The Armenian Church and Monastery Restoration Project
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with funding from the
US Agency for International Development (USAID), has been supporting a range
of peace-building projects in Cyprus since 1998. Restoring the island’s cultural
heritage has been an important dimension of this effort. The aim is not only to
conserve buildings and sites, but also to provide Cypriots with the opportunity to reconnect with their common heritage. These projects bring people together around a common and inclusive vision of a shared future.
The restoration of the Armenian Church and Monastery complex in the Arabahmet neighbourhood of Nicosia is one example of this initiative. The completion of this project comes at a crucial time in the process of finding a settlement for the Cyprus issue. It is a reminder of the potential of cultural heritage initiatives to help heal the wounds of the past and to build trust among Cyprus’ communities. The individuals and groups who participated in the restoration of the Armenian Church affirmed the values of trust, tolerance and respect. These values were expressed at every level of the project from the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the planning and design, to the broad-based consultations that ensured that the physical work always respected the communities’ memories of the site.
UNDP and USAID are proud of the achievements of the Armenian Church and
Monastery restoration project and hope it will demonstrate how places, as well as projects, can flourish in an environment of peace and goodwill.