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Emergency works save 15th century church from total collapse

23 June, 2014

Emergency works at the derelict church of Panagia Melandrina, in the Turkish-occupied village of Kalograia, in the Kyrenia district, have recently been completed, according to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

In statements to CNA, the Greek Cypriot Chairman of the bi-communal committee, Takis Hadjidemetriou, spoke of a “serious effort to rescue this very important monument” belonging to the island`s cultural heritage. “If we hadn`t intervened in time, today we wouldn`t be speaking today of a monument, but of another ruined site,” Hadjidemetriou said.

He added that the 15th century church, which is the only remaining building of a wider monastery complex, was facing the danger of a total collapse. “There were cracks on the church walls and part of its roof had collapsed,” the Greek Cypriot Chairman noted.

Services were held at the Panagia Melandrina Church until 1940. There is not much left of the surrounding complex that collapsed in the early 20th century.

Hadjidemetriou said the current phase of the project has been completed, however there are thoughts for further restoration in the future.

According to a recent announcement by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the cost of emergency measures amounts to 137,000 euros and was fully funded by the EU.

The measures, implemented by UNDP, include general cleaning, the removal of debris and vegetation, consolidation of deteriorated masonry in order to prevent it from further collapse, excavation, a permanent timber structural support and a temporary roof.

To date, there have been emergency measures and conservation works for 15 cultural heritage sites, all over Cyprus. Conservation works are nearly completed for Agios Afxentios Church in Komi Kebir and Agios Nikolaos Church in Syrianochori, both in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

Moreover, new contracts have been recently signed for structural consolidation works at the Othello Tower, in the old city of Famagusta and at mosques in Evretou and Phasouri.