The “Lost Heritage” of Cyprus – 35 years of desecration

I spent some time tonight at the Cyprus High Commission viewing a very powerful exhibition of photographs showing how a huge number of churches and places of worship have been desecrated in those parts of Cyprus that were invaded and occupied by Turkish forces in 1974.

The photographs were taken by Doros Partasides who settled in London with his family after the 1974 invasion (he also photographed the invasion itself and its aftermath).  In the last few years, it has been possible for him to return and, as he puts it, that it was “with great trepidation” he finally visited his father’s village in the occupied area for the first time in over thirty years.

He writes:

“It was if time had stopped there in 1974.  It was immeasurably moving for me.  I decided then to record these tragic images and so this long photographic journey began.

The first church I photographed was in the village of Gerolakos.  … The doors were shut.  Inside, a hut had been erected next to the altar labelled ‘KEBAB’.

From then on, wherever I went, the message of devastation was the same.  I encountered abandoned churches to the point of collapse, interiors desecrated with animal and human waste, precious frescoes defaced, altars and icon stands damaged beyond recognition; churches transformed into mosques, places of entertainment, military headquarters and watchtowers; cemetaries strewn with broken headstones, the graves themseves dug up.

My camera became my weapon.  The anger and horror I experienced served only to give me the strength to continue recording this terrible destruction of my religious heritage.”

3 thoughts on “The “Lost Heritage” of Cyprus – 35 years of desecration”

  1. The ” Lost heritage” of Cyprus– 35 years of desecration

    The desecration of the Greek Cypriot religious and cultural heritage is a fact witnessed by so many people including yourself ,and Mr Doros Partasides who took the pictures of Turkey’s Attila destruction .
    It is a fact that the monstrosity done by Turkey’s Attila army depicts the menace and the hatred against the Greek Cypriots from Turkey’s state against anything which reminded Greek Civilization and Greek Orthodox religion in Cyprus occupied teritory of 37% by Turkey. I would like to mention that there was one hundred pages pictorial detailed report done by a Canadian from Ottawa Canada Jaques Dalibard.Mr Jaques Dalibard was an Authenticity on religious and Byzantium art, and was sent to Cyprus 37% of the occupied area by Turkey by UNESCO to compile a report in 1976. The report was finally reduced to ten pages and finally was suppressed and not allowed to be published, withthe excuse that it was going to cause an international uproar against Turkey if it was published. The plight and the aspirations of the EU Greek Cypriots to be able to live in their own ancestral land free as all the EU citizens ,will never become a reality as long as the big strategic interests are in need to have their military bases in Cyprus .for their foreign interests . It is sad incoceivable and incomprehensible for EU to have accession talks with Turkey. Turkey has never been punished for the Genocide of millions of Greeks, Armenians and others in Asia Minor catastrophe since the Ottoman Turks occupied Constantinople May 1453 . It is sad and unfortunate, that EU has accession talks with Turkey to join the EU without any ties to EU. Turkey violates the EU protocol and occupies 37% of EU Cyprus which is an independent and sovereign state and UN member ,and Turkey deprives the Greek Cypriots to enjoy the three basic EU fundamental human rights and freedoms.

    Sincerely E. Nondas

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