A GUIDE TO
XARKIS FESTIVAL 2021
AND HOW IT WAS SET UP
Founded in 2013, Xarkis works with cultural agents and communities,
involving people from diverse educational, disciplinary, professional,
generational and ethnic backgrounds. We are a nomadic, millennial
non-profit organization based in different parts of
Europe and travelling across communities in rural and urban
contexts. We deliver site-specific projects that are inspired by the
experience of everyday life in specific localities, employing socially engaged
practices in each instance.
Xarkis was first conceptualised as a social experiment, during the course of
a Masters project as part of the Communication design program at Central
Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (2012-2014). It was originally
intended as a design assembly organised in a rural community of Cyprus (Arsos
village, 2013), and was tested as a means to build a communal identity, community
cohesion and cultural resilience through creative practices. In essence, this
was a creative reaction against the economic crisis which was taking its toll in
different parts of the world, including Cyprus. Taking the form of a Festival, we
used DIY cultural practices and brought together a range of stakeholders into
one big self-organised celebration. The Festival evolved into a transnational
exchange, with cultural actors, including residency coordinators, visual
artists, musicians, designers, performers, researchers and educators coming
from all over the world to engage with the local communities, and participate in its
Having started with limited assets and with an interest in working with
existing opportunities, our mission became the use of local, found resources, skills,
desires, needs of people in each given region.
This was achieved through a matchmaking mechanism, which nurtured
collaborations between creative practitioners, educators and ‘ordinary’ residents
from various walks of life, in cities and rural communities. We are proud to say
that we hold these same values today and apply them in all our projects.
Since 2013, Xarkis also became registered as a non-profit organisation based in
Cyprus, working in arts and culture via socially engaged, community-oriented
Examples of other projects include Xarkis’ award winning social
entrepreneurship initiative and crowd sourced oral history library called
Voicing Stories, a UNESCO supported visual documentary about the making of a
documentary and participatory design workshops in urban and rural contexts.
BACK TO THE ROOTS
Every year we set a theme, which expands on conversations and conclusions
drawn from the previous year. In Xarkis’ 2019 Artists’ Residency program and
Festival edition, we focused on the theme of ‘Borders’.
To a certain degree the theme choice was prophetic: the global pandemic
completely transformed the way we live, from shutting the physical
borders to making us re-evaluate the significance of human connection and
climate change. This year’s theme ‘Back to the Roots: Environment and Society’
encourages us to analyse how rural heritage is tied to green living. In the face of
the climate emergency, and given our diachronic interest in learning with rural
communities through practice-based collaborative research, we feel the need
to go back to the roots – this time to explore the relationship between the
environment and society in our communities more deeply.
What can we learn from rural wisdom when it comes to coexisting with the
How can we thrive in the ecological future of Cyprus?
These are some of the questions that the Xarkis 2021 edition of the Festival aims
to address through research, collaborative work and art.
12 artists from such countries as Cyprus, Poland, Greece,
United States and Kosovo are conducting research and creating a range
of site-spesific artworks and participatory workshop s, in collaboration
with Lympia village and its locals.
This year we offer a range of workshops, sound art installations, music
events including live performances from Cypriot and foreign acts,
dance improvisations, upcycling activities, a “masa”
potluck, walks, bike rides, discussions, lectures and more.
You can access the full festival programme here.
LYMPIA VILLAGE, NICOSIA
Lympia is one of the biggest villages in Nicosia district with a population of 2,694
people (2011). It is located at an extremely advantageous position, since it is in the
middle of two urban centres, Nicosia and Larnaca, which contributed greatly to
the development of Lympia’s community.
A local tradition states, the foundation of the village dates to the end of the 16th
century. In 1570, when the Turks attacked neighbouring villages, their residents
had to seek shelter on some farms that pre-existed at the location where Lympia
MUST-SEE & DO
Like a colourful patchwork, Lympia village blends traditional and
contemporary elements of architecture and living. Under one roof you can find
ancient churches, street art, communal gardens and fine stone-built houses.
We recommend that you start exploring the village from the old village centre.
Agios Georgios (St George Church), built in 1901, remains one of the main meeting
points for locals. The ‘Chat Cafe’ to the left of the old church is a common hangout
spot where you can idulge Frappe (an iced coffee) and offers a nice view to the lower
part of the village. After having your refreshment, you can walk down the road and
turn left; on the way to Lympia’s Communal Park, you will see some vibrant murals
and graffiti. Each road in this part of the village has traditional stone houses,
some of which were built between 100 and 300 years ago and have recently been
restored to accommodate new visitors to the village. On the hill, in close proximity
to the Park, you will find the white new building of the Cultural Centre, where the
residents will carry out and complete their art projects for the Festival. If you
fancy trying Cypriot meze after your tour, you can visit Peiragmena tavern that
is open daily (apart from Mondays) at 7:30pm.
If you have a car and would like to explore the nearby areas, we suggest that you
visit the Archeological Museum Ancient Idalion in Dali (16km), try some of the
finest locally crafted beer at Humour and Pivo breweries in Dali and Alampra
(10km) and have a walk around Lympia Water Reservoir (10km), a gem for local
GETTING TO LYMPIA
Lympia is located right off the A2 highway and is about 25 minutes drive from
both Nicosia and Larnaca. Click here to get directions from Google Maps.
The village has three designated parking spots*. They are marked on the map
below. The navigation signs at the village entrace will also direct you to the parking.
*The parking at the School is available for use after 3pm on Friday afternoon, throughout the
You can take the bus n.158 from Dionysios Solomos Square to Alambra bus station.
From Alambra, the rural bus n.63 takes you direclty to Lympia. Another option is to hop on the
bus n.56 from goes to Athienou and stops at Lympia. There might be a gap in the bus service,
especially during the weekend, so please check the bus schedule in advance and plan your trip
Route and time schedule for bus n.158 from Nicosia to Alambra
Route and time schedule for bus n.63 from Alambra to Lympia
Route and time schedule for bus n.56 from Alambra to Athienou with a stop at Lympia
A bus n.409 that goes to Nicosia stops at Lympia and the nearby villages.
Take an intercity bus n. from Limassol to Nicosia or Larnaca and then follow the route
Route and time schedule for the bus from Limassol to Larnaca
Route and time schedule for the bus from Limassol to Nicosia (some of the buses stop at
Alambra station, from where you can make a transfer to Lympia)
Take an intercity bus from Paphos to Nicosia or Larnaca and then follow the route described
Route and time schedule for the bus from Paphos to Nicosia (some of the buses stop at
Alambra station, from where you can make a transfer to Lympia)
We advice you to have cash to pay for the public transport tickets.
TICKETS & REGISTRATIONS
HOW CAN I BOOK MY TICKET?
Book your ticket for the three days of the Festival on the
official website (€25 euro, all activities inlcuded). Depending on
availability, you will also be able to get your three day ticket on the
door. You can get your daily ticket at the Festival Welcome Desk
(€15 euro, all activities included). From every purchase we donate €1 euro to
Koinon Olympion towards tree planting in Lympia.
HOW DO I ATTEND AN ACTIVITY?
After booking your ticket, we highly recommend you to online
register for the workshops you’d like to attend. Due to safety measures,
each activity has a limited number of spaces, and they are filled on first
come, first served basis. The online registrations should be made through
You can join an activity on the spot only if there is a free space available.
DO I HAVE TO BRING ANYTHING FOR THE ACTIVITIES?
If you’d like to join a bike ride in the village, please bring your own bike.
You are very welcome to bring objects such as fabrics, furniture, plastics,
glass and any natural materials for a series of upcycling workshops with
Ilaria Bianchi, Maria Pithara, MotiBW circular design, the theatrical group
Paravasis of Lympia and Kyriakos/studioaktarma.
YOUR SAFE PASS
To attend the Festival you are required to bring a SafePass (a physical or digital
vaccination certificate; an antigen test taken within 72 hours of your entrance
time; a certificate that proves your had Covid in the last 6 months).
It’s your responsibility to get in touch with the Xarkis Team if you developed any
symptoms of common cold after attending any workshop or a festival activity. In
case you have Covid, we will share your contact details with the Ministry of Health.
Your data will be kept for 3 weeks, and won’t be shared with anyone apart from the
Ministry in case tested positive for Covid. If you have any symptoms (cough,
fever, tiredness, loss of taste or smell) you should not attend the Festival.
FACE MASKS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING
You are required to wear a mask during all indoor activities and outdoor workshops
(this does not apply to kids below 12 years old). Please respect social distancing
and use hand sanytizers provided at the site.
Please dispose your masks and gloves in a designated bin.
CAMPING IN LYMPIA
There is a free camping site next to the Cultural Centre (Politistiko Kentro), which
can accommodate up to 30 tents. There is no need to book a spot in advance.
The Cultural Centre has a shower and toilets, as well as drinkable water and a
recyclng station, where you can store drinks and food.
Nicosia and Larnaca districts have a variety of agrotourism accommodation,
where you can stay if you choose to visit the festival for several days.
Below you can find selected agrotourism housing near Lympia (30-40
minutes drive). Please check online their availability for the festival days.
Danae House Bed & Breakfast
Eveleos Holiday Country House
Garden Kamara House
Konatzi Tis Marikkas Tziai Touyianni
Porfyrios County House
House of Achilles
WHAT CAN I EAT?
There will be food stalls available, from where you can
purchase traditional meat dishes (souvlakia), thai food (vegan and
vegetarian options availabole) and sweets, inlcuding creeps and
WHAT CAN I DRINK?
We will operate a bar throughout the three day
festival with juicy options including cocktails, beer, mixers and
non-alcoholic options includingsmoothies, juices, water and coffee.
Also, don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle that you can
refill at any time at our water stations.
CAN I COME WITH KIDS?
We’d love to see your family at the Festival. We have several
workshops tailored for youngsters on Saturday, the 16th of October.
The entrance for children under 12 years old is free.
CAN I COME IN A WHEELCHAIR?
Lympia is a steep village, with some sites hardly accessible with a
wheelchair. Unfortunately, there is no accessible toilet at the site.
If you need special assistance, please get in touch with our team and we do our best to help.
CAN I BRING MY DOG?
We are pet-friendly and kindly ask you to follow certain rules to maintain the Festival environment. Please keep your dog on the leash and be aware of the fact that you won’t be able to access indoor workshops, installations and activities.
WHAT IF I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE FESTIVAL?
In case you’d like to know more or have an unresolved question, get in touch with
Anya, our Hospitality Coordinator, at 99 485 812, our simply send us a message on Facebook.
HOW CAN I SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT XARKIS?
We’re glad you asked! Tag us @xarkisfestival on social media to share your stories
and impressions about the Festival.