Where communities thrive

  • Join over 1.5M+ people
  • Join over 100K+ communities
  • Free without limits
  • Create your own community
    Welcome to the Ethnological Museum of Cyprus, better known as the mansion of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, the old palace of the Podocataro, an ancient building that hides several layers of our city’s history within its walls. We invite you to explore it with us on 29 October, in an immersive performance which combines live music, a sound installation and a sensory exhibition in the spaces of this unique monument of cultural heritage. As we prepare for our event, we will focus on some of the objects exhibited in the museum’s spaces, around which there will be musical activity during the performance. Can you spot them in the mansion?
    Wedding wreaths
    The bedroom in the mansion contains two copper canopy beds, a chest of drawers and wardrobes from the 1900s to 1930s, which were donated by the Friends of the Museum of Cyprus. Decorative items and dowry standards, such as embroidery and bedlinen are also included. The wedding wreaths framed on the wall between the beds are a special feature of this room. According to tradition, the wreaths symbolise the couple’s bond from the mystery of holy matrimony, thus the wreaths are joint with a ribbon, so that the couple will be bound together for the rest of their lives. Traditionally, the wreathes are placed at the head of the wedding bed, at the newlywed’s bedside, as a symbol of love and devotion. The wreaths were hung on the wall on a nail, if money was scarce, or otherwise mounted in elaborate boxes, known as wreath cases.
    Broken statues in the garden
    In the mansion’s garden there is an assortment of broken statues and shards of sculptures. These are samples of works from older eras, from various areas of the island. Among these are pieces of stone columns, shards of hands and feet of ancient statues and early sculptural works.
    The fountain in the courtyard
    Fountains, such as the one found in the mansion of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, were typical features of the luxurious houses of the time and their basic function was to serve the tenants’ needs for water. The fountain has a built reservoir at the back for storing water and a tank at the front for the water to flow in, which is actually a reused ancient sarcophagus. The fountain is adorned with the two-headed eagle, the symbol of the Byzantine Empire, and at the side with human-faced birds, standing on columns. At the top of the fountain we find the date 1803 July 29th and there is a cross with the abbreviation IC XC NI KA (which means Jesus Christ Conquers). The Christian symbols of the fountain were later removed so as not to offend the Muslim inhabitants of the mansion. The cross was typically placed as a symbol of protection in houses at the time and it is found not only on the fountain but also on the marble talisman plaque, on the internal side of the main entrance.
    The Ondás
    The ondás is one of the main rooms of the mansion. Also known as “Aspastikón”, the chamber was used as a reception space for guests and high-ranking Ottoman visitors to the island. The room bears several resemblances with similar mansion chambers from other areas of the Ottoman region. These include the wooden cladding on the walls and the immured cupboards (one of which contains a secret passageway leading to the roof). The fresco features a salpinx bearing angel on each side and depicts a city (most likely Constantinople) with houses, a row of trees, the city walls and, at the front, the sea with a bridge.
    Traditional dress
    Traditional women’s dress which includes a headscarf (traditionally worn with the corners turned inwards), as well as a velvet jacket (known as “sarca”) with long sleeves and embroidered decorations. These garments complemented the dress of townswomen in 19th century. In the 20th century they were maintained in rural areas as part of dresses for formal occasions or as part of the bridal dress. The skirt is embroidered with floral patterns and is complemented by a silk belt with a buckle.
    The mansion
    The mansion of the Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios is one of the most important monuments of the capital. Built in the 15th century, it was originaly the palace of the House of the Podocataro in Nicosia, one of the most important families of Cyprus which excelled during the time of the French and the Venetian Rule of Cyprus. During the Ottoman Rule of Cyprus, the building was the mansion of the Dragoman Kornesios, making it one of the most important examples of urban architecture of the 18th century. The Dragoman moved in to the mansion in 1793, as documented by the plaque at the internal wall of the main entrance, and lived here with his family, using parts of the house as his office space and as guest rooms for visiting state officials. During the uprising of 1804, caused by the imposition of additional taxes, a mob of enraged citizens turned against the Dragoman, setting the mansion’s entrance on fire, breaking in and looting it. Kornesios and his family escaped to Constantinople, his property was confiscated and the mansion was sealed. At a later time, the mansion was seized by the Ottoman authorities, subsequently bought by Hatise Hanoum Magnisali, and finally in the 19th century it was bought by Kornsesios’ son, Ioannis, who moved in with his wife Iouliani. A part of the mansion was used as a house by descendants of the family until 1979, when it was endowed to the Archbishopric of Cyprus.