The bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, the European Commission (EC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced on Thursday the completion of conservation works to the Watermill/Aqueduct in Chrysochous/Hirsofu.
The €107,000 project, which was the third to be completed in the Paphos region after the Paphos Hamam and the Evretou mosque, was fully funded by the European Union.
The Watermill/Aqueduct is an “impressive complex that consists of several structures of different periods of construction of special cultural relevance,” the UNDP said.
Works, implemented by UNDP, began in July 2015 and were completed in February 2016, with the main aim of repairing the stone structures to prevent further possible collapse. All works have been done respecting and preserving the authentic character and identity of the original building.
“Until the middle of the 20th century watermills formed an integral part of everyday life in the Cypriot countryside. Mills were places of social interaction. Today, preserved and restored, monuments can return to have a powerful role in building bridges between people,” said Tiziana Zennaro, UNDP Programme Manager.
Conservation works at the watermill and aqueduct included restoration of stone walls including repair of damaged walls and reassembling of millstones, removal of vegetation causing damage and chasing by appropriate material to prevent future (re)growth. It also included restoration of the roof, installation of a new door, construction of new retaining wall for the aqueduct, restoration of stone stairs, and conservation and protection of existing elements (stone and wood) of the mill mechanism and rainwater management.
The millers’ house upper floor was also restored, including installation of doors and windows.
“It is a true blessing that this watermill was not left to ruination” said Chrysochous community leader Andreas Kouniaedes. “Now the watermill will remain here for the future generations to learn how these mills used to function before the development of modern mechanical devices”.
“After so many years we are still very much attached to our village, with its old stone houses, the mosque, and its old bridge. The restoration of the Watermill/Aqueduct make us very happy and gives us hope that our village as we remember it will continue to be there for our children and next generations to see,” said a former Turkish Cypriot resident of the village Metin Ertop. Ertop now dedicates his free time to collecting memories and photographs of the village.
“As we already witnessed in other small villages, the importance of monuments in the heart and living memories of its people often oversize its community. The restoration of Chrysochou/Hirsofu’s watermill/aqueduct and the way this project was welcome by the local residents gives us hope that our work is perceived as important for peace in Cyprus and as a resource for sustainable development and reconciliation,” said cultural heritage committee heads Takis Hadjidemetriou and Ali Tuncay.
The European Commission works in close partnership with the cultural heritage committee and the UNDP for the preservation of the rich cultural heritage in Cyprus from the very beginning, said the EC’s Michela Foresti. “The achievements of the Technical Committee are a remarkable example of how Cypriots can work together to protect their common legacy for the future generations,” she said.
The committee also has plans for the Hamam near Hasan Aga tomb, the minaret of the Ebubekir mosque and the two mosques in Ayios Nikolaos and Ayios Ioannis, all in the Paphos district.