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Bicommunal technical committees crucial for peace building

Hala Sultan Tekke

The work of bicommunal technical committees is an important confidence-building measure and powerful tool for reconciliation, European Commission Structural Reform Support chief Mario Nava said on Thursday.

He was speaking at an event to celebrate the completion of conservation works at Zuhuri Tekke and Tuzla Hammam, which were carried out by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the technical committee on cultural heritage (TCCH) as part of the EU-funded “Support to cultural heritage monuments of great importance for Cyprus” project.

“We believe that projects like this one are crucial in the peace building proves and will not only improve the cultural heritage monuments in the different areas but will also help create a culture of peace on the island,” UNDP Cyprus head of office Jakhongir Khaydarov said.

“Together we will continue to preserve the cultural heritage of the island for the benefit of all the people of Cyprus,” he added.

For his part, Nava said that these monuments represent the richness and diversity of the history of Cyprus and its cultural heritage.

“The EU will keep supporting this work, not just through regular funding, but also  by ensuring that this important confidence-building measure continues to be a powerful tool for reconciliation and peaceful cooperation,” he said.

Zuhuri Tekke is located in central Larnaca and dates back to the 17th century. It consists of a mosque and türbe [tomb] in a single building.

Conservation works began in December 2021, and were completed in February 2022.

Tuzla Hamam is located at the Hamit Bey square in Larnaca. The use of the public hammam came to an end in the 1950s when households in Larnaca were connected to the water supply.

Its conservation began in February 2022, ending in February 2023, marking the completion of the project.

“Each conservation site is a reflection of the cultures behind it as well as an intersection of civilizations,” a press release said.

“Thanks to the cooperation of TCCH, UNDP and the EU, the shared cultural heritage of the island continues to be preserved”.

Since 2012, over 123 cultural heritage sites islandwide have been conserved, structurally supported, physically protected or restored by TCCH and UNDP with EU support, with total funding amounting to €24.915 million.

The TCCH has received €35.6 million invested by several donors to implement its works.

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