CVAR – the short way to learn about arts and history in Cyprus

Hello everybody,

“When we teach a child to sing or to play the flute, we teach her how to listen. When we teach her to draw, we teach her to see. When we teach a child to dance, we teach him about his body and about space, and when he acts on a stage, he learns about character and motivation. When we teach a child design, we reveal the geometry of the world. When we teach children about the folk and traditional arts and the great masterpieces of the world, we teach them to celebrate their roots and find their own place in history” - Jane Alexander

CVAR is not just another museum, it is a space where people put their hearts and knowledge, to make this special environment a wonderful learning place for children of all ages. Opened in 2014, The Centre for Visual Arts and Research is the home of Costas and Rita Severis Foundation, which includes paintings, antique costumes and memorabilia related to Cyprus and its neighbors.

What can children see?

The main art collection of the Centre is the “Traveling Artists Collection” which contains more than 1.000 works of art on Cyprus, created by foreign artists during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  The relations between the various communities, through scenes of everyday life, representations of monuments and villages, as well as landscapes, will give to children the possibility to follow the architectural development in towns and villages and the changes in the countryside, as well as the transition from the traditional to the modern.

One of the most interesting collection of the Centre is the Costumes Collection which includes 500 pieces of costumes, clothes, shoes, hats, bed linen, curtains and embroidery, spanning from the early nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, and shows the influences from the East and West on the development of the local Cypriot dress. Many original costumes, including of High Commissioners, consuls, and pashas are exhibited, as well as wedding dresses, furs and christening robes.

Children will be able to feel and understand the changes that come with time, the creation of history and where do they travel, inside this magnificent time machine, which takes them with the speed of light, towards the future.

The Research Collection includes more than 10.000 books on art and travel, diaries and travelogues to Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the Levant. Many old and rare books, as well as a large number of modern books, especially reference books, are available to scholars and researchers. Archival material on many historical subjects, newspapers (1880-1950), manuscripts and information on artists, are deposited in the Research Centre, as well as a large number of photographs and films from 1880-1960.

What can children do?

The Centre for Visual Arts and Research offers various activities for families with children but also for schools and kindergartens. Mrs. Aliki Yiannakou and Mrs. Dora Kolypera are responsible for the educational programs and they take care that every little or bigger guest feel welcomed and enjoy their time spent there. Every Saturday, the Centre of Visual Arts & Research organizes educational games with lots of fun for children of all ages. "Enjoy Cyprus through games" is a program that invites kids to learn through fun, games and interesting pieces of Cyprus history and art.

For schools The Centre for Visual Arts and Research is providing educational programs and activities for students in both primary and secondary school. For the 2015-1016 year there are two programs running: Travelers –Tourists and Cyprus under Ottoman rule. These are specially formulated for children, young students and families, in order to promote learning through the Arts and to help bring out the creative qualities of children.

The Centre’s gift shop offers lots of wonderful souvenirs for children from games, books and publications as well as jewelry. Do not forget to stop at the Centre’s restaurant where you will be able to admire the wonderful view of the city.

“Come to CVAR for a walk through history and experience the magnificent views described by travelers and visitors centuries ago! From CVAR's unique and historic location, visitors can admire the tiled roofs, the historic palm trees, the countless churches, mosques and monuments of old Nicosia—all with the Pentadaktylos as a breathtaking backdrop” is the Centre’s invitation. Kids Fun in Cyprus will like to add: Bring your children too… to see and learn, to understand and listen … to play, to spend a marvelous day with their parents!

Lots of sunny days from Izzy the Cypriot lizard!

Opening hours:
Winter: Tuesday-Sunday: 9:30-17:00, Friday: 9:30-20:00, Closed: Monday
Summer: Monday-Saturday: 10:00-18:00, Closed: Sunday
Entry fee: Entrance €5, free entrance for children and students
Group visits please call: +357 22300994
CVAR is disabled friendly throughout
Address: 285 Ermou Street, Nicosia, 1017, Cyprus
Contact persons for educational programs: Mrs. Aliki Yiannakou and Mrs. Dora Kolypera
Phone no: +357 22 300994


Costas and Rita Severis come from Nicosia. Since the early 1980s they have been collecting paintings of Cyprus from all over the world. They were interested in seeing how the visitors perceived Cyprus and its people, and the changes that took place on the island through the ages. It all started as a private hobby but got out of hand!! They decided that they had to share their collections with the wider public hence…The Costas and Rita Severis Foundation and its home The Centre of Visual Arts and Research! Both them and their three sons and daughters-in-law are still much involved and continue to add to the collections and participate in the daily running of the CVAR. The CVAR is the first and only museum dedicated to reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between the communities in Cyprus and towards this purpose holds many events and programs with Turkish Cypriot NGOs and has all its museum labels and texts in Greek, Turkish and English. The museum has many innovative angles and seeks to be interactive and a home for all Cypriots. The Costas and Rita Severis Foundation is grateful to USAID and the EEA Norway Grants for their support in setting up the museum.