By Emilia Christofi
History is in the making for the Apostolos Andreas monastery at the tip of the Karpasia, peninsula, as the first phase of repair works are only months from being completed, the technical committee on cultural heritage said on Wednesday.
Works, jointly taken up by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot construction companies began in 2014 and the first phase is set to finish by August.
Visiting the site n Wednesday, Greek Cypriot member of the committee Takis Hadjidemetriou said: “This project is proof history is in the making.”
Although it took four years to reach today’s stage “the Apostolos Andreas monastery is an example as to what Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can do together to move forward united with peace for for Cyprus’ future,” he added.
His Turkish Cypriot counterpart Ali Tuncay, told reporters that for years, the issue of the monastery was a blame game. However the committee proved what can happen when the two sides work together and can actually achieve a good result, he said.
The monument, he went on to say is not only for Greek Cypriots but Turkish Cypriots as well as it is part of the island’s culture. “We prove what we can achieve when we trust each other,” Tuncay said.
The monastery entrance has been restored, with the floor both inside and outside the church on a higher level. Works on interior walls have also been completed with doors and windows left to be inserted.
Meanwhile, construction on the balcony that leads to the cells is ongoing, according to the engineer Diomedes Myriantheas, a consultant for the University of Patras which has taken on the project.
The area of the cells will be used for a chapel, an office and store rooms. The north side of the monastery has been almost entirely rebuilt due to it’s bad state that left no room for restoration. Myriantheas added the bell tower has also been removed and is being repaired used new stones. “We removed it to rebuild it.”
Cables have already been installed and security systems have been placed in the monastery.
The lofts have two levels with a staircase leading to the ground floor of the monastery and three arches will be placed alongside.
Works within Phase A involve the full structural and architectural restoration of the Church and the adjacent buildings to include the specialised restoration of the iconostasis and other immovable objects which are an inherent part of the Church.
Involved in the project is also the United Nations Development Program – Participation for the Future (UNDP-PFF). Manager Tiziana Zennaro, said she was proud to stand in front of the monastery “seeing it come to life.”
Technical documents for phase B are already being prepared and a tender will be called soon.
The UNDP mechanical engineer is Ali Tsaklar.
The Church of Cyprus has funded the project with €2.5m as has the EVKAF Administration with the same amount. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed $25,000.
Fixico Constructions is the Greek Cypriot construction company and Yakup’s Company, TEL-ZA Construction Ltd is the Turkish Cypriot company.