Photo: UNDP Cyprus/Kerim Belet

“Cultural Heritage in Tanners’ Mosque has become an example of how a monument can become a symbol of peace and coexistence.”

This message was written by one of the Greek, Turkish, Maronite and Armenian Cypriots who gathered at the site of a restored church and mosque in Famagusta.

On a warm October evening a group of Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and people from other communities of Cyprus sit together at a village coffee shop in the Paphos area.

Photo: UNDP Cyprus

They crowd around a young Turkish Cypriot woman who is reading the coffee grounds of a Greek Cypriot woman opposite her. The rest were all ears.
“Hade gori (Greek: Come on girl), what do you see?” says the Greek Cypriot woman.
“Vallahi (Turkish: So help me) I see a diamond,” says the Turkish Cypriot young woman. …

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot volunteers are uniting in an initiative to protect and promote their shared cultural heritage.

Photo: UNDP/Kerim Belet

In May 2019 an initiative was launched in Cyprus inviting young Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to become ambassadors for cultural heritage sites on the island.

It was launched by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH) — a group of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who have been working together since 2008 to protect the diverse heritage in Cyprus. …

A cardboard model of the ancient walled city of Nicosia sits on a table at the Home For Cooperation.

It was crafted by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot children. A symbolic result of a summer family activity where children from both communities learned about what monuments are and the importance of preserving them.

Famagusta, 19 June 2018.

Conservation works completion ceremony, 19 June 2018. UNDP Photo/Flycam Aerial Photography & Filming.

“The Famagusta walls have touched and shaped the lives of many people. For some of us here, the walls meant defence and security. These bastions that we are standing now were historical buildings where we took shelter. Many Turkish Cypriots and myself took shelter in this bastion using the tunnel going along outside of the walls and owed our lives to Ravelin. Cultural heritage and different cultures should no longer be factors that cause conflicts but factors that contribute to cooperation, peace and prosperity of the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.” …

Athina Papadopoulou and İlkay Feridun in front of Archangelos Michael Church — one of the projects of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. UNDP Photo/Kerim Belet

Athina Papadopoulou and İlkay Feridun are two conservation architects from Cyprus.

They first met in 1999 when Athina, back then a young architect in her thirties, joined the bi-communal team of the Nicosia Master Plan, where Ilkay had been working since 1981.

Working side by side at a time, recalls Athina, “when it was not even possible to make a phone call from one side of the island to the other”, in the past twenty years the two women strongly contributed to shaping a non-political dialogue for Nicosia urban heritage first, and for the island’s broader cultural heritage some years…

UNDP Photo/Kerim Belet

Martinengo Bastion is a prime example of state of the art renaissance military architecture. Little known and rarely visited it is one of the few remaining intact bastions in the far Eastern Mediterranean. The Walls of Famagusta were famous throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. They were constructed over many centuries as the city grew, changed rulers and adapted to warfare technology. They are an important record of military architecture and adaptation to changing technology and rulers. There are few such fortifications still in existence and therefore the importance of protecting and conserving them.

“If we, the walls…

Famagusta, Cyprus

In 2012–17, approx. 3 Million EURO of EUROPEAN UNION funding is being invested in Famagusta’s cultural heritage through UNDP Cyprus in support of projects identified by the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. A further €8.7 Million of EU funding was invested on other cultural heritage conservation projects island-wide to support the ongoing peace and confidence building efforts and bring Cypriots together around their shared heritage. In total, approximately €11.7 Million have been provided by the European Union through the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community to implement the priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage…

Greek Cypriots celebrated the conservation of a Mosque

The Greek Cypriot Mukhtar of Deneia/Denya receives the keys of the local Mosque becoming its custodian (UNDP Photo/December 2014)

And Turkish Cypriots that of a Church…

UNDP Cyprus

Official Medium account of UNDP in Cyprus. A programme mainly funded by the European Union contributing to the peace-building process in Cyprus.

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