Uproar in Nicosia where four protected buildings in the old city centre were demolished. The Cypritonian state listed the houses as architectural heritage to preserve them for the future.
According to France24, the demolished buildings were next to the Archbishop’s Palace, where the Church of Cyprus is constructing a new cathedral. The land on which the structures stood, is owned by the church. The crumbling houses were deemed unsafe, an anonymous spokesperson stated to The Associated Press. Nonetheless, the decision to destroy them caused a storm of critique, directed against Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
Nicosia’s mayor, Constantinos Yiorkadjis, told state radio station CyBC that the buildings were torn down without a permit. Therefore, the demolitions are illegal. The mayor said the municipality would demand the restoration of the destroyed buildings. The office of the Archbishop announced the Archbishop would send a letter to the municipality promising to restore the buildings.
Several political parties released statements denouncing the destruction of Cypritonian heritage. Ruling conservative party DISY said the authorities would deal with the situation according to the state’s law. Communist opposition party AKEL was outraged by the action: ”Our cultural heritage is not the property of the Archbishop.”
Cyprus’s interior ministry has listed over 7000 buildings across the island as national architectural and historical heritage. By listing these structures, the ministry hopes to preserve the island’s cultural legacy. While the houses in Nicosia will be restored, their value as authentic Cypritonian heritage is lost forever.