Cyprus's homage to the humble spud goes viral

2 minute read

People pose for a picture next to a 5 meter high replica of a potato in Xylophagou village, Cyprus October 14, 2021. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

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XYLOPHAGOU, Cyprus Oct 15 (Reuters) - A Cypriot community's endeavour to pay homage to the humble spud has gone viral after their 5 metre (16 ft) tall statue of a Cyprus potato drew comparisons to a giant penis.

The fibreglass replica, which cost 8,000 euros ($9,300) and sits by a main road at the entrance to the village of Xylophagou, has drawn widespread ribbing on social media.

"Other countries have instantly recognisable monuments, now we have ours," Euripides Evriviades, who is a former Cyprus ambassador to the UK, wrote on Twitter.

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Alongside he posted a collage juxtaposing an image of the Big Potato with the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and Hong Kong Big Buddha.

But Xylophagou's residents are taking the ridicule in their stride, insisting that the beige-coloured knobbly design named "The Big Potato" is a faithful reproduction of its main potato crop, the Spunta.

Community leader George Tasou said those who saw in the statue anything more than a potato was guilty of a dirty mind.

"That is, I think, talk of a mind possessed," he said.

"Whether we like it or not this potato, the Spunta, is thin and long."

Potatoes are the mainstay of Cyprus, known for its rich red fertile soil. Next year Xylophagou plans another novelty with its favourite produce; frying 800 kgs of potatoes in a chip-fest.

Tasou said work on the Big Potato was incomplete and that it would be mounted in local stone with a bench, a park and a small store, bringing the total cost of the project to 15,000 euros.

"It will be a landmark," he said as giggling visitors behind him posed for selfies.

($1 = 0.8617 euros)

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Reporting By Michele Kambas and Yiannis Kourtoglou Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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