The project aims to investigate the development of religious pilgrimage in Cyprus from the 11th to the 16th century and the pilgrimage art that developed on the island. At the same time, the project will identify the special position of Cyprus within the broader pilgrimage routes and religious practices of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The research programme of the University of Cyprus, labelled with the acronym SpaMaP Cy, is funded by the Cypriot Research and Innovation Foundation (DIDAKTOR Programme). The project is to be conducted with the participation of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus and the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Cyprus.
The proposed project constitutes an innovative and interdisciplinary attempt to study pre-modern pilgrimage, that combines traditional approaches (chronological categorisation of monuments, written sources, archaeological data) with contemporary digital techniques and tools (digitisation of artefacts and monuments, statistical data, visualization of thematic maps, application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)).
The main objectives of the project can be summarized as follows:
- Creation of a corpus for pilgrimage sites and materials directly connected with pilgrimage practices.
- Compilation of pilgrimage routes and creation of thematic maps.
- Provide new insights into the multicultural society of Cyprus, as well as the way that the pilgrimage sites acted as religious, social and cultural operators on the island.
- Identify the special position of Cyprus within the broader pilgrimage routes and religious practices of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The results of the project will contribute inter alia to the digitization and management of the cultural heritage of Cyprus, something that will benefit greatly the local community where the monuments are located, by promoting cultural tourism, and by contributing to a sustainable economic development. Finally, the findings of the project will advance our scientific knowledge of the period and will contribute to a more thorough understanding of the history of Cypriot society and the existing current discourse on the peaceful coexistence of and tolerance between different religious and/or ethnic groups on the island, from the medieval past to our times.