Brussels, 4 September 2013
Cyprus: Renewed EU support to preserve the island's cultural heritage
The European Commission has launched a new project to strengthen the efforts already in place to preserve the island-wide cultural heritage in Cyprus. The EU contribution will amount to €2 million and will support the work of the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.
"The successful measures already taken to preserve the island's rich cultural heritage clearly show what both communities can achieve when they work together. It is very important that both sides continue the work to protect their common cultural heritage and also, through this, pave the way for reconciliation and the reunification of Cyprus", said Commissioner Füle.
Commissioner Vassiliou also welcomed the announcement: "Cyprus is an island with an incomparable wealth of cultural heritage, but many sites have unfortunately been allowed to fall into a poor state and need immediate action. I strongly support bi-communal initiatives aimed at safeguarding our common heritage for the benefit of future generations and for supporting local growth and jobs."
The EU support will finance priorities identified by the Committee, including conservation and emergency support works on five sites, activities in ten small projects, and raising awareness in Cyprus about the importance of preserving cultural heritage for future generations.
The works will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme's Partnership for the Future, in collaboration with the Advisory Board of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.
This initiative is funded under the 2012 Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community and represents the second phase of a project initiated in 2012. Overall, the amount of EU funding channelled towards the preservation of Cyprus cultural heritage amounts to €4 million to date.
In 2012 and 2013, thanks to EU funding, emergency preservation and/or conservation measures have been carried out or will be carried out with regard to Othello Tower in Famagusta and three Greek Orthodox churches in the northern part of Cyprus; and two Islamic heritage sites (one mosque and one hammam) in the government controlled areas.
The sites selected are part of a list of cultural heritage sites of great importance identified by the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. The Committee selected the sites based on an in-depth study carried out in 2010, which established an inventory of cultural heritage sites on the island. Under the new project, the new sites will be selected from a list which comprises: the Venetian Walls between the Arsenal and Othello Tower/Citadel in Famagusta in the northern part of Cyprus, the exhibition room of the Kyrenia Wreck at the Kyrenia Castle in the northern part of Cyprus, the Agios Panteleimonas Greek Orthodox monastery in the northern part of Cyprus and one Millhouse/Aqueduct in the government controlled areas. Additionally the list includes at the initiative of the European Commission in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders, the Maronite Saint George Old Church located in the northern part of Cyprus.
The bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, operating under the auspices of the United Nations, is one of 7 Technical Committees established in April 2008 and is dedicated to recognize and protect the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the island. Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot members of the Technical Committee are carrying out together cultural heritage preservation projects that are setting a positive example of successful collaboration between both communities in Cyprus.
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