Larnaka Tourism Board (LTB) and the Youth Board of Cyprus (ONEK) have received an international award for promoting Larnaka and Cyprus with their joint project, the video ‘Ancient Port of Kition 3D Virtual Reconstruction’.
The award was presented by the International Confederation ‘The Phoenicians’ Route of the Council of Europe’, in the category ‘Innovative and creative enhancement of a cultural/archaeological site’.
Mrs Elena Tanou, President of the Phoenicians’ Route Confederation, accepted the award on behalf of the two local organisations at a ceremony held in Sicily, Italy. The award was then received in Cyprus by the presidents of LTB and ONEK, along with Larnaka’s Mayor, in a modest ceremony that took place on Wednesday 10 November 2021 at the Ancient Port of Kition archaeological site in central Larnaka.
This is the first time in Cyprus that ancient ruins have been virtually restored in 3D, and the award is the culmination of a series of joint initiatives between LTB and ONEK, forming part of the digital upgrades of important monuments, to the wider Larnaka region.
This project presents the 3D virtual restoration of the Ancient Port of Kition in five chronological phases: from 900 BC until 300 BC. A special software programme was used to combine historically accurate data from archaeological findings and studies of the French Archaeological Mission of Kition with virtual reality equipment, allowing viewers to see the ancient port and the surrounding area as it was 2,500 years ago in 3D format.
This ground-breaking and interactive experience transports viewers back in time, offering a previously unavailable opportunity to see the triremes (ancient vessels); the ship ramps and how vessels were towed on them; the sanctuary, and the workshops around the port. It is also significant that the finds unearthed at the archaeological site were integrated into the 3D video, allowing the user to see them in a 360° format and access information about them.
Also noteworthy is that this international award coincides with the resumption of excavations at the site of the ancient port by the French Archaeological Mission of Kition after a pause of many years, which will contribute to the gradual creation of the forthcoming Larnaka Archaeological Park.
During the award ceremony, LTB President, Mr Dinos Lefkaritis stated that this distinction honours both Larnaka and the island internationally, highlighting the modern way in which the rich history and culture of the region is presented. Mr. Lefkaritis expressed his thanks and appreciation to both the President of the Confederation Ms Elena Tanou and the Director Dr. Antonio Barone.
ONEK President, Mr Kleanthis Koutsoftas, stated that award is a tangible example of how technology can be used in collaboration with other scientific disciplines to offer innovative solutions and experiences; the essence of both ONEK’s goals and the role of its Youth Makerspace technology programme in Larnaka.
Larnaka Mayor, Mr Andreas Vyras, noted that it is synergies such as this that lead to the creation of modern projects, attracting not only tourists, but also locals to Larnaka’s archaeological sites.
President of the Phoenicians’ Route confederation, Mrs Elena Tanou, is proud of the cooperation developed between LTB and ONEK, and that with this unique award, Cyprus is firmly placed on the path of the Phoenicians.
During the modest ceremony, special mention was made to collaborators Sabine Fourrier, Andrea Lordos and Odysseas Kontovourkis, who all offered their consulting services on a non-profit basis, as well as to Dimitris Ktorides and Anastasia Kakkouris for their significant contribution, and to Mr Peter Ashdjian, who was among the inspirers of the project.
Warm thanks were given to the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and Larnaka Municipality, to LCCI for their continued support, as well as to the Department of Antiquities for their valuable guidance.
The video can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48Q_QSgNCvo&t=15s, and on Facebook: https://fb.watch/98DL5DHFCR/, and can also be viewed in 3D using special equipment at Youth Makerspace Larnaka, which is housed in the historic former residence of the District Officer.