Good news: since May 1, the Greek part of Cyprus has been a member of the European Union. Excellent news : the Limassol wine festival opens its doors from August 31 to September 12 in the city gardens! Every evening during these two weeks, you will be able to taste the local wines for free and without moderation, between folklore shows and an introduction to old-fashioned grape pressing. An unmissable (cultural) event.
Come on, come and have a drink in Limassol!
Cyprus has an ancestral wine-making tradition. Wine production on the island dates back more than four thousand years: in other words, when it comes to know-how, the French do not have much to teach their Cypriot colleagues.
Not content with being the most important wine-making center on the island, the Limassol region decided in 1961 to give local production a major publicity stunt by organizing its first wine festival. The idea was bold: offering free tastings for several days causes some profitability concerns. Is it the spontaneous solidarity of the Cypriots towards any local initiative that from its first edition, in the municipal gardens of Limassol, the festival was a success. So much so that the major producers of the region did not hesitate to participate in the party, setting up their own stands where they offer shots to whoever wants.
Today, the Limassol Wine Festival is one of the main cultural events in Cyprus. Cultural, because it is also an opportunity to make discover the folkloric and culinary heritage of the region to the thousands of visitors who flock every day from all over the island, but also from further afield, for this great Bacchic festival.
A bacchanal with Cypriot aromas
From August 31, plan a few aspirins and meet at the municipal gardens of Limassol, every evening from 20 p.m. After paying a modest nest egg at the entrance (2 £ C per adult; 1 £ C per child), visitors find themselves facing a giant of 7 m immediately announcing the color: the statue, which has become the emblem of the festival, represents a winegrower in traditional local costume. Vines and folklore, everything is there!
A little further away are the famous stands of the great local producers: Etko, Keo, Loel, Sodap, Laona. Hips! ... Let's move on. Every evening, banquets are organized where you can taste the local culinary specialties: grilled meats, stuffed vine leaves, etc. Orchestras are responsible for accompanying the meal with music. Even if you eat properly, bring clothes that are not afraid of stains: the more daring can try their hand at the traditional pressing of the grape, which is trodden on barefoot in large wooden tubs.
As for shows, this year's program is tasty. Fireworks will be fired every evening at 20 p.m. from the beach facing the gardens. Folklore troupes will come to present traditional songs and dances from Cyprus, Crete and other Greek islands. Depending on the evening, there will also be theater, a Cypriot musical with the tantalizing title (How to become Prime Minister), a magician, chansonniers inspired by the drink of the Greek gods, etc. There will even be puppet shows for children on Sunday afternoons on September 5 and 12: we think of them anyway!
Some assure that this festival allows to revive the pagan rites of ancient Greece, when men drank and ate to the health of the gods after having offered them some sacrifice. The more prosaic will be content to appreciate these exceptional moments of gaiety and conviviality, where we dive into the heart of Cypriot culture.
Entry formalities to Cyprus
Warning ! A simple valid identity card or passport are sufficient for EU nationals, as well as for the Swiss. But entry into the Greek part of the island is restricted to authorized access points by the government, including the airports of Lanarka and Paphos, as well as the port of Limassol. If you arrive at one of the airports in the Turkish part of Cyprus, you will be denied access to the south of the island.
- Information on formalities for entering Cyprus from theEmbassy of Cyprus 47-20-86-28. Fax 47-20-14-68.
Information on the Limassol Wine Festival
- Cyprus Tourist Board : 15, rue de la Paix, 75002 42-61-42-49. Fax 42-61-65-13. Internet: www.visitcyprus.org.cy.
- On the website of the Municipality of Limassol (in English): www.limassolmunicipal.com.cy.