Larnaka’s New Home of Handicrafts
Larnaka Region handicrafts will have a new home in the heart of the town centre at the ‘Multicentre of Creativity and Culture’, opening this spring.
The new attraction is located on Zinonos Kitieos shopping street (opposite the Pierides Museum) in a stunning 1800s building known locally as the ‘Larnaka Club/Mattei House’, which has been restored to its former glory. The building originally belonged to the affluent Italian merchant Giacometto Mattei, and later housed the island’s first tennis club (under British Colonial Administration).
The centre will introduce visitors to the handicrafts of Larnaka region and the island as a whole, with the opportunity to watch the artisans as they work in the traditional way.
The main hall is dedicated to the rich and interesting history of the building itself, with further rooms each representing a different tradition. The municipalities of Lefkara, Athienou and Livadia - which are all known for their unique and preserved handicrafts - each have their own room. A fourth room is dedicated to the ‘Women’s Association of Rural Larnaka’ – a collective of women who continue to create and produce traditional delicacies and handicrafts, and the Cyprus Handicraft Service also has its own room exhibiting weaving on a loom.
Mountainous Lefkara is famous for its handmade lace linens ‘Lefkaritika’ (which date back to Venetian times) and are included on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List, as well as for its silversmithing, which includes the delicate art of filigree silver - a spider-web like technique used to create jewellery and other household pieces
Athienou has its own lace techniques known as ‘Venis’ lace (or ‘pittotes’) and Athienou Lace (known as ‘oloplouma’). Also included on the UNESCO National Intangible Cultural Heritage List, these differ from Lefkara lace linens and are made exclusively in Athienou.
Livadia is one of the few places on the island where a traditional form of basket making and weaving with cane and reeds is still practised - and the only place that still makes ‘psatharkes’ (traditionally used for roofing). The craft is included on the UNESCO National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The opening of this significant home of heritage adds another attraction for visitors to the city, alongside its museums (Pierides and Kyriazis Medical); the medieval castle and various landmarks and sculptures dotted around the town centre and the parallel seafront.