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:

https://in-cyprus.com/forces-net-ledra-palace-documentary-the-five-star-hotel-that-became-a-buffer-zone-barracks/

Top Stories

German Presidency ready for difficult discussions on pandemic recovery, MFF and Brexit

  Germany, which assumed the presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1, is prepared for hard and difficult discussions and compromises on...

Cyprus to enter the natural gas era, Defa Chairman says

  As of tomorrow, when President Nicos Anastasiades will lay the foundation stone for the construction of the Cyprus LNG Import Terminal Project in Vasilikos,...

Three test positive for coronavirus, total now 1008

  Three people have tested positive for coronavirus after a total of 1691 tests, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. This brings the total number...

Government says continuing demarches on crossing points

    Demarches continue on the part of the government of Cyprus, both with the United Nations and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in relation to...

Cyprus to establish a Deputy Ministry of Culture

    Cabinet has decided to go ahead with the establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Culture, Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said on Wednesday. “Following a...

Taste

How to make triandafillo ice cream, by UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin

  Just in time for the scorching heat, UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin has shared her recipe for refreshing triantafillo ice cream -- or as...

Cyprus sprouts with cream and prosciutto

In a big, deep frying pan, fry the prosciutto in the olive oil, on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic...

Pork burger with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies

Mix all the ingredients together with the mince in a bowl, and combine well. Divide into 4 balls and form the burgers. Warm a griddle/pan...

Sheftalies

Wash the lamb cauls with plenty of cold water and let them settle in water and vinegar for a little while. Soak the bread crumbs...