Diary Date – Thursday 11 August 2011
The sailboat “Armenia” will arrive at the Limassol new port at 7:00 pm.
Limassol is the final stop of its epic world journey, which started on 28 May 2009 from Valencia, Spain.
The expedition has voyaged through the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar, North America, South America, Panama Canal, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The adventurous crew and ‘Armenia’ have sailed to Argentina and Cape Horn where they encountered treacherous seas. While sailing on the coast of Chile, they experienced a near encounter with the Tsunami earlier in 2011.
The crew consists of seven Armenians and the head of the expedition is Dr. Zori Balayan, a renowned Armenian author, traveller and human rights activist.
Its mission is to increase world awareness about the Armenian nation, once a significant seafaring people with more than 1000 ships in 24 big ports of the Kingdom of Cilicia (1080-1375), which had special ties with Lusignan Cyprus.
The ship is dedicated to Saint Mesrob Mashdots, who “discovered” the Armenian alphabet in 405 AD and the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia (301 AD), while its arrival coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Republic of Armenia, which became a reality after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The ship is adorned with the 38 letters of the Armenian alphabet, the Armenian cross and the Armenian symbol of eternity.
A special welcoming ceremony will be held, followed by a cocktail reception, in the presence of Their Excellencies the President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan.
Armenian links within Cyprus
Larnaca: The church of Sourp Stepanos is considered itself to be the oldest monument of the Armenian massacres, built between 1909-1913 with a commemorative inscription on its entrance. In Larnaca there is also the Armenian Genocide Memorial, built between 2006–2008 and adjacent to the marina.
Nicosia: The current Armenian Genocide Monument was constructed between 1990-1991 by architect John Guevherian and is located in the courtyard of the new Sourp Asdvadzadzin church in Strovolos. In 1996 some martyrs’ remains from the Der Zor desert in Syria were interred within the monument, while more bone remains are kept in the two marble columns, built in 2000 in front of the monument. In 2002 an obelisk was inaugurated in front of the AYMA premises in Strovolos, also containing some bone remains.
Of great importance is the Sourp Magar (Saint Makarios) monastery, located in Turkish-occupied Halevga, on the Pentadhaktylos mountain range. The monastery was originally established circa the year 1000 and passed into the hands of the Armenians sometime before 1425. It was a renowned place of pilgrimage for Armenians and non-Armenians alike, as well as being a place of recuperation and rest and a way station for pilgrims en route to the Holy Land. A large number of beautiful and invaluable manuscripts were housed there, as was the miracle-working icon of Saint Makarios. It has been occupied by the Turkish military since August 1974 and is today in a pitiful state, being left at the mercy of vandals and nature