Four cultural preservation projects in Paphos district, aimed at protecting the island’s common cultural heritage, will start next year, following a series of conservation studies.
At a press briefing and tour in Paphos, the UNDP-PFF outlined plans for structural and aesthetic restoration of a hamam and three mosques in and around Paphos.
The projects, which are funded by the European Union, will be undertaken within the framework of the United Nations Development Programme–Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF) which aims to support cooperation and confidence building between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The hamam, located in Kato Paphos and also known as the Mediaeval Baths or ancient Turkish Baths, will be cleaned and restored following structural and archaeological studies on its architectural characteristics.
The hamam remained in use until the year 1896 and is unique in that it does not follow the typical plan of Ottoman hamams.
A mosque in the village of Ayios Nikolaos which was built on the site of an Ottoman building and damaged in the huge 1953 earthquake will also be restored, along with a mosque in the village of Ayios Ioannis also damaged in the quake.
Additionally, part of the renovation programme includes the original building of the mosque in the Moutallos area of Ktima-Paphos. Originally a church and still referred to as Ayia Sophia, this is one of Paphos’ most important Byzantine monuments, estimated to have been built in the 15th century as a three-aisled, cross-in-square, domed church, which was converted into a mosque in the years of Ottoman rule (1571-1878). The killer 1953 earthquake also caused severe damage to this building leading to various conservation works conducted between 2009 and 2014.
An agreement on the establishment of the Advisory Board for the Preservation, Physical Protection and Restoration of the Immovable Cultural Heritage of Cyprus recognises a special role to the UNDP in Cyprus as a politically accepted implementation body by both communities.
Since 2012, approximately €11.7 million of European Union funds have been provided by the European Commission to implement the priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, for the preservation of the islandwide cultural heritage in Cyprus. The European Union is the biggest supporter of the work of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in Cyprus.