Completion of Hamidiye Mosque in Lefkara

March 27, 2024

The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH), has completed the conservation works at the Hamidiye Mosque in Lefkara, within the framework of the “Support to cultural heritage monuments of great importance for Cyprus”, a project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

This was marked by an event with the participation of the TCCH Co-Chairs and Members of the Advisory Board, representatives from the European Commission and UNDP, the diplomatic community, the technical team and members of the public. 


Marcin Brauhoff Acting Head of Unit for DG Structural Reform European Commission stated that “the EU recognises the key role that cultural heritage plays in promoting peace and democracy by fostering tolerance, inclusive dialogue and mutual understanding. This is particularly relevant in the context of Cyprus where restoring and conserving these monuments is a tool for reconciliation and social cohesion that brings the communities back together as witnessed here today.’


 Mr. Philippe Baudin-Auliac, Senior Political Affairs Officer,  UN Good Offices Mission/Cyprus stated that “Today’s achievement will not only contribute to further strengthening Lefkara as an important location for cultural heritage tourism. It also sends a tangible positive signal to the rest of the island and beyond” adding that “Indeed, the restoration of numerous monuments by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH) greatly contributes to creating an atmosphere for building confidence and a culture of peace across the island. Also, the work of the TCCH is not taking place in a stand-alone fashion: it is part and parcel of the work of the work carried out by all 12 Technical Committees established by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders actively working under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Good Office mission”.


"The successful completion of the conservation efforts at the Hamidiye Mosque in Lefkara marks a pivotal moment in our dedicated mission to safeguard Cyprus' invaluable cultural legacy. In honoring this achievement, we underscore the profound importance of upholding the fundamental principles of the United Nations,”said Jakhongir Khaydarov, Head of Office for UNDP Cyprus, adding that “we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to advancing cultural preservation as an indispensable pillar of sustainable development, fostering lasting peace, and ensuring stability for generations to come, both within Cyprus and throughout the world."


Mr.Sotos Ktoris, Greek Cypriot Representative of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage stated that “The completion of the conservation works in Hamidiye Lefkara mosque, underlines the commitment of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage to protect and perpetuate the island’s cultural heritage, ensuring the preservation of monuments from all communities. It underlines our strong belief that every monument, regardless of its origins, weaves into the fabric of our shared heritage, transcending communal and cultural divisions. It underlines our belief that monuments should not be seen as icons of strife and animosity but as a testament of our common past and our shared heritage, as a legacy that belongs to all the inhabitants of this island”.  


Mr. Ali Tuncay, Turkish Cypriot Representative of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage stated that the joint efforts of the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot experts to restore the Lefkara Hamidiye Mosque and other shared monuments across the island is a powerful testament to the transformative potential of working together for the mutual benefit of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. On an island and in a region where historical narratives have often been fraught with tension and suffering, this joint effort not only breathes new life into cultural heritage monuments, but also fosters trust, understanding and confidence between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Moreover, this joint effort not only repairs the physical structure, but also sows seeds of goodwill and mutual respect that go beyond the stones of the monuments.


Following the ceremony trees were planted to mark the completion of the Hamidiye Mosque. 


Dating back to the earliest era of Ottoman period in Cyprus, the Lefkara "Hamidiye" Mosque holds historical and architectural significance. Historical records indicate that the initial mosque was erected between 1835 and 1883. Subsequently, it was demolished post-1897, paving the way for the construction of the present-day structure. The octagonal minaret is a modern era addition. Representing the distinctive characteristics of a Cypriot vernacular architectural style, the mosque has an enclosed courtyard encircled by a low wall, complemented by a metal fence. The prayer area, once a double-arched space, serves as the central place of worship, featuring a roof supported by two expansive arches. The mosque's imposing scale and towering prayer hall underscore its purpose-built design for communal worship. 


The comprehensive conservation efforts undertaken at the Hamidiye Mosque encompassed various critical interventions, ensuring the mosque's long-term structural integrity, identity and cultural significance.

The European Union is the main financial contributor to the work of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (around 72% of its budget). Since 2011, the EU has given 27.5 million to the TCCH, which has restored, conserved or physically protected, more than  150 cultural heritage sites across Cyprus. The TCCH currently receives EUR 2.5 million per year in EU support.