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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Optimism after heritage talks on Famagusta ]

Optimism after heritage talks on Famagusta

“WE FEEL we are doing something right. An act of duty; an act of faith to architecture, culture and history; an act of love for Famagusta and Cyprus.”
Such is the outlook of those who are working for the restoration of ancient Famagusta, in the words of its mayor Alexis Galanos.

Galanos gave a news conference yesterday to brief the media on a meeting held last week in Paris, coinciding with the opening of Ledra Street the previous day.
“The meeting was a success,” Galanos said. “We look towards the future with optimism.”

The meeting was facilitated by Europa Nostra and backed by the UN: “It was a cultural meeting about our town’s cultural heritage.”

The vice-president of the Pan-European heritage foundation Europa Nostra, Costas Carras, was in attendance, as was the Turkish Cypriot mayor of Famagusta, Oktay Kayalp.

“What’s important for us is that cultural heritage and human rights go hand-in-hand.
“The residents of the ghost town must return. Our efforts are within the framework of the tragedy suffered by our people,” Galanos emphasised.

“Those present acknowledged that we were talking about an undivided Cyprus and an undivided Famagusta,” he added.

“We have a European vision as regards the area of Famagusta.

“We need to win the Europeans over to our cause,” he advocated, highlighting Europe’s responsibility towards its own people.

Furthermore, this was not an affair exclusive to Famagusta.

“It branches out to all the monuments of Cyprus which constitute our cultural heritage. It is understandable that funding will be needed for these efforts.”

The initiative is currently boosted by moral and economic support from the Leventis, Pieridis and Thetis foundations.

He also thought that, “the new Cypriot government should also trouble itself over the priority of Famagusta.

“We’ve asked for a meeting with the President. We have to make the most of the current climate.”

He suggested the possibility of Famagusta acting as a laboratory for the rest of the island ahead of unification.

“The economic co-operation between the two communities in Famagusta can act as a test case for the rest of the island.”

Galanos pointed out the political benefits which a good climate between the two communities harbours.

“By creating and sustaining a good climate we make it difficult for the occupying forces to explain their presence.

“A climate of constant denial gives support to the logic of occupation,” he argued.

Documentary

THE STONES of Famagusta is a 70-minute long documentary which travels viewers through the ruins of Famagusta.

“You have 2,000 years of historical architecture within reaching range. It’s astonishing,” said Allan Langdale, the Canadian art historian who made the documentary.

It was filmed by British director Dan Frodsham, and it claims to “restore this forgotten Cypriot city to its rightful place as a heritage site of world importance.”

“The value Famagusta holds for world heritage is greater than all those things that have separated us for so long,” said Galanos about the town with the multicultural heritage.

He found the documentary to be “objective”, but perhaps what is more worrisome is not whether it is objective or not, but the fact that there is a “real structural concern” for many of the city’s monuments, according to Langdale.

In Galanos’ words: “the Famagusta we grew up is now hostage to rot and decay.”


(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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