Welcome to the Basket Museum in Inia.
Baskets have been made in Cyprus for generations and are still made in several villages in the Paphos District including Inia which has an interesting Basket Museum that is run by Georgia Manolis. Wandering around the museum you learn the techniques used and the myriad of uses made of the different types of baskets in the days before plastic!
Cyprus has an abundance of suitable raw materials including canes, rushes and the thin flexible branches of the turpentine tree. Long ago, before pottery was made, inhabitants of the island smeared the inside of baskets with mud and covered this with lime to make them waterproof, so they could be used for storing flour, wine and olive oil.
Basket weaving is a laborious task. First, the canes are gathered and cut into shorter, more workable lengths. These are then carefully split into thinner pieces using a hammer and a wedge of wood. The canes are then soaked in water for three days to soften them ready for use. The base and framework of the basket is made first and then the sides are quickly woven before the cane dries out. The final addition is a good strong handle and sometimes, a little colour – traditionally purple and green, which were made from special dyes and do not fade in the hot sunshine.
Baskets were made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and before the invention of plastic were widely used by housewives for storing clothes and food as well as shaping cheeses, carrying produce from the market and as colourful wall decorations.
Large baskets were used in the vineyards to carry the grapes home, and would be fastened to the donkeys and mules by woven string straps. Donkeys were also used to carry large pottery flagons of Commandaria (the island’s famous dessert wine) in their panniers down to the ports for export. In early autumn, trains of donkeys carrying baskets laden with carobs were a common sight as they made the journey from the hill villages to the carob jetties and the waiting ships. In those days, baskets were also used to carry the copper ore from the mines to the ports, whilst more recently, donkeys carrying baskets of freshly gathered salt were a common sight at Larnaca and Akrotiri salt lakes.
Soft baskets were also made from plaited strips of rushes and reeds that were sewn together with hemp. This style of basket was known as saddle baskets and was mainly found in the Akrotiri and Lakatamia areas. These baskets were popular with farmers who needed something soft to transport their delicate crops.
The basket museum was opened in Inia in 1996 as part of an initiative for rural development in the Akamas to revive the local handicrafts and is in the renovated school house that stands in the church yard in the centre of the village.
Inia Basket Museum Opening times
June – September:
Open Monday-Saturday 11.00- 1.00 p.m.,
Monday – Friday 4.00- 7.00 p.m.
Open Monday-Friday 11.00 -1.00 p.m. and 2.00 – 4.00 p.m.
- Closed on Sundays.
- Free admission
- gift shop.
- For further information please telephone Georgia on 26-332562/ 99-077363