Ukraine-Cyprus building cultural bridges

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The Cyprus Institute (CyI) and the V.I. Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine (VNLU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on joint Ukrainian-Cyprus research and educational activities highlighting their historical and cultural relations.

As a first step, a collaborative pilot project will focus on the travel accounts of Vasiliy Barskyi, a Ukrainian monk who visited Cyprus in the 18th Century.

Researchers from Ukraine and Cyprus will study and digitize the well-known manuscript “Travels of Vasiliy Grygorovych Barskyi to the Sacred Places of the East: 1723-1747” of the famous monk and pilgrim.

He travelled across Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean in the 18th Century describing holy places and pilgrimage sites.

He visited Cyprus, producing wonderful descriptions and drawings of his travels among his destinations.

CyI and the V.I. Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine will cooperate for supporting further research on the history and culture of Cyprus and Ukraine using Barskyi’s travels to communicate the cultural relations between the two countries.

The interdisciplinary study of Barskyi’s passage through Cyprus has been a focus of interest and work by researchers from the Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC) / Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) of The Cyprus Institute.

Signing the MoU ensures free access to the Manuscript and Vasiliy Grygorovych Barskyi’s drawings for researchers from Ukraine and Cyprus through digital sources.

Further analyses by CyI researchers will study aspects of the materiality and technique of the important document.

The signing ceremony of the MoU took place at The Cyprus Institute’s facilities in Nicosia on Thursday.

It was signed by Prof. Lyubov Dubrovina (Director General of VNLU) and the President of The Cyprus Institute, Professor Costas N. Papanicolas.

Ukraine ambassador Ruslan Nimchynskyi said the agreement “proves the existence of long historic ties between our nations while promising to lift the veil of unknown facts in the history of Ukraine-Cyprus relations.”

On 19 February, Ukraine and the Republic of Cyprus will mark 30 years of bilateral diplomatic relations.

In her address, Director General of Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine Prof. Lyubov Dubrovina emphasized the importance of Barskyi’s travel and the related focus of the joint Ukrainian-Cyprus Project, its results and the significant value it will provide.

Prof. Papanicolas said even though Ukraine is currently going through a very difficult situation, “this MoU is a sign of hope for a peaceful and prosperous future based on culture and history exchange between our nations”.

“This MoU effectively establishes and formalizes a bridge between Cyprus and Ukraine for the exchange of research and education, while promoting cultural heritage, as a vehicle for scholarly synergies of great significance.”