Support to cultural heritage monuments of great importance for Cyprus - Phase 1

What is the project about

Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, European Commission and UNDP monitoring the on-going works at the Panagia Church in Trachoni/DemirhanTechnical Committee on Cultural Heritage, UNDP and EU during a technical site visit. UNDP Photo, Summer 2013.

This project reflects the positive collaborative spirit within the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage after the completion of the Study on Cultural Heritage in Cyprus in December 2010.


In 2008 following a decision of the leaders of the two communities, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the Advisory Board for the Preservation, Physical Protection and Restoration of the Immovable Cultural Heritage of Cyprus were established.
These bodies work as mutually acceptable mechanisms for the implementation of practical measures for the proper maintenance, preservation, physical protection and restoration (including research, study and survey) of the immovable cultural heritage of Cyprus. They provide a space where the practical aspects of cultural heritage preservation can be considered in a non-political manner so that practical measures can be taken to improve the situation on the ground.

In 2010 UNDP-PFF was asked by the European Union to support the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and its Advisory Board in the carry out of the EU funded Study of Cultural Heritage in Cyprus. The Study was carry out between April and December 2010. It allowed for the identification of approximately 2800 cultural heritage sites of particular historical, archeological and architectural significance, the development of a ranking methodology, review and development of approx. 700 inventory charts and the carry out of 121 technical assessments.
The Study contributed to create a positive platform for confidence building and cooperation and in strengthening the cooperation between the two communities on cultural heritage issues.

In 2012, building on the results achieved and on the positive and friendly atmosphere built, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage requested the European Union to support the preservation of Cypriot Cultural Heritage by providing the funds for the implementation of a series of emergency measures to stop further deterioration of a selected number of cultural heritage sites identified in the bi-communal list included in the Study.

Our Role

UNDP-PFF was called by all parties to support this process as a politically accepted implementation body by both communities. Within this framework and the overall guidance of the Technical Committee of Cultural Heritage and its Advisory Board the roles and responsibilities of UND-PFF included the coordination, supervision and timely implementation of all technical aspects of the activities, facilitation of project meetings, contracting of qualified project team members and consultants, including all operational aspects of the project. Moreover UNDP-PFF joins the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in the consultation process with all stakeholders regarding strategic decision on different projects' aspects.

Bi-communal Monitoring Visits
As lead coordinator of the project UNDP-PFF played an important role in fostering dialogue, cooperation and confidence building between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots members of the Committee and Advisory Board by inviting them to attend different projects’ monitoring site-visits island wide. These visits in time acted as team- and confidence-building activities amongst the members of the Technical Committee allowing for increased exchange of experiences and the setting of a positive example of successful collaboration between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the field of cultural heritage.

What have we accomplished so far

Panagia ChurchCompletion ceremony of the conservation works to Panagia Church. UNDP Photo, December 2013.

enalConfidence-building: The startup of the emergency measures activities in 2012 marked an important moment for the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage’s efforts to protect the island’s rich cultural heritage and to preserve its complete integrity. Several technical visits to different cultural heritage sites located island-wide have been organised and facilitated by UNDP as part of the Technical Committee’s supervision work. Confidence-building measures have been further encouraged by the participation of bi-communal teams of architects, engineers, designers, contractors etc. during the implementation phases of each project.

9 cultural heritage sites island wide, under Phase 1 of the project are benefited from emergency support measures and technical studies aiming at: i) determine the current state of each monument and which measures are to be taken to avoid a decline of the monument’s structure and a further collapses and ii) provide a safe and secure reinforcement of the monument prior to the commencements of future restoration works.
These sites have been selected by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage based on their state of deterioration and the urgency to provide emergency support on the structure for the prevailing of the monument and the protection and safety of the visiting public. The seven sites are:

•    Denia/Denya Mosque - (completed)
•    Fyllia/Filya/Serhatköy Profitis Elias Church - (completed)
•    Panagia Melandrina Church - (completed)
•    Mustafa Pasha Mosque – Famagusta - (completed)
•    Paphos Hamam - (completed)
•    Trachoni/Demirhan Panagia Church - (completed)
•    Othello Tower/Citadel in Famagusta (completed)
•    Famagusta Walls between Arsenal and Sea Gate (completed)
•    Martinengo Bastion in Famagusta (completed)


Who finances it?

European Union 2,000,000 EUR

Our Shared Heritage: Rebuilding Trust in Cyprus

Ali Tuncay and Takis Hadjidemetriou are two of ten (5 Greek Cypriot and 5 Turkish Cypriot) custodians of cultural heritage in Cyprus. Appointed by their respective leaders in 2008 as representatives of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, their role is to watch over the proper safeguard and conservation of Cyprus’ rich historical and archaeological heritage. Not an easy task considered the more than 2300 immovable cultural heritage sites that Phoenicians, Venetians, Lusignans and Ottomans – among others - have left on the island as legacy of their presence. UNDP’s assistance to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage started in 2009 when it was requested by the European Commission to support a Study of Cultural Heritage in Cyprus. The study laid the foundation for a more active role of cultural heritage in the on-going peace and confidence building process on the island. Thanks to the discrete work of people like Ali and Takis, who for their efforts were awarded in 2015 the European Citizens Prize, Cypriot cultural heritage has finally found in the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage a space where practical aspects of preservation are considered in a non-political manner.

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