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The Foundation

It all began in the late 1970s, following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, when Sylvia Ioannou's love of her homeland and her natural interest in people prompted her to start collecting travel books, manuscripts and maps from the 15th century. Her vision then – and even more so today – was to save, preserve and disseminate the cultural and historical treasure of Cyprus. This vision is complemented by the belief that knowledge must be shared.

The founder

Books have always been Sylvia Ioannou’s great passion. She has been collecting rare books and maps of Cyprus and the greater region for over 40 years. The main reason was her longing for her place of birth, which she was forced to abandon after the Turkish invasion in 1974, as her family home was located in the neutral zone. An additional motive was the destruction of the very prominent Library of Dimitrios Marangos in Ammochostos (Famagusta). By amassing her own collection, Sylvia Ioannou contributed in her own way to the restoration and protection of the island’s historical heritage. Fulfilling this goal, even though it has essentially been achieved, is still an ongoing challenge to which she always responds guided by her keen interest in knowledge, with infinite generosity and love of her homeland.

It's for all of us

Founded in 2009, the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation is based in Liechtenstein. It incorporated its founder’s collection and to date contains more than 3,000 rare books and maps. The collection is constantly being enriched and is one of the most important in the world regarding Cyprus. This priceless legacy has now been made available to all interested parties through the Foundation’s publications, its research and educational programs, its conferences and its other activities.
A representative sample of the Collection has been digitised, posted online and made available to researchers through the Foundation’s website.

The Sylvia Ioannou Foundation addresses with the same sense of respect and responsibility both the academic and the educational community; collectors and institutions; and anyone wishing to partake of this inexhaustible source of knowledge. The Foundation is not just its Collection. It is also a cradle of information and memory which generates new ideas and actively supports young scholars through its annual scholarship program, thus contributing to education and culture.

When the love you feel
for where you’ve come from
becomes a private collection
of knowledge, information
and memory, it needs to be shared,
to become an open inheritance
and an accessible source of knowledge
and inspiration for all humanity.

Because it’s the past
that informs the present
and illuminates the future

It’s for all of us