The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wednesday unveiled the Cyprus Digital Heritage website, an initiative launched in cooperation with the European Commission to safeguard and showcase the island’s cultural treasures.
The website features virtual tours of culturally relevant sites restored and maintained by the bicommunal technical committee on cultural heritage.
According to a statement released by UNDP, the funding for the new website was provided by the EU Aid Programme.
Its goal is to preserve and promote Cyprus’ cultural heritage, which holds significant historical and cultural value for both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, “serving as a bridge between their shared past and a foundation for building a common future”.
“The sites featured on the website hold great importance for both communities, and serve as a cornerstone for peacebuilding,” the statement said.
“Through the virtual tours, users can explore monuments and archaeological wonders, gaining a deep appreciation for Cyprus’ historical and cultural heritage.”
The website also includes interactive maps, 3D representations and other multimedia tools, which will also be a valuable resource for educational and research purposes.
“The website presents an opportunity for dialogue, understanding, and connection between the two communities, paving the way for the reunification of Cyprus,” Kjartan Björnsson, head of the EU Cyprus Settlement Support unit said, adding that the European Commission aims to also protect the diversity of the country’s diverse and multifaceted cultural heritage.
Björnsson’s words were echoed by Jakhongir Khaydarov, the head of the UNDP office in Cyprus, who expressed his appreciation for the project’s bicommunal nature and its capacity to build trust.
“By promoting a dialogue, this initiative contributes to building trust and fostering a sense of unity among Cypriots,” he said.
According to the UNDP, since 2012, over 123 cultural heritage sites across the island have been completely or partially restored by the bi-communal committee and the UNDP, with financial support from the European Union amounting to nearly €25 million.
Moreover, the committee has also received €35.6 million from various donors for the restoration of projects undertaken to preserve Cyprus’ cultural heritage.