The restoration of the Hamidiye mosque will send a “tangible and positive message”, the United Nations’ senior political affairs officer on Cyprus, Philippe Baudin said on Tuesday.

He said the completion of restoration works will “contribute to the further consolidation of Lefkara as an important site for tourism.”

In addition, he said, “it sends a tangible and positive message to the rest of the island and beyond,” adding that the Bicommunal technical committee for cultural heritage (TCCH) “contributes greatly to the creation of a climate of trust and a spirit of peace throughout the island.”

The United Nations Development Project’s Cyprus head Jakhongir Khaydarov concurred, saying “the successful completion of the conservation work of the Hamidiye mosque marks a pivotal moment in our targeted mission to preserve Cyprus’ priceless cultural heritage.

“In honouring this achievement, we underscore the fundamental importance of upholding the basic principles of the United Nations.”

He also reaffirmed “our unwavering commitment to the promotion of cultural preservation as a necessary pillar of sustainable development, the promotion of lasting peace, and the assurance of stability for future generations, both in Cyprus and across the world.”

The TCCH’s Turkish Cypriot co-chairman Ali Tuncay said, “on an island an in a region where historical narratives have often been fraught with tension and suffering, this joint effort not only breathes new life into cultural heritage sites, but also promotes trust, understanding, and confidence among Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.

“Moreover, this joint effort not only restores material structures, but sows seeds of goodwill and mutual respect which go beyond bricks and mortar.”

Tuncay’s Greek Cypriot counterpart Sotos Ktoris said the mosque’s restoration “highlights our deep conviction that Cyprus’ monuments should not be seen as discord and rivalry but as priceless and irrefutable testimonies of our common cultural heritage; as a legacy which belongs to all Cypriots.”

“The effort to save Cyprus’ monuments, with the aim of preserving them for future generations, contributes positively to the cultivation of a climate of trust, mutual respect, and understanding between the two communities,” he said.

The restoration works were carried out with funding from the European Union and technical support from the United Nations Development Programme.

The mosque that currently sits on the site was constructed in the early 20th century, though a mosque had previously existed on the same site.

The original mosque had been built between 1835 and 1883 and was demolished in 1987 to pave way for the construction of the current structure. It was in use until 1963 when the village’s population migrated to Kofinou amid the outbreak of violence on the island.