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Antiquities department, Church to co-operate over new high rise

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The Department of Antiquities and the Church of Cyprus have agreed to co-operate over a proposed controversial high-rise project in Geroskipou.

The recently uncovered Hellenistic complex in Geroskipou has been hailed as an important find and will coexist alongside the new high-rise development.

An antiquities department announcement said that during a recent consultation with the Archbishop an agreement was reached that the archaeological site be preserved as a unit, along with its natural environment and the beach protection zone, at a safe distance from the development and within a green belt.

The department plans to complete the excavation of archaeological remains.

The Church of Cyprus is planning to build high-rises with luxury apartments, a 5-star hotel and an artificial island in the area of the findings.

Research so far suggests that the sanctuary includes a Greek temple and a courtyard with rows of rooms, where research will continue.

Elsewhere, a solid foundation stone was discovered, along with fragments of a preserved aqueduct. To the north of the sanctuary, a second solid stone foundation was uncovered and part of the mortar that covered the bottom of the tank is preserved. Clay pipes and ducts were also found.

The antiquities department said that it is too early to offer an interpretation of the findings, but that the water supply indicates the need and use of large quantities of water.

Last year, the town planning department approved a permit to construct two 12-storey buildings and 122 apartments in Geroskipou as part of the Peninsula Resort project by Atum Developments, which is owned by Hungarian investor Sandor Kenyeres.

In 2017, the government declassified the area from an ancient monument, according to the department of antiquities the first time that such an area has been declassified while excavations were still in progress.

The department also noted that any new findings may mean changing plans to guarantee the unity of the archaeological site and its coexistence with the development.

“The archaeological site should be accessible to the public and protection status should be ensured, excluding any possibility of expanding / adding buildings therein in the future,” it noted.

The excavations got underway in 2015 ahead of the proposed construction of a hotel unit. The last phase of research was completed at the end of June.

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