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'Rigas Feraios Charta' exhibition in Cyprus

Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, March - December 2021

As part of the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the 1821 Greek Revolution, the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation is hosting a life-sized facsimile as well as a digital exhibition of the Rigas Feraios Charta by the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation.

The 'Rigas Feraios Charta' exhibition is displayed at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation building in the old part of Nicosia, from 6 May to 31 December 2021. Entrance is free.

The digital exhibition runs from 24 March to 31 December 2021.

More information about Rigas Velestinlis and the Charta

Born in 1757 in the village of Velestino, Thessaly, near the ancient Greek city of Pherae, Rigas Velestinlis or Feraios had a truly remarkable life. On 24 July 1798 he and seven of his collaborators were strangled by the Turks in Belgrade; one of his collaborators was Ioannis Karatzas, who hailed from Nicosia. Their bodies were tossed into the Danube.

The Rigas Charta, one of Feraios' most striking works that is also of national importance, was first published by Feraios himself in Vienna (1796-1797) on twelve leafs, each measuring approximately 50x70cm, in 1,220 copies. Of these, only 15 copies survive to the present day. The Charta signals the first major renaissance in Greek cartography, where geography is punctuated by political elements. After all, Feraios' ideology draws from a principle of the French Enlightenment that holds that geography and history are tightly linked.

The Charta is Feraios' most premium drawing. Harnessing his own deep knowledge and vision for the enslaved Greeks, the Charta provided an ideological framing for the Revolution. For Feraios, educating the Greek people, with the popular means available at the time, was an imperative. Through his Charta he lays out the territorial extent of the free Greece he envisioned. The structure of the images and symbols imparts a sense of the mentality of the Greeks of the era.

In a way the Charta also serves as a geometrical accessory to Feraios' other great work, the Thourios. It is for this reason precisely that the Austrians, who had Feraios arrested, viewed the Charta as evidence of his revolutionary activity.

Today the Charta - much more than a map with political and historical connotations - is a rare national treasure.

The exhibition is part of a series of events celebrating 200 years since the Greek Revolution of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation under the rubric "Freedom". Sylvia Ioannou Foundation also participates in this series with the exhibition «Η Ιστορία έχει Πρόσωπο».

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all indicated safety measures shall apply for the duration of the events.