Cypriot Antiquities


Cyprus, the island of Aphrodite, with its rare natural beauty, is the easternmost island of the Mediterranean and the third largest island following Sicily and Sardinia. Early on the geographical location and the rich copper reserves turned Cyprus into a transit trade post between the Aegean and the Near East. The exchange of commodities and ideas, but also the fusion of different traditions, gave rise to a glorious civilization which, even though it adopted many elements of the East, succeeded in preserving its particularity throughout its age-old history .

The permanent exhibition displays 180 works. Through the exhibits various aspects of the ancient Cypriot life are highlighted, such as religion, art and commerce, whereas simultaneously the special character of the Cypriot culture and also the bonds forged with the Greek Civilization are attested. The exhibits which visitors will come upon include, among others, intricate prehistoric and Archaic vases, impressive figurines that served as votives, distinctive sculptures that manifest Greek influences and also representative bronze artefacts (five of which have been loaned by the Republic of Cyprus for the purposes of the exhibition).

The exhibition is accompanied by audiovisual material that facilitates the acquaintance of visitors with the natural environment of the island and its rich history, as evidenced by the excavation finds.

History of the Collection

The Collection of Cypriot Antiquities of the National Archaeological Museum was gradually formed from the 19th century onwards with artefacts purchased by the Archaeological Society (1879) and donations bequeathed by collectors (1880, 1895, 1897). Its enrichment continued in the early 20th century with acquisitions and donations as well as through an official exchange programme of antiquities (1928). Today, the Collection of Cypriot Antiquities of the National Archaeological Museum amounts to around 850 works that represent all time periods of Cypriot history and art, from the Early Bronze Age (circa 2500 BC) to the Roman Period (4th century AD).

The permanent exhibition of the Cypriot Antiquities of the National Archaeological Museum was inaugurated on March 18, 2009 by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Karolos Papoulias, and the president of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Dimitrios Christofias. The exhibition was financed by the A.G. Leventis Foundation and was implemented under the scientific supervision of Professor V. Karagiorgis, in collaboration with the National Archaeological Museum.

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