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“Laiki Yitonia”’ in the old city

THE CYPRUS WEEKLY “Laiki Yitonia”’ Nov. 23-29, 1979 in the old city PAGE 9 Plans are now complete for the first project in preserving and reactivating parts of old Nicosia within the medieval walls and work on the projectis expected to start early next year. Nicosia architect Pefkios Georghiades, who has drawn the plans for the project, insists how- ever: “It will not be a museum, but something liv- ing. We want to convert an area which is dying into something that will pulse with life”. The area chosen by the Municipality is near the Eleftheria square Post Office and parallel to Constantine Paleologos Ave., the street running along the Venetian walls. Georghiades and his associates, Athina Aris- totelous and Yiannis Anastassiou, have bean planning and researching for a very long time and fi- nally advised Nicosia Mayor Lallos Demetri- ades where to make a start. Architecture “Mayor Demetriacdes and § council have several areas in mind”, he explained, “but decided on this particular neigh- bourhood because it is so near the commercial cen- tre of Nicosia and so easi- ly accessible by tourists and residents alike. to preserve their old buildings, protect baauti- ful examples of urban architecture. At the same time it would pay the own- ers of such buildings to “preserve them and develop them in the right way. The first project will cost the Nicosia munici- pality some £200,000 and the entire area consisting of two of the narrowest This derefict little square, where the white Athlenou marble paving can now Artist's impression of “Laiki Yitonia” a section of old Nicosia, where the M unic- ipality will preserve the picturesque 19th Century urban architecture of the old city within the medieval walls. As the entire area will become the property of the municipality, the May- or and his council will have the right to decide who gets the shops. Anda. Spokesman for the mu- nicipallity said: “The crite- rion will be quality and not financial gain by us. hardly be seen, will be the focal point of the “Laiki ¥itonia”, with a vine growing over It and fig trees at left. The purpose, he said, is to create something which would not only interest the tourists, but to show the Cypriots how Perhaps the narrowest street in the walled city, this charming passage will get anew paving of white terraz- zo marble. It will have a restaurant at right where visi- tors and residents alike will be able to sample local dishes. streets of the capitalanda small marble-paved Square, has been pur- chased for preservation. Miss Aristotelous said the area will have a tavern, a restaurant, caf- fee shop, workshops for embroidery and lace work, weaving, pottery as well as gold and silvers- miths and copper work- ers, It will also have kebab stalls, wine shops and other establishments where people will be able to sample and buy dry fruit, nuts and such dell- cacies as shoushoukko, lokkoumi and palouze. The coffee shop will be on the square itself and will have a large vine climbing over its roof and an old-style water wall. Art Gallery Behind it will be the first ever public art gallery where works by Gypriot artists will be on parma- nant show. Underneath the gallery will be a boite- type night club. People now living in the area will be allowed to remain there, He added: “This will be our first attempt and we hope other projects will tollow. We'll also be delighted if other townain the island follow sult and start similar projects of thelr own. It will help sell Cyprus. After all, tourists do not want to come to Cy- prus to see our so-called “modern” buildings. We should preserve a lot, be- fore we forget what Nico- sia looked like”. Oriental Explaining the pro- ject, Georghiades said: “You would be surprised how many beautiful houses there are within the walls of Nicosia, This particular area has 19th Century traditional urban architecture which blends oriental influences and Mediterranean idiom. - “For example you have Arabic kiosks and pointed arches with ade inite Gothic influence, and Mediterranean centre courts and eastern-style trelliced windows”. One of the most seri- ous problems which the municipality will be fac- ing when work actually Starts in the preserved area will be that of finding the compestant artisans. Many tradesmen, espe- cially old-fashioned ma- 50ns are not easy to come by these days and the art of carving the rich, golden-yellow sandstone which Is so typical of Ni- cosia architecture, is a rarity indeed. Aga result the restor- ers will use rough paint over plaster in ordar to bring out the warm glow of the sandstone. In Greek, the plan- ners have called it “Laiki Yitonia (which means peoples’ neighbourhood or quarter) but have not thought of an English name for it, Perhaps it's going tobe an Old Market Arcade or an Old Nicosia Quarter. The tourists will decide in due course. Interesting woodwork of the steps and the delightful balcony of this house will contrast beautifully with the glow of the rich ochre plaster of the walls.