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Protecting Local Heritage

Protecting Local Heritage Project (2016 - 2017)

Project Aims and Objectives

This two year project is funded by the European Union in collaboration with the Büyükkonuk Eco-Tourism Association and the Büyükkonuk Municipality.

The main overall objective is to protect intangible heritage such as Cypriot traditions, rituals, festive events, knowledge and skills associated with the production of traditional crafts and practices concerning nature.  The aim being to ensure knowledge and skills are passed down from one generation to the next.  This is so important for maintaining cultural diversity and also encourages a mutual respect for others way of life.  This leads way to social cohesion which gives a sense of identity and responsibility, and also helps individuals feel part of the community and society at large.

Project Objectives 

  • Establish a theatre and choir group (Büyükkonuk only)
  • Establish a folklore dance group for youths and women (Büyükkonuk only)
  • Establish an atelier for folklore traditional costume design and production (Büyükkonuk only)
  • Create a video documentary capturing intangible cultural heritage
  • Building capacities of youths and adults in traditional Cypriot crafts (Karpaz rural area)

Project Targets

  • Atleast 200 people have been informed about the project via stakeholder meetings
  • Atleast 450 people from the local community have participated in capacity building workshops
  • 200 people from the local community folklore, choir and theatre groups have performed at experience sharing events
  • 44 people have performed in a folklore competition in Europe sharing Cypriot culture and traditions with other European countries

Project Launch

On May 13th 2016, the project was launched to the Karpaz rural area in Büyükkonuk.  More than 200 people attended this event which was opened by the President of the Büyükkonuk Eco-Tourism Association Kıymet Alibey.  Kıymet explained about all the different free activities that would be open to the communities.  Representatives from the EU, Agustin Moya-Colorado and Müge Hürkal were in attendance and explained what a valuable opportunity has been given to learn new skills and socialise amongst the different communities.  The Community Mayor Ahmet Sennaroğlu reinforced the importance of passing these traditions down to our future generations.launch event photos 015 Small

People from the communities were invited to register for the different activities and were given more information about the workshops. Traditional food was provided and the local youth folklore dance group performed.  The children were invited to create colourful pictures about the nature and wildlife here in Cyprus.

It was an extremely successful and positive event, people left feeling excited about the prospect of attending the different workshops and the opportunity to learn something new.




Workshops Available

Sesta training in Yeni Erenköy 18.10.2016 050revised




Sesta - is a technique using wheat straw to make trays, bread baskets and other small items for the home and kitchen. They are colourfully decorated with traditional motives using purple, orange, green and red dyed stalks. The trays are very useful in the kitchen to carry bread to and from the oven, to hold fruit or just to decorate your walls. These can also be used to make an impromptu table on an overturned chair.


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Broom Making - Wild thyme is gathered to make the sweep part of the broom, for the handle a forked olive branch is cut. Next fresh şinya bark is used for binding the broom together. The thyme is first beaten with a wooden hammer to flatten it, then it is divided into two pieces.  The binding is then wound around the thyme to fasten it to the handle.


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Chair Weaving- Firstly the rush must be cut into thin strips. Then the rush is soaked so that it is easy to twist.   Several rushes are twisted together so they can be bound onto the frame.


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Cheese Baskets - These baskets are made with a reed found in marshy areas such as Güzelyurt and Girne.  The baskets are used when making traditional hellim cheese.  The cheese is pressed into the basket enabling the curds to solidify.


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Spinning and Weaving - Wooden spindles are used to spin wool fleece into yarn.  Using a small wooden tapestry frame students will learn to weave a small project such as shoulder bag using traditional Cypriot motifs.


Date Palm Baskets - Date palm leaves can be used to weave baskets.


Sewing Atolier (Büyükkonuk only) - Sewing machines will be purchased so the community can learn to make traditional folklore costumes made with handwoven materials.  These costumes will be showcased at the performance sharing events conducted throughout the project and at a folklore event held in Europe.  Hand sewing techniques will also be taught, using Cypriot motifs.


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English Classes - The main focus of this class to have fun and learn how to hold basic conversations in English.  Each week the teachers prepare engaging topics that are relevant and useful to help with students everyday lives and business needs.


Theatre class in Büyükkonuk 012resize




Theatre Class - In this class students will learn basic acting and voice control techniques. Lessons will progress to teach traditional Cypriot dialect, history customs and traditions.  The group will then perform in four performance sharing events over the next year with one final, grand performance at the Social Festival at the end of the project.





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Choir and Music - There are two choir groups one for youths and children the other for adults.  Similar to that of a "glee club" locals can come together to learn traditional Cypriot songs, in traditional Cypriot dialect.  The group will then perform in four performance sharing events over the next year with one final, grand performance at the Social Festival at the end of the project.  

New musical instruments have been purchased as part of this project.  This gives students an appreciation of the different traditional folklore instruments and a chance to try them.  The initial lessons are violin appreciation then the lesson will progress to flutes, large and small drums, the accordion and small percussion instruments.


Folkdance Three folkdance groups have been established, one for children, one for youths, and one for adult women.  Each of the groups will be taught the art of Cypriot folk dance and learn dances associated with the Cypriot culture. The groups will then perform in four performance sharing events over the next year with one final, grand performance at the Social Festival at the end of the project.


Nature and Eco-Tourism -These workshops for the most part will be taken outside with some classroom lectures.  Students will learn how to guide a nature walk, learn about local history, archeology, plants, wildlife and eco-tourism.  There will be lectures on bio-diversity, conservation and waste management.  There will be bird watching walks, identifying bird species, learning about migration, bird protection and nesting boxes.

2016 - 2017 Workshop Training Schedule

 Yearly Training Schedule Final

Listed above is the schedule for workshops over for the coming year.  Please note that this schedule is subject to change, if you are interested in attending any of the workshops please contact the project team.