Thursday, 03 September 2015 09:18

A new local mythology

Most people know that Copenhagen has its own mermaid, but many do not know that Limassol also has one. It is sitting high above the rooftops of Limassol’s old town and marina at the old port, keeping a watchful eye over seafarers and visitors.

The Mermaid of Porto Bello was put to its lofty heights onto top of the landmark Porto Bello Business & Cultural Centre in May 2014. The block, which also houses the listed building of the Hadjipavlou Winery (est. 1844), is a blend of old and new, with shops, a bistro and an Italian wine bar on the stone-walled ground floor and an adjacent five-storey office building.

Roof-top terrace with a view
The building is located between Limassol’s old port roundabout and the entrance to the marina. Its renovation was completed in 2013 by Interlink & D. Nicolaou Developers Ltd and its rooftop is accessible for visitors who can go to ‘meet’ the mermaid on the building’s terrace and enjoy an impressive view of Limassol, its surroundings, the sea and the mountains.

The creator of the mermaid
The building’s owner Christos Nicolaou had been searching high and low for the right kind of mermaid and finally met with Cypriot sculptor Philippos Yiapanis. Upon visiting the artist’s sculpture garden in Fasoula and seeing a mermaid at the studio, he decided that this was the kind of art that would suit the style of the building and of the fairytale ‘The Mermaid of Porto Bello’ by Costas Papageorgiou.

Yiapanis says he was touched by the tale and though his works had largely avoided the popular area of Greek mythology, he loved creating the mermaid. He added a bit of his own story, as he suggested that it makes more sense for a mermaid to sit on a wave rather than on a rock and that if she has to look out into the sun all day, she’d surely want to shade her eyes.
Today the sculptor feels proud that in addition to his statue ‘Limassol My Love: Loulis’ at the entrance of Limassol on the Molos, his work now also gets to be present at the highest spot of the town with the Mermaid of Porto Bello.

The fairytale
The shapely sculpture tells the story of ‘The Mermaid of Porto Bello’ — a fairy-tale based on Hellenic mythology. The central character is the sister of Alexander the Great, who decides to sacrifice her human existence and transforms into a mermaid to search for the ‘elixir of immortality’ to give her brother eternal life.
Her long and adventurous journey eventually leads her to a sheltered beach in Limassol and the harbour of Porto Bello. There, she drinks the sweet wine of Dionysus at a glass palace, called ‘The Porto Bello’, where the fountain of youth is located. She settles at the highest point of the roof, overlooking the sea and greeting the sailors passing by.

The Mermaid shop and gallery
The fairy-tale and its sculpture have been embodied in books, CDs and replica sculptures in various sizes which are available at the Mermaid Parade shop at the ground floor of the Porto Bello building.

Visitors will encounter artist Ioannis Karamberidis painting sculptures there. The self-educated and self-taught artist is originally from Greece but has lived for many years in Germany and now Cyprus. Karamberidis studied philosophy, theology and psychology and used to paint/renovate icons, but later moved on to work that allows for more creativity. He current decorates mermaid statues (heights range from 65cm to 2m). Karamberides is projecting the story of Daphne and Apollo and an interpretation of it will accompany the finished piece of art.

Opening hours to the shop are weekdays 8am-1pm and 2.30-6.30pm and Wednesdays and Saturdays 8am - 2pm.

Visiting hours to the viewing platform are Monday-Friday 9am-12.30pm. Cost €3
Tel: 25 507500 or visit and  

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of August 28th 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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