Nicosia, 30 September 2010–A unique bi-communal workshop took place at the 14th Century Armenian Church and Monastery in Nicosia on 27th September, which not only developed the skills of participants but enabled them to interact and share knowledge with each other.
A group of skilled conservators, architects and stone masons from both communities participated in an unprecedented hands-on training on stone conservation at the site of the Armenian Church and Monastery in the old town of Nicosia, which is currently being restored with UNDP-ACT support. The participants had a unique opportunity to enhance their skills using real-life examples and thus participate in an active cultural heritage restoration project. Participants were impressed – in the words of one architect:“We learned a great deal about the complexities and challenges of stone conservation”.
The € 2.6 million restoration project, begun in 2009, and is due to be completed in 2011, with a focus on restoring the important Gothic masonry church, and stabilising the monastery and other structures located on the site. The restoration follows a comprehensive design process, which had the input of a wide range of stakeholders, including the Armenian community.
“Through the implementation of this project, we have made enormous progress towards uncovering the history of this monument”, said Paolo Vitti representing the Italian project design team. Not only is the Armenian Church and Monastery an important cultural heritage asset for all Cypriots, its restoration will also contribute to the improving inter-communal relations and revitalising the walled city of Nicosia.
“This project has the full involvement and support of all local stakeholders. By bringing people together to work on important cultural heritage projects, we also fulfill one of our other aims – to increase cooperation, trust and understanding amongst the various communities in Cyprus” said Jaco Cilliers, UNDP-ACT Programme Manager.
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