The Thalassa Museum was opened in August 2005 and is directed by the Pierides Foundation in association with the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition and the Tornaritis-Pierides Marine Life Foundation.
The museum is located in the centre of Ayia Napa and it houses interesting information to do with “Thalassa” which means “sea” in Greek. It is the first museum of its kind across the Mediterranean region and its aim is to present to the local and foreign visitors, the impact and the significance of the sea upon the history of Cyprus, from prehistoric periods until present times.
The museum is a three storey building made by marble, onyx, wood, metal and offers unique experiences appealing to all our senses with its ‘bird’s eye view’. It incorporates six levels and the exhibits are presented in four different methods: in underground showcases, where the visitors can walk over or in modern showcases. Other exhibits are freely placed in the museum whereas others are hanging from the roof. All exhibits are spotlighted by fibre optics.
Visitors are informed using audiovisual panels on the historical periods of the island and can admire Cypriot antiquities which cover 7000 years, from the Neolithic period to the Venetian rule (5000 B.C. to 1600 A.D.). Among the most important exhibits are a composite vase with from the Early Bronze Age III (2100-1900 B.C.), a spectacular clay model of a ship with sailors and captain of the Cypro-Archaic II period (600- 480 B.C.), four red figured plates decorated with fish from the Classical and Hellenistic periods (475-30 B.C.); and the replica of a Mesolithic (9000 B.C.) papyrus raft used to transport obsidians.
The main exhibit of the museum is the ‘Kyrenia II’ wreck, discovered in 1963. A life size exact replica of the ancient ship of Kyrenia, of the Classical period (400 B.C.), was built in 1985 for scientific experimental purposes. Visitors have the opportunity to walk on an exciting glass floor, where a reconstruction of the old shipwreck is displayed and a documentary film is screened, about the excavations of the ancient ship and the preservation of it, which took place in the now occupied castle of Kyrenia.
The museum also houses an attractively designed cafeteria, a gift shop, an open air amphitheatre for the summer that serves the community for concerts, dances and other cultural performances; and a multipurpose hall for periodic shows, educational programmes, lectures, seminars and workshops, supplement this contemporary Municipal museum complex.
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