Open letter Europa Nostra to Cyprus leaders to protect Nicosia Buffer Zone

The Buffer Zone of the Historic Centre of Nicosia, Cyprus
The Buffer Zone of the Historic Centre of Nicosia, Cyprus Image: Europa Nostra (Flickr)

Maestro Plácido Domingo, president of Europa Nostra has sent an open letter to the two leaders of Cyprus calling for their urgent action to protect the endangered heritage in the Buffer Zone of Nicosia. The Zone was selected in 2013 as part of the 7 Most Endangered program of the Heritage organisation.

Amidst the different conflicts on the island a buffer zone was established in 1974 across the island along the ceasefire line to separate the northern Turkish controlled part of the island, and the south. This buffer zone runs through Ledra Street in the middle of Nicosia.

“The recent partial collapse of the walls of the medieval church of St. James (Agios Iakovos) is a deplorable reminder that urgent measures must be undertaken to reinforce and restore the many endangered buildings located in the Buffer Zone in order to prevent further loss of Cyprus’ invaluable cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible.”

Plácido Domingo

In October, Europa Nostra organised new visits to the Buffer Zone of Nicosia followed by a major public discussion on the Endangered Cultural Heritage in the Buffer Zone of Nicosia, as part of a 2-day Conference dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the 7 Most Endangered programme, run by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute.

Nicosia (from wikipedia)

Nicosia is the largest city and capital of the island of Cyprus. It has been continuously inhabited for over 4,500 years.

The aftermath of the Cyprus dispute saw the creation of the Nicosia Buffer Zone in 1974, which cuts across the historic and architecturally rich centre and has disrupted the city’s cohesion and continuity for almost 40 years. The corridor’s heritage spans from beautiful medieval monuments to elegant neoclassical buildings and traditional workshops. Once the focal point of craft and trade, the historic heart of Nicosia is sadly today a lifeless corridor of 1.5 km.

Read more and see the letter in its entirety at Europa Nostra.