Location: Pelendri – Kato Amiantos main road, Pelendri. Limassol district
Category: ΕΟΚΑ 1955-59
Photography: Evangelia Matthopoulou
The “Forest of the 1955-59 Heroes” is an extensive and complex memorial place made up of separate but interconnected parts: the Propylaea; the stele for the victims; the Fighters’ Hall; the hero-martyrs stairs; the Panayia Eleftheriotissa chapel; the EOKA oath text; the Honor Monument or Liberty Monument; the memory flame; and the heroes’ grove.
The Pelendri memorial place is dedicated to the hundred and eight EOKA 1955-59 fighters who died during the struggle. Around Pelendri area a considerable number of conflicts took place and many hideouts of EOKA fighters were located.
The initiative for the memorial was taken by the EOKA 1955-59 fighters’ association of Limassol city and district (ΣΑΠΕΛ/SAPEL). Subsequently the coordination of the construction, which lasted from 1994 to 2001, and its funding was undertaken by the Board for the Historical Memory of the EOKA 1955-59 struggle (ΣΙΜΑΕ/SIMAE). The first inauguration took place on September 28th 1997, while some parts of the construction were still pending completion. A second event followed on November 11, 2001 specifically for the exhibition place in the Fighters’ Hall.
On the walls of the Propylaea two inserted copper plaques bear the portraits of Archbishop Makarios III and Georgios Grivas (known as Digenis) made by Leonidas Spanos.
Close by, in the Fighters Hall, is situated Evangelos Moustakas’ work titled “Liberty breaks its chains”. It is a modern, abstract synthesis in brass, based in insinuation than in narration. However, the dynamic formation of the trapped in the rods liberty, or victory, clearly pictures the struggle required.
In the basement of the hall a series of paintings titled “Hymn to Liberty”, made by Andreas Makariou, narrate in a stylized way eloquent scenes of martyrdom, fighting, death, hope and heroic deeds. Andreas Makariou is also the artist of the paintings at the “Agios Georgios Boat Museum” in Chlorakas, where the second extensive and complex memorial dedicated to EOKA 1955-59 is located.
The path, the “hero-martyrs stairs”, which leads to the Honor’s Monument or Liberty Monument is 650 meters long and is made up of 108 steps, each one symbolically dedicated to one of the dead fighters. Their names are engraved on marble plaques and inserted in the steps.
The Honor’s Monument or Liberty Monument is situated on a plateau overlooking the valley and the surrounding mountains. It consists of three parts: a low horizontal cement wall, a vertical pillar and the altar with the sacred fire, the eternal flame.
On the cement wall Evangelos Moustakas has carved a bas relief on a white marble plaque which symbolically and in a stylized manner narrates the martyrdom of the fighters. The waving flag, the replicated pieta pattern, the angel of victory who hastens the dead, and the sun implying hope, life and symbolizing resurrection make part of the narration. The end result bears strong aesthetic similarities to the reliefs on the commemorative wall in Chlorakas’ commemoration place made by the same artist. Under the bas relief, on the sloped surface of the marble is engraved the EOKA oath extending and accentuating the preceding visual narration.
The inauguration of the memorial place took an extensive celebrative and symbolic form: a number of EOKA memorials all over Cyprus were symbolically selected by SIMAE to join with religious rituals for the Pelendri main events. In addition, on the eve of the inauguration a ceremonial ritual torch flame was lit at each selected memorial site and they were carried to Pelendri to light its altar. The flame was kept lit over night and during the inauguration ceremonies the following day.
~ Φιλελεύθερος (Fileleftheros), September 22, 1997, p. 8.
~ Φιλελεύθερος (Fileleftheros), September 24, 1997, p. 4.
~ Κρατικό Αρχείο Κύπρου, Αρχείο Πολιτιστικών Υπηρεσιών Υπουργείου Παιδείας & Πολιτισμού (State Archive of Cyprus): 268/1968/12, Meeting Minutes September 27, 1994.
~ Ιστορικό Αρχείο ΣΙΜΑΕ (Historical Archive of the Board for the Historical Memory of the EOKA 1955-59 struggle), 17.94.7, vol. 7, Meeting Minutes September 14, 2008.
~ Ιστορικό Αρχείο ΣΙΜΑΕ (Historical Archive of the Board for the Historical Memory of the EOKA 1955-59 struggle), 17.2008.9, document June 6, 2008.
~ Ιστορικό Αρχείο ΣΙΜΑΕ (Historical Archive of the Board for the Historical Memory of the EOKA 1955-59 struggle), 17.2009.10, Meeting Minutes May 7, 2009.