Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides
After almost 50 years, Nicosia airport comes back to life, thanks to the Cyprus Institute.
A team composed of the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) and the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) have been digitally processing 360-degree images of the Nicosia airport premises since June 2021.
It was hailed for its stylish modernity, elegant and uncluttered spaces, with shafts of sunlight streaming through large circular wells in the ceiling.
People will now be able to take a panoramic tour of the airport’s interior and exterior facilities as it was after the invasion of 1974 by visiting https://nic-project.com.
The Nicosia International Airport was once the main airport for the island of Cyprus and is fondly remembered by many locals. Located in the UN buffer zone and inaccessible to the general public, it has become an object of nostalgia for Greeks and Turkish Cypriots alike.
The new terminal building opened in 1968. It was designed by Dorsch und Gehrmann from Wiesbaden, Germany and built by Cybarco. It was hailed for its stylish modernity, and elegant, uncluttered spaces, with shafts of sunlight streaming through large circular wells in the ceiling.
With an increasing number of holidaymakers flying into Nicosia airport on Cyprus Airways and various other carriers, plans were announced in June 1974 to expand the terminal and platform. But this was not to be.
During the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, the airport was heavily bombed and there was no alternative but to cease operations.
According to the Cyprus Institute, the aim of this project was not only to map out the physical structure of the building and surrounding areas but to recapture the spirit of the airport terminal which was once an iconic building for both communities on the island.
The first phase of the project will include a panoramic tour of the internal and external premises of the airport which will be readily accessible on the Institute’s website.
The second phase will include a virtual reconstruction of how the airport was before the events of 1974. The completion date of this phase has yet to be announced.
The press release issued today stated that "Although access to the airport terminal is deemed unsafe due to years of abandonment and lack of maintenance, thanks to the NIC platform, it is now possible to explore it again, virtually walking all its spaces including offices, shops, public and restricted areas, bringing back to the society a landmark of Cypriot history".
It added, "After a meticulous and lengthy data analysis and post-processing, The Cyprus Institute is thrilled to release the first version of the NIC platform, which includes a full virtual tour including all accessible areas of the main terminal, the control tower, the hangar, and three planes sitting in the airport premises".
The platform also features a collection of historical images that will transport the viewer back in time when the airport was fully operational and visited by numerous tourists and holidaymakers.