Limassol festivals of grapes and film – Cyprus culture, heritage and new!

Four weeks to go until the Limassol Wine Festival – the annual 11 day celebration inspired by the ancient cult of Dionysus, the Greek God of wine and pleasure, worshipped between 1,500 and 1,100 BC. The millennia have passed but Limassol remains the natural destination for all those dedicated to the imbibing of fine wine and cultivation of the god-like properties of the grape. Long recognised as the wine-making and trading centre of Cyprus, in 1987 the International Office of the Vine and Wine (O.I.V.) openly called for Limassol to be officially known as the “City of Vine and Wine”.

A record-breaking 1 in 7 visitors now come to Limassol throughout the entire year. From August through to September, around 450,000 visitors to the island are forecast to arrive, based on previous government survey figures. Not everybody, of course, will be still here on 31st August when the Festival, and the uncorking of local Krasohoria and Pitsilia region wines begin. But all is not lost! Those luxury lovers of the authentic and the immersive cultural experience – many of whom are sure to be staying at Londa Hotel – may yet get an early taste…

Visitors are welcome to celebrate the grape harvest

The annual Grapes Festival is to take place at Limassol’s Pissouri Square on Saturday the 5th of August. Co-organised by The Expatriates Association, the Community Council and the Nostos Dancing Association to celebrate the grape harvest, visitors are welcome to attend the evening festivities at Pissouri where the entire village will be dining together at trestle tables in the square.

Pissouri is the third largest village in Limassol, located 34 kms midway between Limassol and Paphos in the south west, and a 45 min drive from Londa Hotel. Dating back to the Byzantine era, the town is said to have derived its name from the word “pissa” meaning resin, a major product of the area during this period. The main agricultural product currently grown locally in the Pissouri valley is the “table” grape and the production of “sultana” raisins.

The Nostos Cultural Association, which was founded in 2000 with the aim of preserving the cultural heritage and making it more well known, has grown to more than 100 members and over 60 dancers. The wardrobe collection of the dance group features exact replicas of the traditional dress of Cyprus, each woven by loom and certified for authenticity by research experts of traditional Cypriot costumes and textiles.

The Festival of Traditional and Folk Dance, which is also held in early August at the Community Pissouri Amphitheatre has become the annual highlight in the cultural life of the traditional Pissouri Community.

Annual showcase of documentaries from across the globe

Visitors to the island actually have fantastic opportunities for cultural experiences throughout the entire year. Limassol presents a glittering wealth of traditional cultural art forms from classical Greek heritage as well as from around the world, including Russian ballet and Italian opera. But Limassol hasn’t forgotten the modern world, and also offers an abundance of contemporary music, art, photography and film, which often consider 21st century issues and mirror current concerns.

The Limassol International Documentary Festival, now into its 12th year, begins its annual showcase of documentaries from across the globe on the 1st August. Over 7 days, more than 20 documentary films will be premiered at the Evagoras Lanitis Centre located in Limassol’s Medieval Castle Area.

One of the key aims of the Festival is to provide an alternative viewpoint on current social concerns underlying subjects and values that influence the quality of contemporary life, both in a local and a global context. At the same time, it also hopes to encourage a creative dialogue for wider discussion. Issues covered by the documentaries include the “transparency or suppression of information” and the debate over “Human Vs Machine”. As well as the film screenings there will be Q & A sessions with the hosted filmmakers, discussion workshops, live music and DJ sets.

Food for thought indeed! The processes of the mind are often aided in reaching their conclusions by a fine glass of wine or two. It’s an island tradition that ensures all can experience the mythic aesthetic pleasures, which continue to enrich Limassol art and culture over the millennia.

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