Completion of Conservation works at the Arsenal/Canbulat Bastion in Famagusta
November 18, 2023
Nicosia, 18th November 2023 – The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH), is announcing the completion of the conservation works at the Arsenal/Canbulat Bastion in Famagusta, within the framework of the “Support to cultural heritage monuments of great importance for Cyprus”, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This was marked today by an event with the participation of TCCH, the European Commission, UNDP, EU Ambassadors and members of the public.
Mr Mario Nava, Director-General of the DG for Structural Reform Support of the European Commission stated, “Cyprus’ cultural heritage is very important. It should be everyone’s duty to preserve and protect its cultural monuments. The importance of restoring and conserving these monuments goes beyond their historical significance, it is also a tool to bring communities back together, to build confidence and bridges. We thank the co-chairs of the TCCH, all committee members and everyone else involved in this significant work.”
“We extend our gratitude to the European Union, the TCCH, and all those who played an instrumental role in the successful completion of the conservation works at the Arsenal Bastion in Famagusta,” emphasized Mr. Jakhongir Khaydarov, the Head of UNDP Cyprus. He went on to emphasize that “this accomplishment underscores the enduring cultural tapestry of Famagusta, while highlighting the significance of the United Nations’ fundamental principles. In conserving the Arsenal Bastion, we recognize the importance of preserving our cultural heritage to strengthen our commitment to peace, inclusivity, and justice for all in Cyprus and beyond”.
Mr. Ali Tuncay Turkish Cypriot co-chair of the TCCH stated that “The collaborative effort between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in the restoration of the Canbulat/Arsenal Bastion and other monuments on the island of Cyprus, stands as a powerful testament to the transformative potential of cooperation for the benefit of both sides” highlighting that “in an island and a region where historical narratives have often been marked by tensions, this joint endeavor not only breathes new life into ancient stones but also fosters confidence, understanding, and trust between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. Furthermore, this collaborative effort not only mends the physical structure but also sows seeds of goodwill and mutual respect that extend beyond the walls of this bastion”.
Dr. Sotos Ktoris Greek Cypriot co-chair of the TCCH said that “Today’ s gathering, here at the Arsenal Bastion of the Venetian walls of Famagusta, reaffirms our dedication to safeguarding cultural monuments throughout the island. These walls are not merely fortifications of stone; they are a tangible link to our past, a historical reminder of Cyprus's rich multicultural heritage. Hence, the conservation of Arsenal Bastion is more than just a structural intervention; it sends a profound message of peace and it serves as an invitation to all Cypriots to acknowledge and embrace the island's diverse cultural tapestry.”
The history of the Arsenal/Canbulat Bastion in Famagusta dates back to the early 13th century, and carries traces of all the different civilizations that dominated the island. The current tower replaced the original Lusignan round tower, and it was further modified by the Ottomans.
The TCCH has received €35.6 million invested by several donors to implement the priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage for the preservation of the island-wide cultural heritage of Cyprus. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.
The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage
The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage was established in 2008 under the auspices of the United Nations to provide a mutually acceptable mechanism for the preservation of the immovable cultural heritage of Cyprus. In 2009, the Advisory Board was set up by a decision of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and approved by the two leaders as the consultative body of the Committee. The aim of the Board is to protect, preserve and facilitate the preservation, physical protection and restoration (including research, study and survey) of the island’s common heritage. This mechanism allows for the practical aspects of preservation to be considered in a non-political manner so that practical measures can be taken to improve the situation on the ground.
The Technical Committees were created with the purpose of building trust between the two communities in Cyprus, thus facilitating the peace talks supported by the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General (OSASG-Cyprus).
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