Cyprus Mail

Contracts signed for archaeological site next to new town hall

Contracts were signed on Tuesday for the final phase of the development of the archaeological site in front of the new Nicosia town hall in the old part of town, the municipality said.

Following the completion of the around 10-month project, the site will open to visitors.

The contracts were signed by Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis and the director of the company that will undertake the development, C. Roushas Trading & Development, Costas Roushas.

The project concerns the construction of perimeter walkways and two metal structures for the protection of the ruins of two churches.

The main goal of the proposed development, the Nicosia municipality said, is ensuring access to the site but also the protection of the antiquities with the least possible intervention to preserve the characteristic of an “open excavation.”

The proposal was chosen as it means visitors will not pass through the site but around perimeter walkways instead.

Given that the site is four metres below street level and is surrounded by the tall buildings of the new town hall, the municipality said, perimeter walkways will also allow the archaeological site to be visible from the surrounding streets and buildings.

Works are expected to start next week and be completed by next April. The project is being co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the government and the Municipality of Nicosia.

The new Nicosia town hall is expected to be completed before the August holiday, municipality officials said last month. Construction works were halted for a number of years when the antiquities were discovered for archaeological excavations.

The building was redesigned so as to co-exist with the archaeological site. The findings mainly range from the Byzantine to the Ottoman periods and are centred on what is believed to be a crusader palace, but items dating to the later Bronze Age have also been found.

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