In terms of culture, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have a lot in common, yet they also have distinctions. Several traditional foods (such as souvla and halloumi) and drinks, as well as expressions and ways of life, are comparable. Hospitality, as well as purchasing or providing food and beverages for visitors or others, is prevalent among both. Music, dance, and art are important elements of social life in all cultures, and many creative, verbal and nonverbal emotions, traditional dances such as tsifteteli, similarities in dance attire, and the emphasis put on social activities are shared. The two groups, however, have different faiths and religious traditions, with Greek Cypriots historically being Greek Orthodox and Turkish Cypriots usually being Sunni Muslims, which has hampered cultural interaction in part. Turkish Cypriots are influenced by Turkey and Islam, whereas Greek Cypriots are influenced by Greece and Christianity.
Limassol Carnival Festival is an annual carnival that takes place in Limassol, Cyprus. The popular event in Cyprus was launched in the twentieth century.
Following the discovery of a series of Chalcolithicperiod carved figures in the villages of Khoirokoitia and Lempa, Cyprus’s art history may be traced back up to 10,000 years. The island is home to many instances of high quality Middle Ages religious icon painting, as well as many painted churches. Cypriot architecture was significantly affected by the introduction of French Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles to the island during the period of Latin dominance (1191–1571).
Cypriot art history starts in contemporary times with the painter Vassilis Vryonides (1883–1958), who trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Adamantios Diamantis (1900–1994), who studied at London’s Royal College of Painting, and Christopheros Savva (1924–1968), who also studied in London, were perhaps the two founding fathers of contemporary Cypriot art. In many respects, these two painters established the blueprint for future Cypriot art, and both their creative styles and educational methods continue to have an impact to this day. The majority of Cypriot painters continue to train in England, but some attend art schools in Greece and local art institutes such as the Cyprus College of Art, the University of Nicosia, and the Frederick Institute of Technology.
One characteristic of Cypriot art is a preference for realistic painting, despite the fact that conceptual art is vigorously pushed by a variety of art “institutions,” most notably the Nicosia Municipal Art Centre. Municipal art galleries may be found in all of the major cities, and there is a thriving commercial art sector. Cyprus was scheduled to host the international art festival Manifesta in 2006, but it was cancelled at the last minute due to a disagreement between Manifesta’s Dutch organizers and the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture over the location of some Manifesta events in the Turkish sector of the capital Nicosia.
Other well-known Greek Cypriot painters include Helene Black, the Kalopedis family, Panayiotis Kalorkoti, Nicos Nicolaides, Stass Paraskos, Arests Stas, Telemachos Kanthos, Konstantia Sofokleous, and Chris Achilleos, and Turkish Cypriot artists include smet Güney, Ruzen Atakan, and Mutlu erkez.
Cyprus’s traditional folk music has many aspects with Greek, Turkish, and Arabic music, including Greco-Turkish dances such the sousta, syrtos, zeibekikos, tatsia, and karsilamas, as well as Middle Eastern-inspired tsifteteli and arapies. Chattista is a kind of musical poetry that is often performed during traditional feasts and festivals. The bouzouki, oud (“outi”), violin (“fkiolin”), lute (“laouto”), accordion, Cyprus flute (“pithkiavlin”), and percussion are frequently linked with Cyprus traditional music (including the “toumperleki”). Evagoras Karageorgis, Marios Tokas, Solon Michaelides, and Savvas Salides are among the composers connected with traditional Cypriot music. Among the performers are Cyprien Katsaris, a renowned pianist, and Marios Joannou Elia, composer and creative director of the European Capital of Culture project.
The Greek Laka scene has had a strong effect on popular music in Cyprus; musicians that play in this genre include worldwide platinum sensation Anna Vissi, Evridiki, and Sarbel. Hip Hop, R&B, and reggae have been aided by the development of Cypriot rap and the Ayia Napa urban music scene. Artists like as Michalis Hatzigiannis and Alkinoos Ioannidis are often linked with Cypriot rock music and Éntekhno rock. Metal is also popular in Cyprus, with bands such as Armageddon (rev.16:16), Blynd, Winter’s Verge, Methysos, and Quadraphonic.
Halloumi cheese was first produced in Cyprus during the Medieval Byzantine era. As an appetiser, halloumi (Hellim) is usually served sliced, either fresh or grilled.
Squid, octopus, red mullet, and sea bass are among the seafood and fish meals available. Salads often include cucumber and tomato. Potatoes with olive oil and parsley, pickled cauliflower and beets, asparagus and taro are also popular vegetable dishes. Other traditional delights include meat marinated in dried coriander seeds and wine, then dried and smoked, such as lountza (smoked pig loin), charcoal-grilled lamb, souvlaki (pork and chicken cooked over charcoal), and sheftalia (pork and chicken cooked over charcoal) (minced meat wrapped in mesentery). Pourgouri (cracked wheat) is the traditional carbohydrate source other than bread, and it is used to create the delicacy koubes.
Fresh veggies and fruits are often used. Vegetables such as courgettes, green peppers, okra, green beans, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and grape leaves are often used, as are pulses such as beans, broad beans, peas, black-eyed beans, chick-peas, and lentils. Pears, apples, grapes, oranges, mandarines, nectarines, medlar, blackberries, cherry, strawberries, figs, watermelon, melon, avocado, lemon, pistachio, almond, chestnut, walnut, and hazelnut are the most frequent fruits and nuts.
Cyprus is also famous for its sweets, such as lokum (also known as Turkish Delight) and Soutzoukos. This island has a protected geographical indicator (PGI) for the lokum produced in Geroskipou hamlet.