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The Cyprus of the Travellers (15th-16th Centuries)

Chryssa Maltezou - Prof. Emerita, University of Athens, Member of the Academy of Athens

 

Abstract

In order to investigate and understand the ways in which European travellers represented Cyprus’ social organisation and structure during the Venetian and Frankish periods, one must first answer a number of questions: who was the typical European who set out to visit Cyprus in the 15th and 16th centuries, what was the purpose of his trip, which places did he choose to visit and which did he consider worth seeing.

The Europeans who travelled to Cyprus during the late medieval and Renaissance periods belonged to two major categories: they were pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land or merchants who went to Cyprus to trade and promote their business transactions. A third group comprised all those who visited the island for a variety of other reasons, such as espionage and smuggling. This paper will examine the testimonies of pilgrims passing through Cyprus on their way to the Holy Land, as recorded in various travellers’ journals and descriptions.

 

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