Destruction of monuments, archaeological sites and churches
Until 1974 186 Archaeological sites and Ancient Monuments were listed according to the Antiquities Law of the Republic of Cyprus. The procedure of listing ancient monuments in the occupied part of Cyprus was interrupted in 1974 resulting in the non-inclusion of a large number of important monuments. In 2006 the Council of Ministers decided the reevaluation of the procedure of listing ancient monuments in the occupied areas and this resulted in the inclusion of nine more churches and monasteries, augmenting the total number of listed ancient monuments to 195. The listing of other monuments situated in the occupied areas of the island will continue so that the catalogue of these monuments will be the appropriate one.
According to the existing catalogue of ancient monuments in the occupied part of Cyprus, we have the following:
- Archaeological sites and ancient cemeteries 31
- Churches 96
- Monasteries 17
- Muslim mosques 3
- Bridges, houses of traditional architecture
and other buildings of public or private character 37
- Fortresses, towers and fortifications 11
- Total 195
Source: Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus
The situation today
Archaeological sites: The archaeological sites in the occupied areas did not undergo the necessary restoration works and in many cases the damage and negligence are obvious as for example is the case of the archaeological site of Enkomi. Moreover, in many cases the storerooms, where the finds from the excavations were kept, have been looted. The archaeological site at Gastria in Ammochostos was destroyed, as well as the archaeological sites at the cape Agios Andreas Kastros and the archaeological site of Galinoporni, both in Karpasia.
Ecclesiastical buildings: As regards churches and monasteries, which in total reach 113 edifices, the situation is really tragic. Together with all the churches of the villages, the cemeteries and all the chapels, which had not been declared as ancient monuments, have been completely looted. Especially movable objects like the iconostasis, the icons, the sacerdotal vestments, the books and all other material which was kept inside them were removed. Unfortunately, we have not a complete picture of all the buildings, as many of them cannot be reached, even after the opening of the barricades nearly five years ago.
In the occupied areas, in June 1974 there were around 520 churches, monasteries and chapels, which were transformed or destroyed, as follows:
Stables, or hay warehouses 67
Museums, cultural centres, hotels 57
ammunition warehouses 17
Completely demolished 25
Source: Republic of Cyprus