Cyprus press conference, Cyprus House, NY, July 11
PRESS RELEASE: RESTORATION OF CYPRUS CHURCHES “EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES”
New York, NY, July 2012 – The Cyprus Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces that during the first sixth months of 2012 the implementation of the activities of the project entitled “EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES, Promotion of Selected Middle Byzantine Monuments of Crete and Cyprus, using innovative methods” continued. The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the Cross-Border Cooperation Program Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013. The project includes full management actions for two Middle Byzantine monuments, the churches of Panagia Kofinou and Agia Marina Kandou. In 2011 the excavation of both sites was completed, as well as the first phase of the conservation of the Panagia Kofinou wall paintings.
The second phase, which is on-going, began in January 2012 with the stabilisation and cleaning of the wall paintings at Panagia Kofinou, In collaboration with the wall-painting conservation team of the Department of Antiquities, the church’s masonry was also restored to a great extent (i.e. removal of the old grouting, replacement of worn stones, removal of soil within the church, coating of the church’s foundations with a special material for the treatment of humidity protecting the wall paintings from rising damp). The grouting of the exterior south side has already been completed while in the church‘s interior the grouting and the first coat of plaster has been applied to the surfaces of the east branch and of the apse of the Holy Bema. When the grouting takes place, small rubber tubes are simultaneously installed for the canalization of the reinforcing mortar to the interior of the masonry.
The selection of materials used for the reinforcing injections, the grouting, the plastering as well as the materials for treating the damp, was made in collaboration with the workshops on Building Materials and Ledra of the University of Cyprus, following specialised research concerning the composition of mortars and the strength of stone material.
Panagia Kofinou, Completion of the grouting of the south facade
In April 2012, restoration works began on the semi-ruined Church of Agia Marina Kandou. The south and west walls, as well as the west wall and the west part of the north wall were rebuilt up to the lintel level.
The semi cylindrical wall and the semi dome of the apse of the holy bema were restored. The surviving architectural members which had been found during the 2003 excavations and which belonged to the arch of the dome’s apse were repositioned in their initial place.
In addition, the south-eastern apse and the two apses in the west, as well as the arch of the arcosolium of the burial that was found in the lunette of the north-western blind arch, were all rebuilt according to the preserved north-eastern apse.
For all the above works the amount of 160.845,96 euro has been spent since the beginning of the project (7/2011 – 6/2012).
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