By Constantinos Psillides
THE first phase of the restoration work on the Apostolos Andreas monastery will be completed in 19 months, according to project leader Tiziana Zennaro, attributing the progress made to the “mutual trust between everyone involved.”
Zennaro headed a delegation of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot journalists who received a tour of the site yesterday and were informed on the progress made in restoring the monastery.
The restoration commenced two months ago headed by the UNDP offices in Cyprus, in collaboration with Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF) and facilitated by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.
The Greek Cypriot head of the technical committee Takis Hadjidemetriou told reporters that the project was only made possible through “common struggle and mutual respect.”
“Through culture we can lay a sturdy foundation for the island’s future and show everyone what Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can accomplish,” he said.
His Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Ali Tuncay, said that the project was a testament to what Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots could accomplish when working together.
“This is a cultural site of extreme importance. Apostolos Andreas isn’t just culuturally important for Greek Cypriots. It’s equally important for Turkish Cypriots and the rest of the world,” he said.
Architect and restoration expert Diomidis Miriantheas of the Patra University is overseeing the restoration.
The United Nations awarded the tender for restoring the monastery to Greek Cypriot company ‘Fixico Constructions’ and Turkish Cypriot ‘Yakup’s Company, Tel-Za Construction Ltd’.
Asked about the condition of the monastery, Miriantheas said that despite being abandoned in 1974 and left to the elements, structurally the monastery was sound with the exception of the bell tower.
“The monastery was heavily damaged on the outside, especially its carved stone. Some spots that were hastily fixed with concrete must be removed and restored properly,” said Miriantheas, adding that floor of the monastery will be removed and fixed.
The architect attributed the extensive corrosion in the monastery’s metal parts to its proximity to the sea.
Following the restoration, the architects will also asses the ground’s quality and if need be take all necessary measures, according to the Turkish Cypriot architect.