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14-09-2020 15:01

Creation of shelters for the mosaics and other archaeological remains within the archaelogical site of Nea Pafos

The Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works announces that the procedure of the evaluation of the proposals submitted by architecture firms, following the international competition to design protective shelters at the World Heritage site of Nea Pafos has been completed. In particular, the shortlisted firms are six and are now asked to submit a concept design, so as to finally select the architecture firm that will implement the project. In due course, the final design will be monitored to assess performance, based on the requirements and needs of the archaeological site.

The concept design for protective shelters is part of the activities that are being put forward as part of the collaboration of the Department of Antiquities with the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, which began in 2018, for the development of a comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the World Heritage sites of Nea Pafos and Tombs of the Kings. This collaboration stems from the strategic objectives of the Department of Antiquities regarding the application of the most recent international achievements to the management of the cultural heritage of Cyprus, i.e. to archaeological sites, monuments and museums across the island.

As it has already been announced in the past, the procedure for the design of protective shelters began between 2 - 6 of April 2019, when a meeting was held in situ, with the participation of international specialists from various fields of expertise, including architecture, engineering, environmental monitoring and hydrology. All experts had previous experience with shelters in other World Heritage sites. The purpose of this meeting was to study, exchange knowledge and decide on the requirements and criteria for the design. It is once more underlined that the design and implementation of the protective shelters is primarily based on the special conditions and features of the archaeological site; for example, the need to protect the sensitive archaeological remains, to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the site and its natural settings, the need for a holistic approach, the presentation and increase of the visitors’ experience. The detailed and careful assessment of all these aspects, with the contribution of renowned specialists from across the globe, attests to the Department of Antiquities’ efforts to provide the best possible solution for the unique mosaics of this very important World Heritage archaeological site.

The entire procedure, from the evaluation of the archaeological remains, the risks and needs of the archaeological site, to the architecture firm that will design the shelters following the international competition, requires a certain timeframe for all the subsequent actions. Despite the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic affected the initial timeline, yet, the procedure continues as planned by the Department of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute.

Moreover, the procedure, as a whole, manifests that the Department of Antiquities aims at finding the best possible scientific solution for sheltering the mosaics. It is underlined that the mosaics are already being protected, as the most appropriate methods in the field of mosaics’ conservation internationally, are being applied for their preservation, until the most effective shelter design is implemented. In particular, the participation of the Department of Antiquities in international organisations responsible for the protection of ancient mosaics, such as MOSAIKON and ICCM (International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics), demonstrates in the best possible way that this part of the archeological record is being highly valued and protected. This collaboration continues through the years, under various activities.

Finally, it is important to note that the core of the Conservation and Management Plan for the archaeological sites of Nea Pafos and Tombs of the Kings, is the protection and preservation of all the values these sites represent, including cultural and environmental values. All actions within this framework, from mapping of the sites to visitor management, aim at addressing the challenges and promoting this unique World Heritage site.

(EK/SCH)