New to the list of offerings at Annabelle’s Ouranos Wellbeing Spa is a facial treatment known as ‘The Method’. Developed by London-based celebrity facialist Anastasia Achilleos, this facial is so much more than a facial—it is a holistic approach to wellness and beautification for both men and women. During the ninety-minute session, you will rest face-up on a soothing matt filled with warm water; your therapist will tuck your hands under the matt for added comfort. Soothing music creates a meditative atmosphere. The facial begins not with the face, but with the feet—they are softly rubbed as the legs are gently shaken, setting up your body for the rest of the treatment. Next comes a deep muscle release of the back, neck, shoulders, and arms. The goal is to align the central nervous system and release tension in connective tissues, yielding a relaxed and youthful feeling and appearance. Turning to the face, the therapist prepares a combination of organic plant extracts and essential oils to treat your specific needs. Therapeutic techniques such as extraction, masking, lifting and sculpting, and lymphatic drainage are employed. The entire face is attended to, leading to reduction in eye fatigue, relief of sinus pressure, relaxation of the jaw, and rejuvenation of the skin. Our therapist has been trained by Anastasia herself to perform the techniques she perfected over 20 years of practice. Try it and you’ll see why she has developed a devoted following among film actors and other celebrities.
Talk to anyone who lived in Pafos in the 1970s, and you will learn that the harbour has changed considerably since then. The harbour’s first hotel opened in 1972-73, initiating the area’s development as a tourist destination (it continues to operate as Almyra, Annabelle’s sister hotel located next door). Back then, the main commercial activity in the harbour was fishing, though you might have seen artists working in the stone warehouses left after the decline of the carob trade. This image of Pafos as a sleepy fishing village belies the rich history of its harbour. Ancient Pafos (or Palaepaphos) sat some 15 kilometres to the south-east; there, the sanctuary of Aphrodite drew pilgrims from throughout the Mediterranean world for millennia. Possibly due to a build-up of sediment in the harbour of ancient Pafos, its king founded Nea Pafos in the fourth century BCE in our current location; pilgrims alit in Nea Pafos and made a procession to the temple. The new settlement became the capital of Cyprus during the Roman era, was visited by the Apostles, suffered a catastrophic earthquake in the fourth century CE, and endured invasions throughout the Middle Ages. Evidence of this past abounds, with remnants of Roman villas, an ancient odeon, and an early Christian basilica revealed in the archaeological park. Visit the harbour’s medieval castle and consider the successive waves of peoples (Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, Britons) who conquered it. Contemporary travellers come for the sun and the sea—and to unravel the complex history of the region.
Heading up the Apostle Paul’s Road from Kato Pafos to the town centre, you will see a large tree covered with ribbons. Stop for a look and you will find that the tree, a terebinth, is rooted in what was once an underground cemetery. Legend has it that this was the catacomb of Agia Solomoni, a Jewish woman who, along with her seven Maccabee sons, embraced Christianity in the Hellenistic era. As she watched, her sons were tortured and killed by the King of Syria for refusing to accept idolatry and to give up their belief in God. Solomoni is honoured as a saint in the orthodox Christian church for her martyrdom. Descend the stairs into the catacomb and you will find a room filled with Christian icons and votive candles, two gated chambers, and two additional spaces carved into the stone. Frescoes on the walls date from the 12th century, while graffiti by Crusaders date from the 13th. In the central atrium, you can see the roots of the terebinth tree emerging from the stone. Why do visitors tie bits of cloth to the tree’s branches? Some believers make these offerings in the hope that the saint will answer their prayers. Common wishes are for fertility, cure from disease, and care for deceased relatives in the afterlife. If you would like to make an offering, you can purchase handkerchiefs and scarves at the adjacent kiosk. Some worshippers inscribe their prayers with pen on white handkerchiefs.
Almyra and Annabelle are joining forces this year to celebrate World Environment Day. Following the example of its official observation by the United Nations, our celebration of the environment will occur on 16 June. Gather on the promenade at 10:00 by our seaside restaurants, Ouzeri and Mediterraneo, and participate in our art performance! You are asked to bring plastic bottles—the more colourful the better—that we can use in the creation of an art piece. If you see any plastic waste on your way to the celebration, please pick it up and add it to our stock. Artists Katerina Foukara and Arsenty Lysenkov and teenaged students from their art studio will take the lead in assembling a work that draws attention to the problem of marine plastics and the need for recycling. They will also make a ten-metre square drawing of marine creatures with charcoal on the concrete promenade. Those passing by will be encouraged to continue the project by drawing on the promenade throughout the harbour. Local officials will join in the celebration. Let’s get everyone in Pafos interested in keeping the harbour free from plastic waste! After the celebration, the art piece will be completely recycled.
Annabelle is the first luxury, five-star resort to have been opened in Cyprus. It was founded by Alecos Michaelides, a hotel operator from Farmagusta who fled that city after the 1974 Turkish invasion. Michaelides moved to what was then a quiet fishing harbour—Pafos—and began to develop the area’s potential for tourism. He was responsible for opening the Paphos Beach Hotel, the first resort on the harbour (in 2003 the Michaelides family upgraded it to five-star status and rechristened it Almyra). After purchasing the land on which it would be built, Michaelides set about constructing the main building of Annabelle for debut in 1985; the opening ceremony was overseen by George Thomas, the Right Honourable Viscount Tonypandy, a former Speaker of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons. The property continued to develop in stages, with the second wing and the grotto opening in 1987 and the waterfall debuting in 1989. Because luxury service was new to area, Michaelides recruited staff from the area and trained them: Annabelle came to be known as the ‘University of Pafos’ because of the intensity of the training. The kitchens developed the Food from the Village concept, using sophisticated culinary techniques and the freshest local ingredients to make traditional dishes sing. In 2018, the hotel reopened after a €10 million renovation to reveal a new rooftop retreat sporting a restaurant, a spa and fitness centre, and an indoor pool; new duplex suites and renovated guest rooms completed the refresh. Annabelle intends to make history for years to come.
When artist Sergis Hadjiadamos first gained access to the photographic archive of his uncle in 2006, he had high expectations. The uncle, Spyros Haritou, was one of the first photographers in early twentieth century Pafos, having opened a studio in 1925. Haritou made portraits of well-known residents and recorded the religious, cultural, and political life of the city. The size of the archive is indeed impressive: 1653 cartons, each containing 10 glass negative plates. Having been stored in the basement of the photographer’s house for decades, though, the archive was badly damaged by humidity. Hadjiadamos made numerous, unsuccessful attempts to detach the negatives from each other and make prints from them. After receiving permission from his relatives to use the archive in any way he saw fit, Hadjiadamos decided to make images from the damaged negatives using high-resolution scanners. What emerged are portraits distorted by the passage of time, with limbs and facial characteristics faded or dissolved and individuals layered upon one another. Hadjiadamos transferred selected images onto aluminium composite sheets, fixing the remaining traces into a new medium—and then he further embellished them with rough brushstrokes and interpolated details. These new works are featured in the exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’, which opens on 8 June 2019 at 19:30 on the Mezzanine of Annabelle. The opening features remarks by Charalambos Mbakirtzis, Director of the Anastasios G. Leventis Foundation, and curator Kostas Prapoglou. Viewers are invited to contemplate the process of preserving and reconstructing memory through the artist’s interpretation of the traces from the archive. The exhibition continues through 30 June.