Cyprus Mail

Public urged to unite to protect antiquities in Yeroskipou

Members of the public are being urged to attend a protest on Saturday aimed at protecting an area of rich and significant archaeological interest in Yeroskipou.

Organised by the district committee of Akel, it is supported by the Paphos Greens and will take place on Saturday at 10am, next to a small church and the Phaethon Hotel on the seafront in Kato Paphos.

Mayor of Yeroskipou, Michalis Pavlides told the Cyprus Mail he would also attend.

The dispute centres on the government’s decision to declassify the Hellenistic archaeological site and allow the church to develop it. Many locals and officials want the decision overturned.

Protests against the planned two tower blocks and a hotel began after important finds were announced in the area.

Pavlides confirmed that the Yeroskipou council will meet the Antiquities Department and the land department in Nicosia on September 23, and hope to persuade the authorities to swap the piece of land earmarked for development for another nearby to protect the site which is of significant archaeological interest.

Pavlides noted that the Department of Antiquities’ findings in the area are important and some of them are from the 5th century BC.

“This used to be the garden of Aphrodite,” he said.

The atrocious Cypriot practice of building over areas of important cultural, historical and archaeological value has to stop immediately, Andreas Evlavis of the Paphos Green party told the Cyprus Mail.

“This is not the first time that hotels, villas and shops are built over our ancient areas, it is particularly bad in Paphos. The invasion and high unemployment were used as excuses in the past and people didn’t care, but these excuses can’t be used anymore,” he said.

Evlavis urged people who care about the environment, culture and history to be more active and vocal.

Yeroskipou council believes that even if the proposed land swap goes ahead, further excavations and investigations need to take place in the area as they believe there will be more finds.

“In the Paphos district we have witnessed the erection of hotels, villas, department stores, burying our culture. It’s time for the citizens to unite to save what remains unscathed from unregulated development. This is the only way to prevent the desecration of our civilisation on the altar of money,” Akel said.

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