Takis Hatzidimitriou approaches the monuments of the place with awe and humility, asking “if we conveyed the meaning of modesty and humility in our lives and in our free lands, will we not become more correct and more useful for the place?”. In an interview with KYPE, Mr. Hatzidimitriou talks about the “knowledge of the truth” that was key to the harmonious work of the Commission, that with the confrontations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on international platforms, the monuments are not saved.
“The cultural dimension of the catastrophe is endless and invaluable. “A great trauma in the historical course of Cyprus”, he stated.
The outgoing co-chair of the Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage, who was recently awarded the Medal of Excellence by the Republic of Cyprus, considers that this is an award for the collective effort of those who worked harmoniously all these years to save the monuments. He also considers that there is no need to send any message to the members of the Commission, which is “imbued with the spirit of coexistence of honesty and trust for the preservation of the common cultural heritage”. Sotos Ktoris, he said, “who now has the responsibility of the Greek Cypriot end, expresses this spirit”. According to Mr. Hatzidimitriou, “the success of the Technical Committee lies in the collectivity of the action. The Technical Committee is moving forward with projects and plans for over fifty monuments “.
The Commission, he added, considered from the beginning as cultural heritage everything that is in the memories, tradition and creative spirit of the people. Of course, he said, priority was given to monuments of a secular and religious nature associated with the very history of Cyprus and its people.
When asked in which monuments he felt awe and which ceremonies will remain indelibly in his memory, Mr. Hatzidimitriou noted the church of Panagia in Trachoni, Kythraia, saying that it was “the starting point that gave strength and momentum for the continuation of our work. ».
Each monument, he said, gave us a special emotion, gathered from the beginning all our love and devotion. It was not uncommon that while we were starting for a simple maintenance we found ourselves in front of wonderful works that remained unknown in partitions or covered coatings, he explained, stating that in Agios Afxentios they discovered the Stavroula attached, a mural that remained hidden for centuries. The same, he said, happened to Archangel Michael in Lefkonikos, Gialousa, Aphania and lastly in Kormakitis.
In the works of special historical and cultural importance, Mr. Hatzimitriou mentioned Agios Epifanios, Agios Filonas, Agia Triada and Kampanopetra in Salamina. “The mere fact that we were given the opportunity to proceed with maintenance projects in Salamanca was in itself an event of great importance,” he noted. He added the Tower of Othello, “a symbol of Famagusta and a world.” The symbolic significance that touched the soul of every Cypriot was the receipt of the Apostle Andreas, he said.
He considers those reception ceremonies in Lefkonikos, Evretos and the Ottoman Baths in Paphos unforgettable with the participation of many Turkish Cypriots.
Answering a question, Takis Hatzidimitriou said that there were cases that made it difficult for them, they still did not endanger the very realization of conservation works in monuments. “But the tactic of the TE and its members was to avoid deadlocks and much more to avoid public controversy. “We have also learned to” swallow “bitterness with a single thought:” It is superior to carry out the project beyond and beyond any other expediency, “he said. However, he added, “the fact is that we never thought of giving up in the face of difficulties. I can say that we had to say that we would insist and let others persecute us “.
According to Mr. Hatzidimitriou, the key to the harmonious work of the Commission is “the knowledge of the truth. “Through our experience, we came to the conclusion that with the confrontations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, in international steps, the monuments are not saved.” “We then thought of replacing the tactics of conflicts and complaints with the tactics of the cooperation of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot experts for the preservation of the common cultural heritage. “We transferred this experience from the first day to the Technical Committee and it was adopted by all its members”, he said.
This is exactly the course of the Technical Committee, he added, seen by EUROPA NOSTRA and proceeded to award both its work and its example, that people with different religions and languages overcome conflicts and work together to preserve cultural heritage.
With the Medal of Excellence from the Republic of Cyprus awarded to him by the President of the Republic, he considers that the members of the Technical Committee, the Advisory Board E / k and T / C were awarded, as well as the technicians who worked adequately and conscientiously. He made special reference to the crucial role of the EU, UNDP and the UN. “The award is about this broader collective effort that has given us the strength and the means to overcome insurmountable obstacles,” he said.
Takis Hatzidimitriou stated that he belongs to “the age group that lived everything. The great expectations and the great trials. “If I gained anything, it is to take the messages of the times and to be able to adjust my thoughts accordingly”.
Situations must be judged realistically, difficulties must be identified objectively, but imagination and ingenuity must be mobilized to deal with them, he added.
“I do not have a solution proposal, but I prefer a course. To hire Cyprus as a whole and to address the entire Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot Maronites, Armenians and Latins people. There are no ready-made solutions, but they can build conditions that at the right time prove to be beneficial, and as such I count on mutual understanding, mutual respect, generous initiatives. “I look forward to a peaceful and multicultural Cyprus tomorrow,” he said.
To the question if there is life in the ruins, Mr. Hatzidimitriou answered that walking in the ruins of the homeland he thought many times that we seemed unworthy of such a place with so much beauty, so much history, tradition and so many wonderful cultural works. “I also thought that we had to measure losses in order to understand its value, its true character as it appears from its monuments. “We are walking in the new situations that surround us and we feel the loneliness of the monuments,” he said.
How do we approach them, he wondered. “With awe and humility.” And he ended up wondering again if we conveyed the meaning of modesty and humility in our lives and in our free lands we would not become more correct and more useful for the place.
KYPE / Rally Papageorgiou