Two mosques and two churches in the Paphos district will be restored in Paphos by the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, it emerged on Saturday.
“Monuments tell the history of the island. Let them talk to us to learn our history. Culture unites Cyprus from one end to the other and we have a duty to protect our country,” Greek Cypriot head of the committee Takis Hajdidemetriou said, stressing that this can only be done through concerted action, cooperation and mutual respect.
Ali Tuncay, the Turkish Cypriot head of the committee, said that cultural heritage can be applied properly to bring different societies and cultures closer together.
“We, as a Technical Committee, have followed a different path: we have made great strides and have not used cultural heritage as a tool to apportion blame,” he pointed out.
The Paphos region is one of three cluster areas identified by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage for its upcoming EU funded and UNDP implemented heritage conservation projects (the other two being the Famagusta and the Karpasia).
The new set of heritage conservation projects include the Hamam/ Baths near Hasan Aga Tomb in Kato Paphos, the Minaret of Cami-i Kebir in Mouttallos, Ayios Nicolaos/ Aynikola mosque and minaret in Ayios Nikolaos village, and Ayios Ioannis/ Ayanni mosque located in Agios Ioannis village.
These new projects follow ones already completed in 2015, at the Paphos Hamam in Ayia Kyriaki/Chrysopolitissa archaeological site, the mosque in Evretou and the watermill in Chrysochou.
Conservation studies and project designs were carried out in 2016 and excavation works at the Hamam started in October 2016. Conservation works at all four sites will start in early 2017.
The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, established by the decision of the leaders of the island’s two communities, works in line and within the mutually agreed framework for the preservation of the island’s common heritage. The Committee upholds and promotes the view that the protection of cultural heritage is an integral part of the ongoing process of broadening the area of cooperation and confidence building between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which can only be achieved through joint efforts.
Since 2012 approximately €11.7 million of European Union funds have been provided to implement the priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage for the preservation of the island-wide cultural heritage.