Friday, April 4, 2014

Thalassa Sea Museum

The Thalassa Sea Museum (also known as the Thalassa Municipal Museum or the Agia Napa Municipal Museum) is located in the city of Ayia Napa, which is within the Famagusta district of Cyprus.

This the first type of museum for Cyprus with the sea theme, particularly the significance of the sea throughout the history of the island.  While situated in a modern building, the Thalassa Sea Museum has exhibits that span a vast chronological time fame, from the Neolithic period to present day.

This museum, which opened in August 2005, is directed by the Pierides Foundation, along with the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition and the Tornaritis-Pierides Marine Life Foundation.

On the second floor of the Thalassa Sea Museum, there's a video presentation regarding the history of Cyprus, as well as exhibits of fossils and taxidermy marine life.  Also, there's an art display of seascape paintings by 19th and 20th century Cypriot and Greek artists.

On the first floor, there are various exhibits featuring Cypriots antiquities, particularly sculptures and pottery, as well as a papyrella boat and the Kyrenia II ship.

The Kyrenia II ship is an exact life-size replica of the ancient ship of Kyrenia from the Classical period.  According to a sign at the Thalassa Sea Museum, "In 1967, while diving at a depth of 53 meters off the port of Kyrenia, Andreas Kariolou came upon a mound of amphorae, which revealed the most important ancient shipwreck of Greek Classical times ever to be discovered....  With some 75 percent of the timber of its hull preserved, it is the most complete ancient Greek ship known to have survived to our day....  The discovery of the Kyrenia Ship, which sunk around the year 302 BC, greatly enriched our knowledge of how, at the end of the Classical times and during the life of Alexander the Great and of his successors, merchant ships were built and how they sailed the Eastern Mediterranean.  Since 1973, the Kyrenia Ship has been in the Turkish occupied city of Kyrenia, displayed in a large hall of the Crusaders' Castle arranged as a museum."

The replica of the Kyrenia Ship was built in 1985 for scientific purposes.  According to another sign at the Thalassa Sea Museum, "In 1981, the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition, based in Athens, started a project of experimental archaeology aimed at researching how ships of the Greek Classical times were built and how they sailed the Greek seas.  The Kyrenia Ship was the ideal prototype....  Using the same shell-first method of construction as in antiquity, the same material and with often the same tools as those of the ancient shipwright, the Kyrenia II was built from 1982 to 1985 at Psaros Yard Perama, near Piraeus, Greece....  For over three years, the Kyrenia II sailed the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean under different weather conditions totaling some 2000 nautical miles of experimental voyages."   

The original Kyrenia ship, which is on display at Kyrenia Castle's Shipwreck Museum in Northern Cyprus, will be featured in a future blog post.

On the lower level, there's the Marine Life Museum (also known as the Tornaritis-Pierides Municipal Museum of Marine Life), which highlights Mediterranean marine life.  This natural history exhibit was originally featured at the Ayia Napa Town Hall in June 1992; however, it has been relocated as a part of the Thalassa Sea Museum.  Some of the exhibits include fossilized fish, shells, corals, as well as taxidermy sharks, fish, birds, turtles, and other marine life.  It's noted that all these exhibits were collected after their natural deaths.

The Thalassa Sea Museum is an intriguing and well-designed museum regarding Cyprus and its correlation to the Mediterranean Sea.  While exploring the city of Ayia Napa, this museum is a pleasant place to visit.

Site: Thalassa Sea Museum. 

Category: Museum. 

Location: Leoforos Kryou Nerou in the city of Ayia Napa, within the Famagusta district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 23816366. 

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Monday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesday to Saturday, and closed on Sunday, during the winter months.  9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Monday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesday to Saturday, and 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Sunday, during the summer months.

Entrance Fee: €3,00. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

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