Since antiquity, emperors, dictators, prime ministers and presidents have fought to occupy and possess the island of Cyprus. Today, the island is of central importance in the tense political climate of the Middle East. Two years ago, the boundary between north and south Nicosia, the last divided capitol in Europe, has been opened - for the first time in over three decades, visitors can travel back and forth without even a simple stamp in their passport. Like Nicosia, Athens is a city that has undergone radical change in the last decade. In 1991, workers in Athens broke ground on a state-of-the-art subway system, but every meter dug by the metropontikas (metro-mouse) uncovered the remains of the city's past: prehistoric burials, Greek sanctuaries, Roman columns and capitals, Byzantine walls and Ottoman houses. Digging halted while archeologists surveyed the sites. Many of the objects can now be seen in mini-museums located next to ticket counters and inbetween escalators at transit stops throughout the city.

During this M-Term Study trip to Athens and Nicosia, students will have an opportunity to study two related environments that are undergoing immense political, urban, and cultural change. In Nicosia, where our study will be supported by the Cyprus Institute, students will examine the rapidly changing city within a broad historical context that will include learning about the ancient, medieval, colonial and modern history of Cyprus. Our examination of Athens will focus on its development from ancient city to modern metropolis.  We will study major monuments such as the Parthenon, Syndagma Square, the New Acropolis Museum designed by Bernard Tschumi, and the Olympic complex designed by Santiago Calatrava as well as vernacular architecture and local public squares.

The Greece/Cyprus Field Study is led by Rachel Iannacone, Ph.D. and Nikolas Bakirtzis, Ph.D. The course follows the schedule of the University of Minnesota's May-Term. Please contact Rachel Iannacone with questions or comments (ianna006@umn.edu).