Locally known as Lefkosia, Nicosia is the largest city in Cyprus. The old city, at the heart of which is the distinctive many-sided Venetian citadel, is home to a wealth of history and tales dating back to the 16th Century. While already a must-see place on the list of any history-minded visitor, a series of major regeneration projects are now underway across the city in a bid to improve the infrastructure, as well as preserve the city’s cherished historical legacies.
Here are three developments that herald a new dawn for Nicosia and are expected to be complete within the next two years:
Eleftheria Square (Freedom Square) & Solomou Square
At the epicentre of Cyprus’ modern history, Eleftheria Square has a long-standing reputation of being the linchpin between the modern city and the historical centre, as well as a reference point for Nicosia’s residents. A regeneration project is planned for the space between this square and neighbouring Solomou Square by the award-winning ZaHa Hadid Architects. An Urban Recreational Park is set to be developed, which will be home to an open-air theatre, a children’s playground, a bicycle route and a number of cafes and food stalls.
In a wider effort to improve traffic congestion throughout the city, pedestrians will be able to travel between the two squares making use of the new bridge which is currently being constructed, as well as make use of Solomou Square’s new bus station which will offer 14 new routes across the city.
New Town Hall
Another significant project is the construction of the New Town Hall – a group of eight buildings which will include new elements, as well as the restoration and refurbishment of historic buildings. With construction already underway, a number of relics have recently been discovered dating back to both the Bronze Age and the Ottoman period.
The Kaimakli area
Other landmarks within Nicosia that are set for a facelift, include the historic Kaimakli area in the north-west of the city – traditionally the home of many craftsmen, it will see the restoration of a number of house facades along the main streets; as well as the re-design and restoration of the Taht-El-Kale area. The restoration of the façades along the streets of this area will enhance their architectural importance and improve the built environment, while providing incentives for the private sector for further upgrading and investment in the area.