Cyprus Mail

Conservation works completed on two historic churches in Famagusta

File photo: Takis Hadjidemetriou left and Ali Tuncay of Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in front of St Mary of the Armenians Church-UNDP Kerim-Belet.

A ceremony will be held on Saturday May 26 in Famagusta in the north to mark the completion of conservation works in two historic churches, located in the north-western part of the walled city.

Works at St. Mary of the Armenians Church and the Carmelite Church were fully funded by the European Commission and were implemented by the UNDP, in partnership with the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

The Armenian church is the community’s first monument to be restored with the contribution of the bicommunal Technical Committee, while more projects in the area are expected to finish soon.

The two churches are part of the Martinengo cluster, adjacent to the namesake bastion that was also recently revamped by the Technical Committee.

Takis Hadjidemetriou, the Greek Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee, and Vartkes Mahdessian, the Representative of the Armenians in the House of Representatives, spoke to the Cyprus News Agency, underlining the importance of this project.

Both churches are part of the multicultural fabric that characterised the old city of Famagusta, as well as Cyprus, Hadjidemetriou said, adding that the area was now open to visitors. He noted the presence of various other monuments in the vicinity, like the Martinengo bastion, Tanners’ mosque (the former Jacobite church), St. Anne Maronite church and the Greek Orthodox St. George Exorinos church.

He said the significance of the Armenian church was tremendous, not just for the community, but also for Armenians worldwide, as well as for Cyprus and called on Armenians and the wider public to attend the ceremony.

He said finally that conservation works at Tanners’ mosque and St. Anne are soon to be completed, probably this September.

Mahdessian said the church had a great significance for the small Armenian community of Famagusta and said they hoped to secure a permit, in order to hold a service there soon.

He expressed the wish for the project to mark the beginning of more restorations, underlining in particular the urgent works needed at Sourp Magar Armenian monastery.

St. Mary of the Armenians was probably built after the middle of the 14th century by Armenian refugees from the port of Lajazzo or Aegeae and was part of a monastic complex dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Carmelite Church, also known as St. Mary of Carmel, was part of the same complex, built between 1324 and 1366.


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