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Archbishop sets sights on Ledra Palace hotel

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Archbishop Georgios has launched an inspection process of the Ledra Palace hotel building with the aim of potentially using it.

The archdiocese retains the majority of shares in the building and may look to change its use.

Reports suggest that the archdiocese has already made contacts with the United Nations, which has been operating the building for decades but due to the current condition of it reportedly does not wish to preserve it.

Speaking to Phileleftheros, the Archbishop said if inspections show the building to be durable and if the UN elects to abandon it, he plans to use it for church functions and other cultural events.

He said the inspections are being carried out to ensure the building is ultimately safe, adding that it “does not seem” dangerous.

Repairs to the damage and decay of the building are expected to cost “a few million euros”, and will include repairs to balconies, walls, new electrical installations, and replacements for parts of floors, doors and windows.

A meeting is expected to be convened regarding the adequacy of the building, as well as establishing what is allowed to be done on the grounds, given that the hotel lies in the buffer zone.

The Ledra Palace hotel was first opened on October 8, 1949 in a ceremony attended by then governor of Cyprus Andrew Barkworth Wright. Its construction cost £20,000.

It was considered a luxury hotel and initially had a total of 94 bedrooms, all of which were equipped with hot and cold water, central heating and a telephone. There were two restaurants, two bars, a café, and a function room. It also had an outdoor pool which was a novelty at the time.

In 1968, two floors were added to the building, increasing the number of rooms to 200. When the hotel’s majority shareholder Dimitrios Zerpinis died, archbishop Makarios III bought his shares from his widow and made the archdiocese the hotel’s main shareholder.

The hotel found itself in the buffer zone following 1974 and came under the administration of the UN. British peacekeepers first settled in the hotel in 1993, but have since decamped elsewhere citing the state of the building.

 

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