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Archaeological sites VS Limassol Museums: Visitors choose the open spaces

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The archeological sites, the archeological monuments and museums of Cyprus are, among others, sites of the cultural and cultural heritage of our homeland. Today, however, just before the antiquities of the place came under the jurisdiction of the newly established Ministry of Culture (from the Ministry of Transport that they belong to today), the data on the number of visitors to these places are in some cases depressing. Especially in Limassol, the Provincial Archaeological Museum has a picture of decay as few people visit it, but at the same time, that in the other archeological sites of the city and the province of Limassol the attendance is clearly higher.

Let's take the data from the beginning. There are currently seven sites in Limassol under the responsibility of the Department of Antiquities. Among them are the Archaeological Museum of the Limassol District and the Kourion-Episkopi Museum, which are the two museums along with the Medieval Museum housed in the Limassol Castle. At the same time, there are also four other open-air archeological sites, the Ancient Kingdom of Kourion, the Sanctuary of Apollo Ylati, the Castle of Kolossi and the Archaeological Site of Amathus. From a first look at the number of places visited, the first and clear conclusion is that the vast majority of visitors choose the open spaces and not the museums. More specifically, for the last five years where “P” provided data, about 4,000-5,000 visits have been recorded by the Archaeological Museum of Limassol, at the same time that the Archaeological Site of Kourion is visited by at least 170,000 people and is by far the most popular archaeological site in the Province. . For the sake of better comparison, the years of the pandemic have been deleted, although the picture is also analogous.

Significant numbers of visitors are recorded in the two Medieval Castles of the Province, Limassol and the Colosseum, with most visitors to these two Castles-Museums regularly paying a ticket and not being included in the special categories entitled to free admission. The Castle of Limassol is visited every year by more than 45,000 visitors, while that of the Colossus by 70,000 and more, ranking it as the second most visited archeological site in the District of Limassol. From there and beyond, about 17-18,000 people visit the Archaeological Site of Amathus annually and about 25,000 annually the Sanctuary of Apollo Ilatis which is close to the Archaeological Site of Kourion. Depressing, however, are the figures for the Kourion Episkopi Museum, which is visited by less than 3,000 people a year.

However, on the occasion of the current public debate in Limassol on the need that really exists either for the upgrade of the Archaeological Museum of the city, or for the construction of a new one, it is clear to everyone that no museum of 2022 can be based solely on exhibits. nor can it be the only condition for one to visit one's privileged location or architecture. What museum experts say today is that modern museums should be part of society. Today, both the mentality and the operation of our museums are far away. We have museums closed, isolated from society and citizens. Upgrading, as experts in the field explain in “P”, is not only material and technical. The proposal of the municipality and the bodies of the city is certainly impressive and tempting, but it is also quite long-term, since there is neither a time horizon for implementation, nor any study that limits, at least, the estimated cost. So, behind the proposal for relocation of the museum may be hidden the selfless interests of the municipality of the city, but at the same time, the rumors that this is the ideal location for the new Maritime Court are getting stronger.

What the Department of Antiquities says

On the issue of traffic, we asked the opinion of the Department of Antiquities, with the archaeologist, Giannis Violaris, explaining that it is definitely a multifactorial issue. Initially, he explained that organized groups, which are the largest number of visitors, prefer to visit the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, which exhibits representative archaeological finds from all over Cyprus, thus reducing the need to visit the provincial ones. Beyond that, however, he said that there is a serious problem with the opening hours of the Limassol and Episkopi museums, as, as is well known, they operate daily until early in the afternoon and are not open on weekends. This is due to a lack of staff.

Another important problem identified by Mr. Violaris is the absence from the organization chart of the Department of Antiquities, Marketing Department for the promotion and advertising of museums. “Unfortunately, there is a shortage in this area, there is no organized department to promote our museums to the world. There should be a shop selling souvenirs and high quality replicas, a cafeteria would definitely help, as well as frequent periodic exhibitions, all of which should be displayed in such a way as to attract the visitor and integrate the museum dynamically into the city and society. ». When we asked Mr. Violaris about the discussion about the new museum, he was laconic, saying that “in no case is the minimum number of visitors to the place where the museum is today, it certainly needs to be upgraded, but it must also be done and long before we think of grandiose projects. “More people can come to the museum, even today.”

Source: politis.com.cy

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