Emile Deschamps in 1897 described the Cypriot women at the Fete de Venus, the Kataklysmos fiesta:
I stare at the people going and coming and I am astounded: Not one beautiful presence, not one charming female face. They are all dark looking with expressionless eyes, grey hair, flat chested, no waist, no elegance, except for the very young, they all look prematurely aged, no natural beauty, none of the qualities that once gave them the reputation of goddesses through the centuries. And yet the legend says that Cyprus was picked for its goddess of love and beauty. What then has happened to those people who attracted all the visitors to the island, what happened to the beauties who inspired the lyre of the poets? And why do we not hear in the woods music dedicated to love by these people? Lost, aged down to her last, maybe due to the intermarriage with so many conquerors.
The 'What I saw...' series is made possible with the support of OPAP Cyprus.