I’ll be honest. The first time I learned about the Republic of Cyprus, I had to look at a map to find out where it was. The small island is the easternmost in the Mediterranean, surrounded by Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the independence of the country (which was ruled by the United Kingdom until 1960). To celebrate, the Smithsonian is hosting “Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilization,” an exhibit detailing the 11,000 years of history of the island, from ancient civilizations to Medieval times.
The exhibit, located on the second level of the National Museum of Natural History, showcases gold jewelry and coins, sphinx sculptures from the Cypro-Archaic period (750 to 480 B.C.), bronze and copper items from the Byzantine period, and a pygmy hippopotamus skull that dates to 10,000 B.C. A marble sculpture of Aphrodite is there, too, and the exhibit details the importance and influence of Roman gods (Aphrodite is said to have been born on the island). “Crossroads of Civilization” opened September 29 and will be at the Smithsonian through May 1, 2011.
- Nat Geo Expeditions