No 34. If Nicosia had a metro …

… then the map of its lines could perhaps look like this: *

Or maybe like this:

In fact, it wouldn’t really matter whether there would be 5 metro lines or 8.

The important thing would be for Nicosia to become a unified whole and for its geographical, cultural, political and psychological division to be lifted, allowing open and faster movement of its people and their ideas. It would indicate that the city’s energy would be flowing freely again, without obstructions.

It would mean Nicosia would no longer be the only divided capital city in the world.

Since the mid-70’s, the only things unifying the city are its common sewage system and the Nicosia Master Plan, a result of determined cooperation between former Mayors Lellos Demetriades and Mustafa Akinci (of the south and north part, respectively). Both projects were supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The common sewage system exists because, as we all know, shit happens (!), and the Nicosia Master Plan provides guidelines for the uniform development of the divided city, particularly within and around the Venetian walls, and the preservation and rehabilitation of buildings outside of the buffer zone.

An awarded survey of the buffer zone within the walled city, performed in 2011 for the Nicosia Master Plan, showed that 80% of the 238 buildings which were examined in the survey “were listed as monuments, buildings of exceptional architectural value and buildings of architectural and environmental value.” While the passing of time and neglect had led to the very bad condition of 35% of the buildings at the time, at the same time the rich architectural heritage was being preserved away from irrational development.

* These maps emerged during an artistic participatory project, titled Metro Mentality, which invited collaborators and the public to re-imagine and re-map Nicosia. The project was hosted as an interactive installation at two of the city’s most visit-worthwhile locations: the Nicosia Municipal Arts Center -NiMAC, the oldest and largest Contemporary Art Center on the island (https://www.facebook.com/NiMACnicosia) and historic Rüstem Bookstore, established in 1937 (https://www.facebook.com/rustemkitabevi/).

As the project’s initiator (Sophia Hadjipapa-Gee) explained, “the idea of a “metro mentality” comes from big cities, where the time between stops is short, where the stops may be very different in character, and their location is often based on function. When walking in Nicosia, it does not take long, before one comes across what might elsewhere be called a ‘stop’.”


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