News Local "UN soldiers vacate Cypriot former playground of the rich and famous" -Euronews...

“UN soldiers vacate Cypriot former playground of the rich and famous” -Euronews on Ledra Palace (video)

The Ledra Palace, the once luxurious hotel which served as barracks for UN peacekeepers,  is no longer suitable to house the troops who have been moved to prefabricated buildings behind the hotel, Euronews reports in a story on the abandoned hotel in the Nicosia buffer zone.

“Once the playground of the Cyprus elite, the Ledra Palace hotel in the capital Nicosia now stands as a poignant symbol of ethnic division on the island nation,” Euronews writes.

Finished in 1949, the 240-room Ledra Palace was one of the places to be in Cyprus, even hosting Hollywood stars. “Located near the centre of Nicosia’s medieval core and its surrounding Venetian-built, 16th-century walls, the hotel’s luxurious ballroom, restaurants and bars were the places to see and be seen,” Euronews writes.

The first soldiers moved in the hotel in 1963 December 1963. Fifteen British troops had been stationed there to keep the peace during the intercommunal strife.

Following the truce after the invasion of 1974 and the extension of the Green Line of 1964, it was announced that the hotel fell within the boundaries of the buffer zone.

“The Ledra Palace sits at the heart of this zone, still maintaining a flicker of its old majesty despite the mortar shell craters and bullet holes scarring its sandstone facade,” Euronews says.

Currently, the hotel serves as the headquarters for Sector 2 United Nations Roulement Regiment (URR) part of UNFICYP.

“It’s been 45 years since the pitter-patter of high heels was replaced by the thud of soldiers’ combat boots pacing its floors, when United Nations peacekeepers took over the hotel as their barracks,” Euronews says.

The network comments on the building’s conditions and says that it is now not suitable to host the troops.

Renovations to bring the hotel up to modern safety standards are too costly, so the upper two floors of the building previously occupied by the UN now sit empty.

Some 160 personnel have moved to prefabricated buildings behind the hotel, Euronews says.

However, UN spokesman Aleem Siddique Siddique says the hotel will remain a base for the soldiers whose task it is to patrol the zone and prevent tensions from rising between opposing soldiers, who in some areas are only metres apart. “This base is one of the most active areas of the buffer zone, it’s the old town of Nicosia where we have used the hotel to help bring the two communities together,” he said.

The hotel’s two lower floors will remain in use for events aimed at building bridges between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.

Since 1974, Ledra Palace has played host to many high level meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, as well as hundreds of structured conflict resolution workshops supported and facilitated both by international organisations and local pioneers.

The hotel has been the venue for meetings that helped shape the course of the island’s history, Euronews writes. “One such involved experts from Greece, Turkey and both Cypriot communities, who helped draft the constitution of Cyprus after it gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960,” Euronews writes.

As for the hotel’s current role, Siddique says: “We still have an important job here every day. Our peacekeepers diligently patrol the buffer zone using Ledra Palace as a base to prevent tensions from rising within the buffer zone and to defuse tensions between the opposing forces, and that important work continues.”

Read the full article here.

Read more:

Top Stories

Updated: Apliki fire extinguished

  A fire which broke out near Turkish-held Lefka and spread to the buffer zone near Apliki has been completely contained, the Forestry Department has...

Labour Ministry opens applications for May 13-June 12 support schemes

  Applications for period 3  (May 13-June 12) of the Labour Ministry's support schemes for businesses, employees and the self-employed have been posted online. In an...

Government condemns vandalism at Limassol mosque

  The government condemns in the strongest manner the vandalism at the Köprülü Mosque in Limassol, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushios said on Monday. "Such actions that...

Limassol: Biker killed in road collision

  A 35 year old biker was killed in a road collision in Limassol on Monday afternoon. He was named by police as Yiorgos Haritou from...

Five more test positive to Covid-19, three from repatriations

The Health Ministry announced five new Coronavirus cases today from a total of 1504 tests, bringing the total number in Cyprus to 949. Dr Leontios...


Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...

Spiced lamb with beetroot salad and scented yoghurt

Lay the lamb on a tray, skin side down. Rub with crushed garlic, sprinkle with spices and ground pistachios, wrap in plastic wrap and...

Easy seafood pasta with white wine sauce

Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, chopped 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream 1/3 cup white wine 300g spaghetti, roughly broken 300-400g of...

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...