“The Cultural Heritage Technical Committee believes that it is the primary responsibility of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to protect the endangered cultural heritage of the island, and that it is important for these monuments to be preserved, not only because they are important symbols for both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, as well as for humanity, but also because they have an intrinsic value of their own.” (Press statement of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, 06 May 2009).
The Agreement of 21 March 2008 reached between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), paved the way for the establishment of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH), dedicated to the recognition, promotion and protection of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Cyprus. The Committee is supported in its work by an Advisory Board composed of archaeologists, architects, art historians and town planners from both communities. All its programmatic decisions are taken in line with the agreed principles and the task attributed to them by the two Leaders.
The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage works to provide a mutually acceptable mechanism for the implementation of practical measures for the proper preservation, physical protection and restoration (including research, study and survey) of the cultural heritage of Cyprus. The Committee believes that the protection of cultural heritage is an integral part of the ongoing process of broadening areas of cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which can most effectively be achieved through joint efforts. The protection of cultural heritage also stimulates sustainable development and mutual understanding.
An initial list of 40 sites in need of emergency care and conservation was approved by the Leaders. Additional monuments of great historical value or notable size have been added to this list. Particular attention was given to the archaeological importance of the monuments, reflecting their uniqueness, historical significance and role in society as well as their future educational role.
Since 2010 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has assisted the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage to preserve the cultural heritage of Cyprus. UNDP directly implements and administers the Committee's conservation works and visibility efforts, hence creating a favorable environment for the non-political consideration of cultural heritage on both sides of the island. Joint monitoring visits and regular meetings with the Advisory Board of the Technical Committee are facilitated by UNDP to encourage and ensure the direct involvement in each stage of the project cycle. The direct involvement of technical teams from both communities (architects, archaeologists, engineers etc.) act, in time, as team- and confidence-building measures, allowing for increased exchange of experiences and the setting of a positive example of successful collaboration between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Moroever, UNDP provides logistical and strategic support to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in its efforts to re-establish community links between villages and their former residents and encourage cross-community exchanges.
This project covers the conservation of the church of Archangelos Michael located in the Karpasia/Karpaz Peninsula. The conservation works involve the structural and architectural conservation of the church and the specialised conservation of the iconostasis, icons and other immovable objects which constitute an inherent part of the church. The church has been conserved to its originality in accordance with the technical designs and drawings. The overall project will be carried out with funds from the Church of Cyprus under the self-funded projects of the TCCH
The specific objective of the project is the conservation of the church of Archangelos Michael in Karpasia/Karpaz Peninsula. Conservation of this very important religious monument shall enhance the concept of confidence-building between the two communities within the context of cultural and religious heritage, as well as develop and enhance the important role the TCCH has had since 2008. Additionally, the project facilitates the interaction and participation of the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot experts and technical people during the implementation of the overall conservation project.
Background information on the conservation site
Archangelos Michael ensemble is composed of two attached churches, one on the north, from the Byzantine period and the other on the south, from the Ottoman period. The Byzantine building is dated to the 11-12th centuries by Godwin and to the 13th century by Gunnis. The newer building is dated to the 18th century. The churches are located in a large yard that once contained a school and a mill, as seen from an early 20th century cadastral map. Both churches are orientated in an east-west direction.
The Byzantine building is a cross-in-square type of church with an apse covered by a central dome, barrel vaults and with a second dome over the entrance space. The major part of walls, vaults and domes are made of regular stone masonry covered with a lime wash. Two gates are visible at the western and northern facades.
The newer church has a single nave covered with a barrel vault and a semi cupola in the apse. The bell tower rises up from the southeast corner with two arched bell levels and a smaller element on top. A gallery or exonarthex containing the main entrance is attached to the southern wall. A secondary entrance gives access to the nave from the west. An internal gateway communicates between both churches. The walls are made of stone masonry, which is quite regular at the apse, gallery and bell tower. The gallery is composed of three sections made of pointed arches over thick pillars and covered with cross vaults.
- Project designs will be prepared by the donor; designs will be reviewed and approved by all stakeholders.
- Conservation of the Church of Archangelos Michael will be completed (including conservation of the iconostasis, icons and other immovable objects which constitute an inherent part of the church).
- Awareness will be raised about the work of the TCCH.