The story of a shared and contested city

Athanasios ARGYRIOU | Aris KIDONAKIS | Apostolos SARRIS | Daphne LAPPA
(Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing & Arhaeo-environment, Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas (F.O.R.T.H.), Rethymno, Crete, Greece)

Keywords: Nicosia, historical overview, ethnic communities, census, GIS

The Cyprus two main ethno-religious communities are the Muslim Turkish-Cypriots and Orthodox Greek-Cypriots. Despite that, other ethnical communities existed in the island during the past centuries. This study addresses the issue of the fragmented collective memory within the concrete context of the city of Nicosia, while due to the city’s physical division since 1974 it also addresses its fragmented visual and conceptual perception. Exploring and highlighting the diversity of all the city’s communities, including the Armenian, Maronite and Latin during the period 1878-1974 can provide important information regarding the historical overview of Nicosia. Various historical maps were georeferenced with the city’s boundaries delineation through the years and the major landmarks being determined respectively. The examination of the city’s diverse religions, the ethnic communities’ population distribution through the years, the identification of the city’s urban growth and the communities’ residential allocation is highlighted in this study by using various geoinformatic approaches. The visual and conceptual fragmentation of the city is addressed through the series of graphically powerful historical GIS maps. These maps offer a visual narrative of Nicosia’s urban and social life before and after the 1974 separation. Such derived information offers to decision makers an educational tool regarding the city and its history, while it conceptually restores Nicosia’s unity and cultivates the sense of a common city.
The project was materialized under the ‘Home for Cooperation’ (H4C) project funded by Norway Grants 2009-2014 and the Council of Europe, through the collaboration of the Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing & Arhaeo-environment of FORTH and the Association For Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).