The battle for the heart of Nicosia
By Elias Hazou
PROPONENTS and critics of a grandiose plan to transform the capital’s
central square yesterday had the opportunity to speak out on a project
that is slated to change the face of Nicosia – for better or for worse.
A presentation of the winning design for the new Eleftheria Square
quickly turned into a public forum – probably a first for Cypriot
standards – with ordinary citizens and lobby groups alike participating
in a lively debate unfolding at the jam-packed Melina Merkouri hall.
Leading the attacks was Nicosia mayoral candidate Nicos Mesaritis –
himself an architect – who said that in other European cities,
authorities get feedback from the people – such as with leaflets –
before embarking on major town-planning projects.
One woman in the crowd pointed out that Zaha Hadid had never visited
Nicosia, wondering how she could possibly get a feel for the project.