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23 July, 2024
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The Louvre, the British Museum, and now the New Cyprus Museum (photos - video)

The New Cyprus Museum project gets underway in January (watch video)

Work on the New Cyprus Museum will begin in January 2023, and the project is expected to take 42 months to complete, with completion scheduled for mid-2026. The signatures were signed today, Wednesday (14/12), at 10 a.m., at the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, in the presence of the Minister of Transport, Communications, and Works, Yannis Karousos.

Today is a historic day for our country, a historic day for our culture, and a historic day for our cultural heritage, as we sign the contract for the construction of the new Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, said Mr. Yannis Karousos.

Just as Paris has the Louvre Museum, London has the British Museum, and Athens has the Acropolis Museum, we will now have the New Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, which will (offer) free admission

Excerpts from the Minister's speech

This is a project that was announced and prioritized by the President of the Republic, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, and we are signing the contract for its construction today with great joy and pride. This is the largest project in the state budget, costing approximately €144 million including VAT, demonstrating the government of Nicos Anastasiades's support for culture in practice.

One of the things we are proud of in the Nicos Anastasiades administration, particularly in the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Works, is that we have succeeded in putting important and long-awaited projects under construction that have been requested by local communities and stakeholders for decades.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Currently, the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Works is in charge of projects and developments with budgets of up to €3 billion.

In terms of projects for our country's culture, particularly antiquities, the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Works has completed the upgrading of the Paphos and Larnaca museums, the consolidation of the Paphos archaeological sites, and we are proceeding with the consolidation of the Polis Chrysochous and Larnaca archaeological sites. Furthermore, the Museum of Maritime Archaeology in Larnaca is progressing, and a significant number of ancient monuments (Table B) such as ancient monasteries, churches, chapels, fountains, water mills, and so on have been upgraded and restored in recent years.

For many years, particularly since my tenure as Mayor of Ayia Napa, I have been a strong supporter of the integrated tourism experience strategy, which aims to create experiences and positive memories for our visitors so that when they return home, we can ensure that they "take something of our Cyprus with them," thereby creating a desire to return to us as repeat visitors.

It is a one-of-a-kind museum, a landmark, a national monument, a work that, because of its aesthetic, architectural, or historical significance for a region, is a masterpiece that will provide visitors with a perspective and amaze them. My prediction is that it will become the number one tourist attraction in Cyprus and the first choice for our millions of visitors; it will also attract a significant number of visitors to the capital, resulting in significant economic, social, and cultural benefits. Most importantly, it will be one of Europe's most important museums, not only because of its unique architecture but also because of the exhibits and experiences it will provide. With this museum, Nicosia will become a point of reference and evolution on the cultural map of Europe.

Just as Paris has the Louvre Museum, London has the British Museum, and Athens has the Acropolis Museum, we will now have the New Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, which will operate with free admission, because as a government we have established free admission to the museums of the Department of Antiquities, proving in practice that the government of Nicos Anastasiades supports culture while also leaving works as a legacy for future generations.

The Museum will be built on a 40,000sqm plot of land in a significant central area of Nicosia, on the site of the old General Hospital, 40,000sqm opposite the House of Representatives and adjacent to the existing Cyprus Museum and the Nicosia Municipal Theatre.

It will include permanent exhibition spaces of 5,500 square meters housing approximately 6,500 antiquities, temporary exhibition spaces of 1,000 square meters, educational program spaces, conservation workshops of 2,000 square meters, underground parking spaces, 5,000 square meters of antiquities storage, a restaurant, cafeteria, library, amphitheater, offices, shop/art shop, and extensive exterior landscaping. The landscaping work will include a public square with a fountain to mark and enhance the city's new, improved image.

Furthermore, the contract includes the restoration/maintenance of a listed building as well as the demolition of other existing structures.

The contract was awarded to the consortium "Iacovou - Cyfield (M) Joint Venture" for €143.924.216 including VAT.

The project's construction will begin in January 2023 and will be completed in 42 months, with a two-year maintenance period and the option to negotiate a 10-year maintenance period included in the contract. Following the completion of the construction works, an 18-month period is planned for the completion of the museographic works, which include the transport and installation of the exhibits. As a result, the museum is expected to be completed in 60 months.

A historical museum

The structure has a total area of 40,000 square meters, of which 27 thousand square meters are enclosed spaces. It will have 6,000 exhibits, a library, a 300-seat auditorium, and a 380-seat parking lot. It also includes a large open space that extends from the Parliament building to the Pediaion River. The new building, according to the project's architect, will stand out for its bioclimatic - energy-efficient design that will ensure energy efficiency and make use of climate data with an emphasis on natural cooling and lighting. It will also have exhibition spaces, educational workshops, maintenance workshops, archaeological storage areas, and visitor gathering areas such as a restaurant and café.  The Archaeological Museum, the House of Representatives, the Nicosia Municipal Theatre, the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, the Leventis Gallery, the Kastelliotissa Hall, the Town Hall, Eleftherias Square, and the Cyprus Library are all within walking distance.

The project

The consortium IACOVOU - CYFIELD JOINT VENTURE won the tender with a bid of €120.938.000 plus VAT. The project's total cost, including VAT, is €144 million. The museum's initial budget was estimated to be around €110-€115 million, but inflationary pressures on raw material prices worldwide, which have significantly impacted the construction sector, resulted in an additional €5-€10 million cost increase.

The point of reference

The point of reference is not only the cultural upgrading of Nicosia but of Cyprus in general, with implications for tourism. The museum is expected to receive 300 visitors per day, with 90% of them being tourists, while the Ministry expects at least one-fifth of all tourists to visit the new Cyprus museum. According to Mr. Karousos, the museum will come to offer visitors the experience that is lacking in Nicosia, to impress them before they enter the museum and to offer them the museum experience because technology will offer the element of interactivity and enhance the experience when visiting the museum space, an element that can enhance the so-called word of mouth among the visitors.

Theoni Xanthi's speech in the framework of the 4th Digital Agenda, and the subsequent discussion with Minister of Transport Mr. Yannis Karousos, Mayor of Nicosia Konstantinos Yiorkatzis, architect Christos Pasas, and Byron Ioannou.

*Based on reports by Apostolos Kouroupakis and Maria Irakleous.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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