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Research programmes


The Research Programme ‘Zefyros: Travel texts on Cyprus (15th-18th c.)’ was designed, developed in 2016-2017 and funded by the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, under the scientific supervision of Julia Chatzipanagioti-Sangmeister, Professor of Modern Greek Literature at the University of Cyprus. The programme addresses the indexing of information on Cyprus in an innovative scientific way through travel literature.

A collective work centred on Cyprus

Twenty-five researchers in seven countries (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the Czech Republic) collaborated in gathering and classifying information on the natural and built space, the culture and history of Cyprus. They indexed 125 books on travel literature found in the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation Collection written in 11 languages (English, French, German, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish and Czech). The literature information is derived from Cyprus and the Levant: Rare Books from the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, compiled by Leonora Navari, 3 vols, Athens 2016.

The first step towards the dissemination of the results of the ZEFYROS Research Programme, addressed to both a scientific and a wider audience, was taken through the 4th International Conference of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cyprus. The Conference Proceedings Textualising the Experience – Digitalising the Text: Cyprus through Travel Literature (15th-18th Centuries) are available.

An innovative indexing method

Unlike previous programmes, ZEFYROS applied recording criteria resulting from the study of the structure of travel texts. Starting from the model of an archetypal travel narrative, as found in the monograph 'Graecia Mendax': Das Bild der Griechen in der Französischen Reiseliteratur des 18. Jahrhunderts (Vienna 2002), Professor Julia Chatzipanagioti-Sangmeister created an innovative scientific model of information retrieval, in collaboration with the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation. This new pioneering methodology, made available to all of the programme's scientific collaborators, highlights individual pieces of information, while maintaining its wider structure and consequently its textual and historical context.

Connecting to the INSPIRAL portal

ZEFYROS is now linked to the INSPIRAL online portal, created to cover other areas of the Eastern Mediterranean (including Cyprus), so that one can easily access information through the original texts. This online portal on travelling and historical geography hosts rare 15th-18th century documents and is gradually building its international character by hosting content from public and private collections.