The genesis of hybrid architectural preservation practices in British colonial Cyprus
|Published in:||arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, September 2016, n. 3, v. 20|
Colonisation initiated the transfer of Western ideas about both heritage discourses and conservation understandings into the non-Western world. The process turned colonised territories into domains where developing heritage views in metropolitan countries were put into practice. Coinciding with the evolution of heritage discourses and modern architectural conservation movements in the West, the British colonial era (1878-1960) in Cyprus became a period where the importation of knowledge introduced new ways of thinking about the treatment of ancient buildings. Based on archival sources, this paper sheds light on the genesis of modern understandings of architectural conservation in Cyprus during the early colonial period (1878-1905), which established the foundations that future practice would be built on. An historical account of the early conservation activities at the key Gothic cathedral-mosques is presented, which illustrates the role of the medievalist conservation ethos imported from Britain and local considerations in the formation of modalities and techniques of intervention. It is shown that, at a time when the protection of built fabric as an amalgam of medieval and postmedieval periods was contested in Britain and Continental Europe, the political reality in Cyprus actually facilitated this approach.
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