Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In Nicosia

There were no conference events scheduled for the morning, but due to the time difference of 2 hours between UK and Cyprus, I only had a relatively short sleep. After the breakfast I decided to use the time to walk around a bit. Since the hotel is nicely located in the centre, I walked along the streets, taking a few pictures in the bright sunshine. The centre seems not to have many preserved buildings; there are many shops, a few derelict buildings with scars from the war (1974). Then a few freshly renovated sites, proudly displaying plaques about the European Funding which made the renovation possible. Several stores with handy-work shops: a chair maker, shoe repair, classic car repair.

At the north end of Ledra, one of the main streets in the centre, one soldier guards the closed crossing into the Turkish occupied part. In one of the houses here, in each window journalists with picture and film cameras point across the border, filming something of relevance. As I learn later from the newspaper, the UN has now got permission to clear the area there, removing mines and unexploded ammunition, for opening this crossing. Last time I had been here 1 1/2 years ago, it looked different: there had been a bridge with stairs, leading along the street towards north, and a sign had told about the crossing to be opened soon. Now the bridge is gone, and just a mobile non-transparent fence closes the street. In a few days the crossing will be opened – maybe I can witness it.

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