It was founded by the Public, Scientific and cultural foundation in 1996 and it is the largest museum of its kind in Cyprus.
It is open to the public from Monday to Friday
8:00am - 4:00pm.
Entrance and guided tours are free
Telephone: 22585858, 34
CYPRUS MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY - The first Museum of Natural History.
Within the framework of its versatile social and cultural contribution, The Photos Photiades Group founded in 1994, , a Scientific and Cultural Institute of public benefit. Part of the Foundation's activities was the creation of the Cyprus Museum of Natural History in 1996; this was the first of a series of beneficial projects offered to the public.
The Museum operates in an especially designed building complex situated in the lovely gardens of the carLSBERG Brewery, at a short distance from Nicosia. It is open to the public and free of charge. It is a remarkable, fully organized museum, of European standard, which contributes to the ample enlightenment of the public, on the flora, fauna and geology of Cyprus. The visitor can enjoy there a picturesque impression of Nature as well as a board cross-section of it.
The Museum's collection includes about 2500 exhibits. The majority of the collection is made of stuffed mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects as well as rocks, minerals, semiprecious stones, shells, fossils etc.
A visit to the Cyprus Museum of Natural History may breathe a deeper love and interest in the study of Nature into the visitor, thus contributing to the collective effort to protect the environment.
The Museum is a history that has begun and is bound to keep on going. It never stops to be enriched and grow. There is therefore provision to extend the Museum to the nearby sites, when the existing building facility reaches full capacity. The aspires to making the Cyprus Museum of Natural History, one of the most important of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean area.
Plan of the Cyprus Museum of Natural History.
The tour of the Museum starts in the first hall which presents characteristic sedimentary and volcanic rocks from Troodos, from the Mesaoria plain and elsewhere.
The Troodos Mountain Range was formed some 90 million years ago, 8000 metres below the sea level. These Mountains are exclusively made of ophiolithic stones, abundant in asbestos, chromium, copper-bearing iron pyrite deposits as well as interesting concentrations of gold and silver. This Range is a fragment of oceanic crust and the upper mantle of the earth which was detached from its initial position and gradually uplifted to its present one, because of the descend of the African lithospheric plate under the Eurasian plate. The uplift of Troodos resulted in the reversal of its stratigraphy. When going up towards Troodos, from a stratigraphic point of view, one descends from the bottom of an older ocean into the depths of the earth, until the upper mantle zone.
The Pentadactylos Range, the older of the two mountain massifs, was formed at the time of the Alpine orogenesis (130-220 million years ago). It consists of Permian, Carboniferous and Cretaceous limestone interrupted by basaltic layers. On the lower slopes one comes across Miocene marl, sandstone and conglomerates.
The Central Plain (Mesaoria), which until about 120 thousand years ago was a shallow sea, is formed chiefly of clay, marls and testaceous limestone dated from 0,5 million to 5 million years, while in the areas around Troodos we frequently come across chalk, limestone and gypsum. In some places of Mesaoria, especially in the region close to Nicosia, we come across fossilised shells and other marine life varieties.
We are now in the second hall. Here, the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea with many of the species found there, such as shells, ostracea, fish etc., is represented.
The Mediterranean Sea, earth's biggest closed sea, with a variety of plants, fish and other marine organisms has been, for thousands of years, a source of wealth for the inhabitants of its coasts.
However, the immense industrial and tourist evolution of the 20th century and the continuous pollution of rivers and seas in combination with the systematic fishing of great quantities of fish annually, have caused an incalculable damage in the Mediterranean ecosystem.
With this representative collection, the importance of the Mediterranean in the world marine ecosystem and the need to protect it, are demonstrated.
In addition to the section on Marine Life, you may also vist the Palaeontology and Fossils section of the Museum with samples of the Fauna and Flora of Cyprus as it was millions of years ago.
Palaeontology - Fossils
Palaeontology is the science that deals with the organic world of past geological eras. This science studies fossilised plants and animals that are preserved in rocks. The term includes the remains of these organisms as well as their traces or their marks and any other evidence indicating their existance in the past.
