Restoration on St Andrew's Monastery unites Cyprus

Two sides of the Green Line working together in the North

11 November, 18:45

    Restoration of the Holy Monastery of Apostolos Andreas Cyprus Restoration of the Holy Monastery of Apostolos Andreas Cyprus

    (ANSAmed) - NICOSIA - Restoration works on the Monastery of Saint Andrew were inaugurated in Cyprus on Tuesday, as part of the first-ever collaboration between the communities on both sides of the UN-arbitrated Green Line. The Greek Orthodox Church is located in the northern, Turkish Cypriot-controlled part of the island. The two communities have invested equally in the restoration efforts and the project is a test project that will ideally be extended to other monuments. Years were required to achieve the agreement, made possible by the 2008 creation of a Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage co-chaired by a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot. Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ergun Olgun told ANSA that the project would be used as a test case also for the potentially explosive hydrocarbons issue. For now, the Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage is one of the few successes of the collaboration between the island's two communities. Over the past few years, in part thanks to EU funds - 4 million thus far with another 4 million allocated - and the role played by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the two communities carried out joint visits throughout the island and drew up a list of over 2,300 cultural heritage sites, naming 26 in the north and 14 in the south requiring intervention. ''At the beginning we only selected religious heritage sites,'' said Turkish Cypriot member of the committee Ali Tuncay. Work has already been completed on eight churches and mosques requiring urgent restoration - five in the northern part of the island and three in the south. The committee is now proposing interventions on 'civil' sites, such as the city's perimeter walls. ''This type of intervention can contribute even more to uniting people,'' said Tuncay, noting that ''for decades the protection of Cyprus's cultural heritage was an issue of division, often used for propaganda reasons.'' The other positive aspect underscored by Tuncay was that the restoration works are bringing to light works and structures that history had forgotten, such as a fresco discovered in a church of the Kom Kebir village in the northern section of the island and a cistern discovered during works on Othello's Tower in Famagusta. (ANSAmed).

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