(Credit: Troodos Observatory)

Sci-fi ‘Spaceship’ Observatory in Cyprus May Look Like a “Villainous Lair,” But It’s Attracting Stargazers Worldwide

Perched atop the breathtaking Troodos mountains, the new spaceship-inspired Troodos Observatory in Cyprus offers a strategic vantage point for stargazers from around the world. 

Designed by architects and siblings Elena, Nicodemos, and Cassandra Tsolakis, the observatory’s archetypal design feels like it was pulled straight from a science fiction movie where the lead villain would reside.  

The Troodos Observatory, a publicly funded project unveiled in May, is not just a platform for star-studded stargazing and learning more about our universe. It’s a strategic move to boost astrotourism in Cyprus, promising exciting opportunities for visitors and locals alike. 

Cyprus’s president, Nikos Christodoulides, told the English edition of The Kathimerini News that the facility “should be utilized not only for tourism but also by our schools and all Cypriots.” He noted that the government will offer technical support to ensure the observatory’s full operational capability, encouraging active participation in astronomy.

The president expressed optimism and supoort about the observatory’s beneficial impact on regional development, aligning with the National Strategy for the Development of Troodos Mountain Communities and the National Tourism Strategy. He underscored that the observatory also supports the objectives of the National Space Strategy 2022-2027 and the Research and Innovation Strategy approved by the Council of Ministers in December 2023.

Architect Elena Tsolakis told Reuters that the design was not intentionally intended to look like a spaceship, but the project’s nature lends to that impression both instinctively and perceptively. 

“Yes, from some angles, the building might look like a spaceship. Was that the intention? No, but that is what came out,” Tsolakis said.

The observatory has a 20-inch reflective telescope and a 5.6m wide dome with a solar telescope under a hydraulic roof. The telescope is the largest in the region, boasting a protruding structure that serves as an “astro-marina” and an outdoor platform for mobile and telescope amateurs that appear to emerge from the earth, part of which is embedded within the mountain.

The observatory officially opened on June 19. It featured the President of the Republic and guests from the island’s authorities, as well as local officials, media, and local residents who were allowed a first look inside an observatory that, under other circumstances, might have made a perfect home for a TV supervillain. 

Chrissy Newton is a PR professional and founder of VOCAB Communications. She hosts the Rebelliously Curious podcast, which can be found on The Debrief’s YouTube Channel. Follow her on X: @ChrissyNewton and at chrissynewton.com.