Eleftheria Square constitutes a dramatic and historically significant ‘architectural intervention’ – an aspiration to reconnect the ancient city’s massive fortified Venetian walls and moat with the modern city beyond – a bold vision of coherence and continuity which can become a catalyst to unify the last divided capital of Europe.
In aspiring to create an urban plaza for the city of Nicosia, we found ourselves confronted with deep historical traditions and contradictions: the presence of massive Venetian fortifications, constructed to offer protection from invaders and effectively containing and separating ancient and modern cities; the ‘green line’ which divides two communities in this, the last divided capital of Europe.
Our concept constitutes an ‘architectural intervention’ – the creation of an urban plaza which forms the spearhead of a much broader and ambitious urban planning gesture. One that aspires to organize and synthesize the entire urban wall, surrounding moat and modern city fringes beyond within a unified whole.
In achieving this grand vision, the moat becomes a green belt – a ‘necklace’ which surrounds the Venetian fortifications, transformed into Nicosia’s main park – a focal point for rest and recreation, a venue for art exhibitions and installations containing both sculpture gardens and sports facilities.
Elevated and widened to increase circulation, the moat is accessed by bridging streets – new gateways to the inner city, free of traffic thanks to the use of subterranean car parks.
The Venetian wall, restored to its former glory, flanked by palm-lined walkways and lit continuously by night, declares its presence and relevance to this new, unified Nicosia.