Cleaning and structural support work has begun on the iconic but dilapidated Spitfire coffeeshop located on the Green Line, at the Paphos Gate area of the Nicosia walls, the Nicosia municipality announced on Wednesday.
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The abandoned building’s condition had been deemed quite dangerous for passing pedestrians and vehicles, the municipality said, leaving it no other choice but to step in.
Municipal crews have been sent to ensure that the structure of the coffeeshop, a precious part of Nicosia’s cultural heritage, remains intact.
“The division and occupation of a portion of within-the-walls Nicosia, as well as the ravages of time, due to the difficulty of maintaining and renovating certain buildings on the Green Line, causes a day-by-day deterioration of the condition of buildings, including the ‘Spitfire’ building,” the municipality stressed.
The emblematic Nicosia spot was left to deteriorate after the 1974 Turkish Invasion, when the coffeshop fell within the borders of the UN-controlled Buffer Zone separating the island’s divided communities.
A photo posted on a Facebook group, taken in 1965, one year after the establishment of the Buffer Zone in Nicosia, shows tanks and UN officials patrolling the Paphos Gate area, depicting the Spitfire coffeeshop in full swing: