The Traditional Boats Lab, created in 2013, has been operating since September 2015 in the warehouse area of ​​the University of Cyprus, at Kallipoleos Street. The purpose of the Lab is to offer students the opportunity to understand the basic principles of ancient and traditional shipbuilding, through practical experience. The students practice shipbuilding and learn the use of shipbuilding lines through the manufacture of scaled wooden models.
The Lab also contributes in the protection and conservation of the maritime cultural heritage of Cyprus. Traditional boats - the last surviving witnesses of shipbuilding evolution of thousands of years - are systematically studied and recorded by the students.

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The MARELab, with the purpose of studying nautical tradition, has taken action to rescue traditional Cypriot vessels. Traditional wooden boats of various types are kept at the Lab:

The vessel Apostolos Andreas (LL13207), which was scheduled for withdrawal and destruction under a relevant program of the Department of Fisheries, was assigned to MARELab and was cut in such a way as to make its main construction parts distinguishable. These various parts are now stored at the open space of the Laboratory's warehouse, at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, where they can be studied by students.
The Lab also has a collection of rare objects and tools of traditional shipbuilding and fishing, some of which are already exhibited at the Museum of the Sea in Ayia Napa.
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The traditional wooden boats of the 20th century are the last tangible evidence of a centuries-old shipbuilding tradition in the Eastern Mediterranean. The study and documentation of their structural, functional and social characteristics are imperative in order to preserve the accumulated technical experience and knowledge which their structure reveals, but also the historical context in which they were created and used. Through the documentation of a boat’s architecture and geometry, its equipment and gear, but also the personal belongings of its crew, we reconstruct the biography of a nautical monument.

AGIOS SPYRIDON, one of the last traditional fishing boats of Cyprus, has been left on dry land for many years, along the modern marina of Latchi, Polis Chrysochous. Built on Crete in 1950, it belongs to the karavοskaro type of vessels (with an elliptical stern). It was brought to Cyprus in 1954, and it was used for fishing along the coasts of the island and the eastern Mediterranean until 2004, when it was withdrawn as a result of a European Programme for the protection of Fisheries Resources. Few such caïques survive in the Aegean today and even fewer are of AGIOS SPYRIDON’s size. Nonetheless, this monument of nautical heritage has been left unprotected and unmaintained for 15 years, which has resulted in its gradual deterioration. The high maintenance cost and its poor current condition led the Council of Polis Chrysochous to decide it should be destroyed.

In February 2018, despite its serious objections to this decision, the MARELab, in collaboration with the Cyprus Institute, took the initiative to organize a documentation project, with the use of conventional and digital survey methods (3D recording, with Laser Scanning and drone-led Photogrammetry); the digital model that was created has already been uploaded on the Ephemerawebpage: . That initiative was supported by the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research and the Municipality of Polis Chrysochous. 


The objective of the current project AGIOS SPYRIDON: Comprehensive Documentation, Recording and Digital Preservation is to preserve digitally, in detail, the morphology of the wooden boat by documenting it carefully while it is being dismantled, in a controlled manner. Recording, of course, will only preserve the image of the vessel, since AGIOS SPYRIDON will be destroyed in a few days, despite the fact that it is a palimpsest of a centuries-old shipbuilding tradition and a case of tangible evidence of the labour and skills by generations of Cypriot seamen and fishermen that sailed on it for 50 years. It is the first time that such a project will be carried out in the eastern Mediterranean, aiming to collect enough data to rebuild AGIOS SPYRIDON and to reconstruct its biography, thus saving it in the communal memory. 

Characteristic parts of the boat will be preserved in MARELab’s storerooms for further study, whereas an effort is being made to distribute the remaining ones to be reused as raw material for arts and crafts. 

The project is funded by the Honor Frost Foundation, UK, and the Polis Chrysochous Municipality. Dr Stella Demesticha has the role of general scientific supervision, with Constantinos Nicolaou (MA) as field director and the participation of graduate students of the University of Cyprus. Dr Costas Damianidis (architect, specialist in vernacular shipbuilding) and his associates will undertake the documentation of the ship’s construction, whereas the Cyprus Institute will complete the 3D recording of the vessel.




MARELab facebook page:

Traditional Boats of Cyprus:Παραδοσιακά-Σκάφη-Κύπρος-Traditional-Boats-Cyprus-216474075747969/

Agios Spyridon Project:

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In 2012, Konstantinos Nicolaou, in the framework of his study of the Cypriot nautical tradition during his studies at the Department of History and Archeology of the University of Cyprus, constructed a copy of a traditional Cypriot boat, of Pasaara type. The Anerousa was donated to the MARELab, and has since been  donated to the Municipal Museum of the Sea in order for it to be accessible to visitors of the museum.


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The first workshop of wooden shipbuilding in Cyprus was successfully organized by MARELab last June (01-02/06 και 08-09/06/ 2019). During the workshop, which was open to the public, the participants had the opportunity to attend lectures on various subjects: local shipbuilding tradition, methods of design and construction, typology, as well as the cultural value of the traditional boats. The practical component of the workshop included applications on boat maintenance, such as caulking, painting, etc. on two of the six boats of our collection: AGIOS CHARALAMBOS (liberty) and ADAMANTINI (botis).  The interest of the participants was very encouraging for more activities in the future