Conservation works complete in two historic churches in Famagusta

A ceremony will be held this Saturday in Turkish-occupied Famagusta to mark the completion of conservation works in two historic churches, located in the northwestern part of the walled city.

Works at St. Mary of the Armenians Church and the Carmelite Church were fully funded by the European Commission and were implemented by the UNDP, in partnership with the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

The Armenian church is the community’s first monument to be restored with the contribution of the bicommunal Technical Committee, while more projects in the area are expected to finish soon.

The two churches are part of the Martinengo cluster, adjacent to the namesake bastion that was also recently revamped by the Technical Committee.

Takis Hadjidemetriou, the Greek Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee, and Vartkes Mahdessian, the Representative of the Armenians in the House of Representatives, spoke to the Cyprus News Agency, underlining the importance of this project.

Both churches are part of the multicultural fabric that characterized the old city of Famagusta, as well as Cyprus, Hadjidemetriou said, adding that the area is now open to visitors. He noted moreover the presence of various other monuments in the vicinity, like the Martinengo bastion, Tanners’ mosque (the former Jacobite church), St. Anne Maronite church and the Greek Orthodox St. George Exorinos church.

The Greek Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee said moreover that the significance of the Armenian church was tremendous, not just for the community, but also for Armenians worldwide, as well as for Cyprus and called on Armenians and the wider public to attend the ceremony.

He said finally that conservation works at Tanners’ mosque and St. Anne are soon to be completed, probably this September.

Mahdessian told CNA that the church has a great significance for the small Armenian community of Famagusta and said they hoped to secure a permit, in order to hold a service there soon.

He expressed moreover the wish, this project to mark the beginning of more restoration projects, underlining in particular the urgent works needed at Sourp Magar Armenian monastery.

St. Mary of the Armenians was probably built after the middle of the 14th century by Armenian refugees from the port of Lajazzo or Aegeae and was part of a monastic complex dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Carmelite Church, also known as St. Mary of Carmel, was part of the same complex, built between 1324 and 1366.

source: CNA