“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, 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.
THIS PROJECT IS FUNDED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION
||Since 2012 approximately €19.9 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 islandwide preservation of Cyprus’ cultural heritage. This makes the EU the biggest contributor to the work of the Committee.
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 favourable 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.
Results Phase VI
• Agios Philon Archaeological Site - Phase 2 (completed)
• Agia Triada Basilica & Baptistery - Phase 2 (completed)
• Agios Andronicos church i (ongoing)
• Nicosia Walls (Kyrenia Gate to Flatros Bastion) vegetation removal
• Agios Sergios and Vakos Church
• Sourp Magar Monastery (ongoing)
• Afendrika Archeological Site
Designs for conservation works:
• Panagia Kanakaria Church includes frescoes
• Panagia Kyra Church includes frescoes
• Agios Andonios Church (ongoing)
• Orounda mosque (ongoing)
• Agia Anastasia Church (ongoing)
• Agios Anastasios (complete)
• Agios Georgios (completed)
• Agia Georgios (completed)
• Panagia Evangelistria Church
• Agios Georgios Church – bell tower (ongoing)
• Nicosia Walls in the Buffer Zone – collapsed parts between Mula Bastion and Roccas Bastion
• Nicosia Walls in the Buffer Zone – collapsed parts Quirini Bastion
• St Jacobs and St George churches in Buffer zone
• Agios Evlalios Church
• 3 Street fountains in Nicosia Walled city (complete)
Preliminary assessment for frescos and paintings in dangerous conditions:
• St Barnabas Church
• Chrysocava in Kyrenia
• St George of the Greeks church in Famagusta Walled city
• Antiphonitis Monastery
• Tera Mosque
• Carmelite Church in Famagusta
• St Mary Church in Famagusta
Frescos and paintings in dangerous conditions:
• Apostolos Varnavas church in Famagusta
• Chrysocava in Kyrenia
• Zuhuri Tekke in Larnaka
- Preliminary assessment for six cemetery sites
- Conservation works for two selected cemetery sites
Community engagement activities
Heritage Youth Ambassadors (ongoing)
The TCCH launched an initiative in May 2019 inviting young Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to become ambassadors for cultural heritage sites on the island.
The launch was followed by 7 informative sessions accross the island.
More than 200 people applied via Instagram by posting videos and photographs of cultural heritage in Cyprus with the #oursharedheritage #EuropeforCulture #TCCHYouthAmbassador hashtags, which in itself created awareness on social media as the #TCCHYouthAmbassdor hashtag alone was shared 939 times.
Applicants were shortlisted and a final 40 were selected as Heritage Youth Ambassadors, and were inaugurated in a ceremony in October 2019.
Acting as the “youth voice” of the TCCH, they support the Committee’s work by reaching out to and engaging with other young people of Cyprus by promoting cultural heritage sites and monuments to their networks, and participating in site visits and supporting in activities.
With the aim of raising awareness of the work of the TCCH and bringing together the communities of Cyprus, the TCCH organised a walking trip in the Paphos area on 13 October 2019.
‘Paphos Walks’ was attended by 29 people from Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot and other communities from across the island. The 12km route started from the village of Fyti/Fiti and continued through a natural heritage route where the group saw a natural oak monument, a watermill and Skarfos medieval bridge. They then visited the Evretou/Evretu mosque and the watermill at Chrysochou/Hirsofu village, both of which were conserved by TCCH with EU funds.
Once Upon A Monument Family Day
Hosted on 6 July 2019, children aged 3-10 from Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities took part in ‘Make Your Own Monument’ activity at Home For Cooperation in the buffer zone of Nicosia. They learned about what monuments are and why they need protecting.
Together they created their own model of the capital’s Venetian walls and watched a puppet show performed by both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot artists in collaboration with “Atelier Kabuk”. The show followed the characters ‘Fatma’ and ‘Yiorgos’ on their adventure to explore and preserve the array of monuments that make up the rich and diverse cultural heritage landscape across the island.
Heritage Away Days
The TCCH held a series of on-site cultural heritage preservation workshops in November and December 2019, offering young students and professionals who are working or interested in the field of cultural Heritage a unique opportunity to gain skills in cultural heritage documentation and preservation.
The first of the “Heritage Away Days”, on 23 November 2019, was a cultural heritage documentation workshop at a Hamam in Paphos, which was conserved by the TCCH and UNDP.
The second, on 30 November 2019, explored methods of vegetation removal at the Nicosia Walls, at the site of vegetation removal works being done by the TCCH and UNDP.
The series ended with a digital documentation workshop on 7 December 2019, which took place at the Othello Tower/Citadel in Famagusta, also conserved by TCCH and UNDP.
A total of 85 people took part in the workshops and expressed a demand for similar activities.