wealth of cultural heritage within Cyprus the Deputy Ministry of Culture, working with the UNESCO Chair Digital Cultural Heritage Lab at the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), selected the UNESCO listed Paphos Harbour Castle (Κάστρο της Πάφου) to represent Cyprus at TwinIT! The monument has been digitised as part of the ERA Chair on Digital Cultural Heritage MNEMOSYNE project at CUT.

Originally built in the Byzantine period to protect the harbour of Paphos, the monument seen today dates to the mid-13th has seen Frankish, Lusignan, Genoese, Venetian, Ottoman and British alterations reflecting the changes in governance of the island and the multicultural nature of modern Cyprus. The castle has withstood attack from sea, land and air and is seen as a symbol of resilience and continuity for Cypriots. Today the castle serves as a museum allowing visitors to better understand the complicated history of the island and its pivotal role within the history, culture and economics of the eastern Mediterranean regions. The monument plays host to the annual open air Paphos Aphrodite Festival of culture with theatre, ballet and operatic performances and highlights Cypriot culture and heritage through lectures, workshops, demonstrations and cuisine.

Although no longer under direct threat from invasion Paphos Castle faces new challenges in the 21st century. Cyprus lays within a geographic area at high risk from seismic activity, and the castle has suffered multiple earthquakes over its history and now faces damage from the increasing effects of climate change and other negative human pressures. These are concerns shared by Cyprus which is, after all, a small island.

If you are interested in seeing which other EU member states have submitted item to the campaign, and why, you can see the latest information on the TwinIT! webpage . The TwinIT! event will be held held on 14th May, in Brussels with an online exhibition planned for June 2024. The programme for the TwinIT! event can be found here

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