“Be they known or unknown, they all have a story to tell.” Historian Iliana Koulafeti and journalist Christos Michalaros believe this. They are correct: a country’s essence is its people.
Text: Romina Xyda
Photos: Panagiotis Mina
The paramount sense one acquires when in Cyprus, be they visitor or resident, is of its people. They are its primary asset, the salt of the earth, and advantage. Their signature stories, offerings, kind words and faces embody the island experience. Knowing the value of local stories, Iliana Koulafeti and Christos Michalaros record and transcribe them to People of Cyprus, a web page and digital archive with a dynamic presence among social networks mapping life on the island.
Having boundless love for their generation, this historian and journalist duo are just as intent on finding inspiration from the past connecting to a continuum leading Cyprus to tomorrow. As they say, theirs is an attempt to preserve history in the making and its dissemination. Besides, they love listening to stories and getting to know new people and places through them. They travel to villages throughout the region, are invited into homes and visit tavernas, bars and cafés, museums and workshops. They relish opportunities to record, photograph and taste along the way, informing of travels along paths leading to new stories.
Who are the People of Cyprus? They are elderly folk who resist change, zealous traditionalists. They are youths who draw from their roots to define progress in their era. They are personalities who make indelible marks on the history of Cyprus, immigrants arriving perchance, integrating into and embracing Cypriot society while contributing to the most colourful mosaic of people, each with a story to tell. Parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours – this island endures, accepts and loves those with open hearts and vision toward new horizons.