Τhe mural depicting the Birth of Christ comes from the Cathedral of Agios John the Theologian, in Lefkosia, the foundation stone of which was laid on 30th April 1662 by Archbishop Niceforos. The church is built in an area where an earlier monastery existed during the Frankish Period (1192-1489) and records indicate that it existed in 1345.

The mural, situated after the second transverse arch,is in the first row of the Christological cycle that begins with the Annunciation and followed by the Nativity, and the Circumcision and ends in the fourth row with the Flagellation and the Via Crusis.(Vassilia Gregoriou, A Guide to St. John’s Cathedral, Lefkosia)

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Αesop, (6th century BC) was a Greek legendary fabulist. The Roman poet Phaedrus popularized Aesop’s fables in the 1st century AD and in 1668 La Fontaine immortalized the stories when he re-wrote them in splendid verse.

The story of the Hare and the Tortoise is one of the best known of Aesop’s fables. When the hare ridiculed the tortoise for its slow movements, the tortoise replied by challenging the hare to a race. The hare burst out laughing but accepted the challenge.

The fox gave the signal to set off the race. The hare was off like a shot but the tortoise began walking slowly at a steady pace. The hare seeing that the tortoise was far behind, felt so sure of himself and victory that he lay down under a tree and fell asleep. When the hare eventually woke up he saw that the tortoise had already reached the finishing line. He had lost the race.
All Aesop’s fables have a moral to convey and this one tells us that he who is modest in life achieves his goals in the end.

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Christopher Pissarides was born in 1948 in Lefkosia. After graduating from the Pancyprian Gymnasium, he continued his studies at the University of Essex and subsequently obtained his PhD from the London School of Economics.

In 2010 he became the first Cypriot to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Together with his colleagues Dale T. Mortensen and Peter Diamond they shared the prize in economic sciences “for their analysis of markets with search frictions”. Peter Diamond had analysed the foundation of search markets whilst Pissarides and Mortensen had expanded and applied the theory to the labour market. Their work allows us to understand and analyse how unemployment, job vacancies, job creations and wages are affected by economic policies and regulations. Pissarides’ book “Equilibrium Unemployment Theory” is the acknowledged standard reference book on the subject.

Christopher Pissarides is currently President of the National Economic Council reporting directly to the President of the Republic of Cyprus and a professor of economics at the LSE. (London School of Economics)

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Fall ships are large traditionally rigged sailing vessels that evolved from the first sailing boat that man devised many thousands of years ago. It is said that the ancient Egyptians were the first to build sailing vessels and today one can still admire the Dhow, a lateen rigged Arabian sea-ship of the 19th century. This vessel has a triangular sail on long yard at an angle of 45 degrees to the mast. Yards are the long horizontal spars that are mounted at right angles to the mast.

Traditional rigging includes square-rigs and gaff rigs with separate topmasts and topsails. Square-rigged ships have square sails attached to the yards, while gaff-rigged vessels fly four-sided gaff sails which have a heavy spar at the top and a boom at the foot of the sail. According to their rig the vessels are known as: “Schooner”, “Brigantine”, “Bargue”, “Caravel”, “Galleon”, etc.

There are four classes of vessels: Class A- are giant sailing ships which are square-rigged and are over 48.8m. Class B- are Fore-and-aft rigged vessels between 30.5m. and 48.8m.Class C- are like Class B but are under 30.5m. Class D- are vessels with spinnaker-like sails. A spinnaker is a large triangular sail carried opposite mainsail of racing yacht running before wind.

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The 22 meter high lighthouse is situated at Cape Kiti, 10 meters from the sea. One of the ancient seven wonders of the world is the Pharos of Alexandria. This imposing structure standing 135 meters high warned mariners who had to navigate through hidden reefs lying just below the sea level.

Built by Ptolemy I between 297 and 283 BC it stood for seventeen centuries. It collapsed in the first half of the 14th century AD.

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Lighthouses are built on promontories, hazardous sea areas and at the entrance of ports to guide ships safely into harbour or to warn them so as to avoid dangerous areas which are in the vicinity.

The lighthouses in Cyprus were built during the last quarter of the 19th century and from an operational point of view have been upgraded so that their light emissions now have a range of seventeen nautical miles.

The Cyprus Ports Authority maintains and ensures their operations at all times.

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Εarth without its forests would be an uninhabitable planet. The destruction of large parts of rain forests in South East Asia and the tropical forests of Africa and South America is causing great concern to governments who have to battle excessive and illegal loggings. Forests have a great impact on climate change and their loss would be catastrophic.

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Cyprus was famous for its ancient forests which covered the whole island. Timber for ship building was a major export commodity even during World Wars I & II. In 1528, forest clearance was encouraged by offering loggers all the land they could clear. In 1783, the Ottoman Governor of Larnaca was so concerned about the excessive felling of trees that he issued a decree banning this activity.

Today the forests of Cyprus are mainly in the Troodos and Kyrenia mountain ranges where among other species, the Aleppo pine, the Cedar, the Oak and the Juniper trees abound. Some 5,000 Cedar trees grow on the Troodos range and in the forests of Pafos and Kykko. Juniper trees flourish in the Karpasia forest and in the wild beauty of the Akamas peninsula. Pine trees are abundant in the Cyprus Forests.

Forests in Cyprus are state property, cared for by experts from the Forestry Department. When and where necessary reforestation is carried out. The department is well equipped to tackle forest fires and has helicopters at its disposal.

The fire station at Stavros-tis-Psokas in the forest of Pafos is the most important on the island.

With this 68c stamp, Cyprus Post, in 2011, won first prize in PostEurop’s best Europa stamp, Jury competition.

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Ιn 1807 the Irish musician and song writer Thomas Moore wrote: “You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will; but the scent of the roses will hang round it still”.

The English poet Ernest Dawson wrote in 1896: “They are not long the days of wine and roses”.

The Madonna Lily was gradually overtaken as a symbol of Christianity by the rose. (Jennifer Potter, Seven flowers and how they shaped our life.)

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Some 130 million years ago when the earth looked drab and desolate an explosion of flowering plants transformed life with their brilliance, array of colours, shapes, sizes and scents. Wild flowers as well as roses grew in open fields, forests, plains and mountain tops as they adorned the landscape.

The rose has been cultivated since immemorial times and has served to express one’s love as it has captured our hearts. A bouquet of red roses symbolizes love.

In earlier times roses were fragrant but with new hybrid varieties many blooms are beautiful but have no scent. The fragrantpetals of some varieties are used to extract oil for use in perfumes and the residents of the delightful village of Kambos in the Marathasa valley make rose water from the ever blooming specific wild roses.

The village of Agros in the Troodos mountains is also famous for its rose water, rose petal dessert and rose scented products such as soaps, candles and an aperitif. Every year a rose festival is held in May when the roses are in full bloom.

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