Despite extremely bad weather at least 200 deeply moved Kythrea refugees crossed over on buses to their occupied small town to attend a sombre ceremony for the presentation of the fully renovated church of the Virgin Mary in the Trachoni area.
The church - one of the fully renovated projects of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage - filled with refugees who attended the ceremony holding candles and icons.
Restoration work for the monument began in April 2013 and was completed in October.
The €130,000 restoration project was fully funded by the European Union as part of a €2 million funding for restoring cultural heritage sites in Cyprus.
The Trachoni-Kythrea project was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme “Partnership for the future” (UNDP-PFF).
Restoration included stabilising and repairing the church walls, cleaning the interior, repairing the area once reserved for women, the iconostasis and the bell tower.
Present at the event were ambassadors and embassy representatives, the head of the European Commission for the implementation of the aid programme Alessandra Viezzer and UNDP-PFF head Tiziana Zennaro.
Greek Cypriot head of the technical body Takis Hadjidemetriou said the ceremony was an important moment for the committee and its task.
He said people present felt that not only was a monument restored but also a memory, a heritage and a prospect for the future.
“The Committee works systematically and moves step by step focusing at this stage on monuments in major danger so that a prospect for a better future for our country is established,” Hadjidemetriou said.
“This concept of reconciliation, coexistence and compromise is necessary in order to have a prospect on this land where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have a common future.”
Turkish Cypriot head of the committee Ali Hunzai said that after five years of hard work, members can see the results of hard work.
The Technical Committee managed to isolate the project of restoring cultural heritage from continued political conflict, he said.
The next project expected to be delivered to the Technical Committee are the Ottoman baths in Paphos.