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A modern touch in the heart of Nicosia


Christothea Iacovou

The Eleftheria Square in Nicosia was designed by Zaha Hadid and was delivered in 2021 after many years of reconstruction. It was created in a way that connects the past and the historic city with the modern urban and commercial centre.

Eleftheria Square is a public square and a vital landmark in Nicosia, symbolising freedom and unity for the Cypriot people. It has historical and cultural importance and has been subject to numerous renovations to accommodate the changing city requirements. The square serves as a central hub for gatherings, events, and cultural activities. Soon, there are plans to open a kiosk and a pastry shop in the area.

Zaha Hadid described her vision as follows: “In contrast to the Green Line that divides the city, the moat becomes a ‘green belt,’ an ‘encircling’ element that surrounds and unifies the city and both sides of the walls, while becoming the central park of Nicosia, similar to Central Park in New York, Hyde Park in London, and the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.This new park in Nicosia will serve as an open, public space in the heart of the city.” Although, it should be noted that Zaha Hadid passed away in 2016 and did not have the opportunity to see the completion of the project.

 

The story of Eleftheria Square traces back to the Colonial period when the British constructed a wooden bridge to connect the two parts of Nicosia. In 1972, an architectural competition was held to redesign the square, but it was interrupted in 1974. A new attempt began in 2003, and Zaha Hadid’s firm won the competition in 2005. Construction started in 2012, but in 2014, the contract with Miltiades Neophytou Civil Engineering Contractors & Developers Ltd was terminated due to disputes. The municipality paid €530,000 for completed work. Afterward, Lois Builders Ltd was awarded the project. By December 2015, substantial progress had been made, aiming for completion by September 2016.

It should be noted that the total cost of constructing Eleftheria Square was approximately €40 million, considering the initial estimated cost, the awarded construction project amount and additional payments made during the project’s course.

Voice International 2023

 

 


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