Archbishop to proceed
with controversial plan to develop resort on ancient
Nicosia: Green Party leader Yiorgos Perdikis and
Transport Minister Vasiliki Anastasiadou clashed on
Thursday over excavations of an ancient site at
Yeroskipou - in Paphos.
The Yeroskipou site belongs to the church and the
archbishop wants to develop the area but postponed his
plans after the unexpected antiquities’ discovery.
Anastasiadou told MPs at a House transport committee
meeting that the excavations had been completed. Her
comment was contradicted by Perdikis who said he had
contacted Marina Solomidou, head of the antiquities
department a few weeks ago.
Solomidou said that she had spoken to the archbishop who
gave the green light for the excavations to proceed.
The government is expected to explain how it will assist
the archbishop’s plans to develop the area after
refusing to swap the piece of land for another nearby to
protect the site of significant archaeological interest.
The plans foresee the construction of a tourist resort
of two tower blocks and a hotel.
An Akel-led protest took place in September against the
church’s plans to build on the archaeological site.
Demonstrators argued that cultural heritage belongs to
the people and demanded an alternative management of the
location by the state.
The Cyprus Archdiocese has been investing heavily in the
island’s hotel industry in the post 1974 era making it
the most profitable corporation on the island and the
second largest employer after the state. It refuses
however to pay the salaries of its priests and insists
they continue to be paid by the state at the expense of
the tax payer.