6.5 cultural heritage Cyprus today is still

6.5
People Involved in The Rehabilitation Programme of The Walled City Nicosia Old
Town

“There is a
tremendous team spirit among the people involved in the project (both within
the individual teams, and in terms of cooperation between north and south).” A
dedicated group of architects and planners in each of the two municipalities
work for the NMP project. “On the Greek side, they include NMP team leader Agni
Petridou, Athina Papadopoulou, Eleni Petropoulou, Simos Droussiodes, Andri
Sofroniou, Costas Mavrokordatos, and Elena Sofianou.” “On the Turkish side,
they include NMP team leader Ali Guralp and Cemal Bensel.” Also, considerable
credit should go to the two mayors who initiated the process of cooperation in
1979: Mustafa Akinci and Lellos Demetrades. 9

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7. Impact
of The Renovation Programme of The Walled City Nicosia Old Town on to the
Cyprus Cultural Tourism Industry

“The phenomenon of
urban regeneration has become increasingly prominent on government agendas in
recent years.” “Urban regeneration is a promising opportunity for the tourism
industry.” “In the majority of the cases urban regeneration strategies follow a
cultural approach.”

“Creative
industries are supposed to create new employment in the heart of the city by
avoiding any kind of pollution and at the same time attracting young,
well-established and highly educated professionals.” “The regeneration process
is meant to be driven by beautification and contribution to an iconic building
to encourage investment in the area.”

“Cyprus has been
an intersection of different cultures over the last millennia and each has left
its trace in the built environment.” The cultural heritage of the island is
therefore rich and varied, reflecting both its oriental and occidental
influences. “In spite of the rich cultural heritage Cyprus today is still
mainly a “sun & beach” destination due to the lack of utilizing and
promoting its heritage.”

“The capital Nicosia is a city whose image has been
especially characterized by the Greek, Venetian and the Ottoman periods.” “Nicosia
became a divided city after the intervention of Turkish troops in 1974.” “Thus
the political situation has resulted in the seldom valuation of the country’s
heritage as a potential for cultural
tourism.” Due to the intensive engagement of the United Nations (following
the Nicosia Master Plan) a lot of historic monuments have been rediscovered and
renovated in the last few years.

“This large scale
urban regeneration created a significant potential for cultural urban tourism
and therefore the opportunity to support the further destination development of
Cyprus.” 10

“Thus these
influences result in much more incoming tourist to these attractive city and
this will benefit local residents and workers in terms of income.”

“The Renovation
Programme of The Walled City, the Chrysaliniotissa
residential rehabilitation scheme has had positive results, meeting the challenge
of combining conservation objectives with socio-economic revitalisation and encouraging
private owners to invest in and re-use traditional buildings through favourable
conditions, such as funding, a better economic environment and strong political
support.” 11* “In Arabahmed, however,
despite the US$5 billion spent on rehabilitating this historic district, socio-economic
vitality has not been achieved due to the lack of diversity of uses which would
keep the area active round the clock, and the social profile of the residents,
who are low-income and under-educated immigrants from less developed regions of
Turkey.” “The Arabahmed district still need strong external support, but the
revised implementation strategy giving new public uses to old houses, such as a
cultural centre, a women’s library, restaurants serving local traditional food,
art centres, and so forth, is starting to bear fruit.” 11*

Figure – Overall view of Walled City and the touristic
areas Arabahmed and Chrysaliniotissa

“The project’s
impact has been very positive. The southern part of the walled city is
gradually evolving into a high-quality urban district with a diverse mix of
residential, commercial, religious, and cultural uses springing up everywhere
(even along the buffer zone).” “The area also seems to accommodate diverse
economic groups and activities.” “Though the planning team feels that much
still needs to be done, what has been achieved so far is very impressive.”10

“In the northern
part of the walled city, the changes are also positive, but are taking place at
a slower rate.” “The north lags somewhat behind, in terms of both quantity and
quality.” There are a number of reasons for this. “One is the uncertainty about
the future of relations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the
Republic of Cyprus.” “More specifically, there is a problem with property
ownership in the walled city since it is expected that properties that were
expropriated in 1974 would have to be returned to their original Greek Cypriot
owners if and when a solution is reached that unifies the two sectors of the
city.” “A good number of these properties were taken over by residents of the
Turkish part, and some have even been sold to new owners since.” (This is not
such a serious problem in the Greek part, where the properties owned by Turkish
Cypriots before 1974 have been placed under the management of a special
committee run by the Ministry of Interior.) “Though the problem is not as
intractable as it may initially seem (some mechanisms for resolving it have
already been put forward), it has still dampened the inflow of investments to
the Turkish side, especially in areas close to the buffer zone.” 10

“The formulation
of the Nicosia Master Plan (NMP) have produced significant achievements, in
terms both of policies and projects on the ground, and enhancing both
communities capacity for bi-communal action for the future revitalization of
Nicosia as a whole.” “These bi communal projects, beyond seeking to increase
the capacity of the city’s services and to improve the existing and future
human settlement conditions of all the inhabitants of Nicosia, have acted as a
means of building confidence between the two communities although no solution
has yet been reached in the Cyprus problem and the divided status of the city
continues.” 11