Ravelin/Landgate: cultural heritage brings a message of peace.
Famagusta, 19 June 2018.
“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.” Ali Tuncay, Turkish Cypriot representative of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.
“Vivid and indelible in my memory remains the experience when during the bicommunal riots I found myself in Sakharia, just opposite Ravelin Land Gate, to cover shooting incidents in my capacity as correspondent of the Athens News Agency. At the time, it was the Turkish Cypriots who were defending themselves from within the walls […] I now find myself in the inner part of the walls. I see around me Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots reflecting on the past and envisaging a different future […] We have received Ravelin/ Land Gate marked with a history of wars and conflicts and we are now giving it back, a place open to peace, understanding and collaboration.” Takis Hadjidemetriou, Greek Cypriot Representative of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.
“The European Union has accompanied and supported the Technical Committee from the very beginning. Since early 2012, 14.7 million euro has 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. This partnership underscores the importance of unity and respect as core values of the European Union. The European Commission is delighted to have been able to fund this excellent work, a clear example of how Cypriots can work together for peace.” Kjartan Björnsson, Head of Unit — Structural Reform Support Service, European Commission, attending the event.
“Looking at the pictures, particularly the aerial photos of this site, I was struck by how much like a maze the works appear from above. It reminded me of the island itself: complex, intertwined, and utterly beautiful. […] Preservation and restoration projects of this sort, beyond the value of the physical outcome of the projects, can be strong foundations for exploring shared history, understanding the narratives of the other and contributing to reconciliation in societies that have experienced conflict […] In the period ahead, we as UNFICYP will continue our attempts to garner support for our civil society partners working on inter-communal heritage and legacy preservation issues across Cyprus.” Elisabeth Spehar, Special Representative of the Secretary- General and UNFICYP Head of Mission.
“Once again tonight, Famagusta is showing us the outstanding beauty and richness of its cultural heritage. The Martinengo Bastion and Othello Tower had accustomed us to a military architecture made of covered galleries, tunnels, courtyards and towers. But here, at Ravelin, as you can see, we are inside a completely different setting. An open-air labyrinth of inner ramps and fosses, bridges, stairs and arches. It was important for me to allow you to experience the uniqueness of the architecture of this space as much as possible. I hope that with tonight’s setting of the ceremony, we succeeded.” Tiziana Zennaro, UNDP in Cyprus Senior Programme Manager and Head of Office.
More than 400 people attended yesterday, 19 June 2018, the event marking the completion of conservation works to the Ravelin/Land Gate in Famagusta.
The event was organized by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the European Commission.
Conservation works to the Ravelin/Land Gate of Famagusta started in February 2017 and were completed in June 2018. The total cost of the conservation works was of approx. 670,000 Euro fully funded by the European Union.