Artist: Ioannis Notaras
Location: Dionysios Solomos square, Nicosia. Nicosia district
Dimensions: 3.50 meters approx.
Category: Public Figures, Union (énosis), Public art before 1960
Photography: Evangelia Matthopoulou
Solomos (1798-1857) is regarded as the national Greek poet. His poems are constantly referring to the aspired freedom of the enslaved Greek nation and to the Greek War of Independence (1821). One of his poems, the “Hymn to Liberty” written in 1823 became the Greek national anthem in 1865. Solomos is considered as the Cypriot national poet, too, as, officially since 1966 Cyprus shares the same national anthem with Greece.
The initiative for the bust was taken by the Hellenic Intellectual Association of Cyprus (ΕΠΟΚ/EPOK), which coordinated the fundraising. The bust was placed at Ipirou square, on one of the entrances to the old city of Nicosia, and the unveiling took place on June 20th 1954. Over the years and because of the monument’s presence, the square became known as Solomos square. On November 4th 2011 the square underwent an extensive renovation and was officially renamed as Solomos square.
The bust is standing on a tall slender, fluted column, upon a round basis. In front of it and on dark marble panels inserted in the pavement, are engraved Solomos’ verses.
The timing of the unveiling, at the very beginning of the official EOKA struggle, created an opportunity for national fervor in support of the énosis (union) ideology.
~ Ελευθερία (Eleftheria), March 12, 1954, p. 2.
~ Έθνος (Ethnos), May 7, 1952, p. 2.
~ Έθνος (Ethnos), April 1, 1954, p. 2.
~ Έθνος (Ethnos), April 15, 1954, p. 1.
~ Έθνος (Ethnos), June 22, 1954, p. 1.
~ Φιλελεύθερος (Fileleftheros), October 12, 2011.
~ Αρχείο Δήμου Λευκωσίας (Nicosia Municipality Archive), 06-7.18, document October 29, 2008; Meeting Minutes, November 4, 2008.
~ Αρχείο Δήμου Λευκωσίας (Nicosia Municipality Archive), 06-7.19, Meeting Minutes February 19, 2009.
~ Matthopoulou, Evangelia. 2012. «Μνημεία, Προτομές και Ανδριάντες στο Δήμο Λευκωσίας» (“Monuments, busts and statues in Nicosia Municipality”), Φιλολογική Κύπρος 2009-2011 (Philoloyiki Kypros 2009-2011), Nicosia: Hellenic Intellectual Association of Cyprus.