Hortus Ignotus. The Unknown Garden
In company with the aphid and the grasshopper
But also the spider mite, the tiger moth, the leaf miner,
The mole and the hover-fly
The praying mantis that devours them all,
We shall be sharing leaves, petals, sky,
in this incredible garden
both they and I transitory.
NICOSSIENSES, Niki Marangou, poet.
From Strabo, the Greek geographer who visited Cyprus in the first Century BC, to the Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria, a member of the Hapsburg Royal family who visited Cyprus in 1873, recorded travelogues repeatedly refer to the gardens of Nicosia as an identifying element of the city. Firstly used to grow fruit-trees in the Lusignan Era, the gardens would later house a variety of exotic plants and animals under the Venetian Rule and they would also become a mystical domestic space during the Ottoman Rule.
Wether they were hidden on the back of houses and buildings, or considered a focal point for daily domestic routine, they have claimed their historical place in the Cypriot capital city as spaces of great privacy but also capable to open up the mind and the senses towards unknown and mystical dimensions.