On the 10th of February 2007 the inauguration of the Pilot Operation took place in Lefkara, Cyprus, after the completion of the works. The event was organized by the Department of Antiquities, in the aim of making the project known to the general public. In this context, the media were invited to the event, as well as the heads of the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Communications and Works, the Department of Town Planning and Housing, the District Officer and the deputies of the District of Larnaca, the Delagation of the European Union in Cyprus, Ambassadors, the presidents of the nearby communities, the Municipal Council and the people of Lefkara. The Minister of Justice and Public Order, who was mayor of Lefkara when the project started, was also present at the event.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Minister of Communications and Works Mr Haris Thrassou stressed the benefits of the participation of Cyprus to Euromed Heritage Projects like CORPUS and RehabiMed and noted that the traditional architecture was gaining in importance as a factor of sustainable development in the last decades. «It’s becoming all the more obvious that the conservation of architectural heritage and its proper management and utilisation through the encouragement of traditional usages, as well as the introduction of new ones, can contribute effectively the the revitalisation of the countryside and the downgraded urban centres, to the upgrading of the tourist product and the ecomomic improvement of areas and and settlements that lack resources but are riche in cultural heritage», the Minister said.
The Director of the Department of Antiquities, Dr Pavlos Flourentzos explained in his speech the aims and activities of RehabiMed and how the Pilot Operation in Lefkara applied the RehabiMed Method for the Rehabilitation of buildings. The basic objective of the project is to create a model built landscape serving as an example and reference point for the proper methods to be used in the rehabilitation of the traditional architecture, said Dr Flourentzos.
The architect of the project Mr Vasilis Iereidis made a brief presentation of the project. He explained that the rehabilitation project was based on a previous historical research, using old photographs and oral information and documentation of the traditional architectural elements obtained by local research. He added that the project also proposes the design of the square in front of the church as a space for communal gathering, to be implemented by the community at a later stage.
Finally, the mayor of Lefkara Mr Andreas Shosheilos was presented with the final project by the Director of the Department of Antiquities. In his speech, he praised the work carried out in Lefkara and assured that the aim of the Municipality is to revive the tradition in Lefkara, by the means of a more dynamic valorisation of the town’s rich architectural heritage. We have a lot of projects in mind, the mayor said, and we shall try to implement as many as we can, with the assistance of the Government and hopefully of the European Union funds.
The inauguration ended with a tour of the Pilot Operation site, where the guests had the opportunity to see the results of the works carried out. The event was widely covered by the press in the following days and two interviews were given in the main television channel, during which the representatives of the Department of Antiquities involved in the project had the opportunity to speak of RehabiMed, its goals and activities and give a full account of the Pilot Operation in Lefkara.