By David Wigg
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Additional info for Of mosaics and mosques: a look at the campaign to preserve cultural heritage
Protecting the Property of Other Cultures Preserving its own "cultural property" gives a nation a sense of identity, but it's also imperative to protect the property of other cultures, including the heritage of a minority or even an enemy. Conservation is a way of promoting tolerance. The message is that this is something that may belong to one particular culture, but it also belongs to all of humanity. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, whatever the political outcome for their divided island, should obviously protect each other's sites and religious buildings.
Mythological characters share the space with harvest scenes (grapes again much in evidence), panels of the four seasons around Mother Earth, a strutting peacock, and abstract shapestriangles, squares, rosettes, and wheels. It was an orgy of inventiveness in which the artists emerged triumphant. Culture has its origin in the love of perfection, Matthew Arnold believed, and here was perfection. Cultural Sites in Danger But, like much "cultural heritage" all over the world, the mosaics, and indeed the entire Paphos archaeological site, are in danger.
Places should be marked where you can get the best views of the sunsets, the master plan says. An amused Cypriot engineer queried this section until it was explained to him that sunsets may not mean much to blasé Cypriots, living as Page 19 they do in what must be one of the best climates in the world, but to Europeans from the gloomy northwest, they are the stuff of dreams. The master plan sums it all up well, how it all comes together. There is, it says, "the color and scent of flowers, the color of stones and sand, the pattern of drylaid stone walls, the scale of traditional village architecture, and the setting of the ruins in the landscape which change their appearance according to the time of the day or the kind of weather.