CYPRUS: Placido Domingo urges leaders to save crumbling Cypriot heritage

Famous opera singer Placido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra, called on Cypriot leaders to seize the opportunity of their new meeting, to discuss the alarming state of heritage and historic buildings which are located in the Nicosia buffer zone.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were holding a rare face-to-face meeting on Tuesday to break-the-ice on reunification talks.

In an open letter to the leaders, Domingo, speaking on behalf of Europa Nostra, the Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe, said the recent partial collapse of the walls of the mediaeval church of St. James, 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.

Last October, Europa Nostra organised visits to the UN-controlled buffer zone of Nicosia followed by a major public discussion on the Endangered Cultural Heritage there.

On 29 November 2018, Europa Nostra wrote to both leaders to express its grave concern about the deplorable state of deterioration which continued and was indeed accelerating in the buffer zone of Nicosia.

It appealed to the leaders to give the political impetus to the urgently needed reinforcement of two churches, namely St George’s Church and St. James’ Church.

We insisted that the condition of these two important historic monuments was particularly alarming and that it was necessary to start the rescue works without any further delay to avoid any irreparable loss. Alas, the partial collapse of the church of St. James is a sad demonstration that Europa Nostra was right to ring the alarm bell, Domingo said.

We remain confident that you shall seize the opportunity of your meeting to reach an agreement between the political and military authorities concerned, both local and international, to allow the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritageto undertake immediately adequate measures to protect the remains of St. James’ Church from adverse weather influence while preparing the complex restoration works to bring the church back to its previous state.

Source: The Financial Mirror