Fossils assist scientists in determining the geological age of rocks and particularly the age of sedimentary rocks. This age can be estimated by the presence of characteristic (indicative) fossils that lived in specific geological eras. The study of fossils provides scientists with useful information and leads to conclusions concerning the rocks in which they have been found and the environment in which they lived.
The fossils of Cyprus originate mainly from marine species, since the majority of sedimentary rock formations are of marine origin. On earth rock formations and mainly in caves and natural grottos are found fossils of pigmy hippopotami, elephants and other mammals. Fossilised pine cones and pine tree branches that have been found in certain areas in the pleocene marls are still of unknown origin as far as their species is concerned. These fossils are witnesses of the earliest presence of pine trees in Cyprus.
Habitats, Forest and Salt Lake
We now enter the third hall, where the visitor can find two of the most important habitats in Cyprus, in the representations of parts of the Paphos Forest and the Larnaka Salt Lake.
The Paphos Forest, the biggest and richest forest in Cyprus, which covers an area of about 620 square kilometers, is the only area in the island where the mouflon (Ovis gmelini ophion), a kind of a wild sheep, can be found. Since 1978 it is considered a species in danger of extinction and is protected by Cyprus legislation. While in the Cedar Valley grows the beautiful Cyprus cedar (Cedrus libanii-brevifolia).
The Larnaka Salt Lake is one of the most important habitats in Europe for water fowl. Thousands of flamingos, wild ducks and other water or shore fowl find refuge in winter here or rest and gather food for their migratory journeys.
We now come to the fourth hall, which is divided in different sections where the visitor can study the various species of the Cyprus Fauna, their anatomy and habits, their feeding requirements etc.
There are glass showcases with insects, butterflies, fowl and characteristic nests of fowl and insects, animal skulls and jaws etc. The collection has also been enriched with a number of mammals from N. America, which will be the nucleus of the Museum's foreign exhibits department.
Another thing that impresses the visitor is the representation of the Cyprus rural yard with all the domestic animals one could find in the Cyprus yards of the old times.
In this section we can see animals that could be seen in the past in a traditional Cypriot farmyard. Such animals are donkeys, sheep, goats, cows, rabbits, etc. These aimas have been raised by Cypriots for centuries and they provided people with provisions which were indispensable for their survival, such as meat, milk, eggs, skins and wool.
Indications suggesting that the inhabitants of Cyprus would raise certain species of domestic animals have existed since the preistoric era and particularly the 7th millennium B.C., during the Aceramic-Neolithic Period. Such animals, would have been, for example, pigs, sheep, goats and donkeys, as well as other species. The ox has also been used in Cyprus since the Early bronze Age, around 2500 B.C.
These prehistoric people, who knew the art of navigation, had traversed the sea and came here, bringing with them their household and cattle. It is known that animals, such as goats and sheep, had already been domesticated in the nearby region of the Middle East, during the Mesolithic Era (10,000 - 12,000 B.C.). This Era is the beginning of colonization of the Meditteranean Sea by man.
We now come to the Insects Department, where you can see collections of insects found in Cyprus.
Insects belong to the Invertebrates and form one of the most numerous groups of animals on Erath, as they can be found in almost every habitat.
Insects play a crucial role in nature although some of them are considered as harmful to Man. Some feed off other harmful for Man insects, thus diminishing their uncontrolled proliferation. Insects themselves constitute a prey to other animals, thus contributing to the intricate biological balance in Nature.
Donations and Collections
Cyprus Carlsberg donated to the Photos Photiades Foundation an initial amount of 1.000.000 C.P., part of which was used for the establishment of the Museum.
The following collections are part of the Museum's exhibits:
* Dr. Andreas Kodros - Collection of Minerals
* Dr. Lefteris hadjisterkotis - Collection of Mediterranean shells and fossils
* Mr. Stellios Hadjistillis - Collection of Shells
* Mr. Nicos Makrides - Collection of North American mammals
* The Veterinary Department Collection of birds and animals
The Museum accepts contributions from Collectors that wish to assist it in its important work. Find out more about leaving a legacy to the future generations, by calling 22585858, 22585834.