PRESS RELEASE - AUGUST 2013
The Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Communications and Works, announces that during the second quarter of 2013 the implementation of the activities of the project entitled “EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES, Promotion of Selected Middle Byzantine Monuments of Crete and Cyprus, using innovative methods” continued. The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013 and is directed and coordinated by Senior Archaeological Officer Dr. Eleni Procopiou.
The project includes full management actions for two Cypriot Middle Byzantine monuments both situated in refugee communities: Agia Marina Kandou and Panagia Kofinou. In 2011 the procedures concerning the Tenders for an External Certifier for the certifying of payments and the employment of two contract archaeologists, who undertook and completed the excavation in the surrounding area of the two monuments: Agia Marina Kandou and Panagia Kofinou were completed.From April 2012 and until the first quarter of 2013 a restoration team from the Department of Antiquities undertook and implemented, in collaboration with architect-restorer Mr. Diomedes Myriantheas and civil engineer Mr Giorgos Demetriades, from the Amasgous Monastery, the restoration of the half-ruinous church of Agia Marina Kandou. The works were conducted following the confirmation of the graphic reconstruction and the addition of further information that had overruled any doubts concerning the church’s details, especially the type of its dome. At the same time, preventive conservation was conducted on the 13th-15th century ruins of the monastic complex, the surrounding area’s landscaping study was updated, the procurement documents were prepared, the process of verifying their compatibility with national and EU legislation was completed and an open call for tenders was publicised. In total, 13 offers were received and assessed, the entire process was checked and certified, an agreement was signed and the project began on the 12th June 2013. In addition, between 20th May and 28th June the conservation of the church’s surviving frescoes was completed.
Between January 2012 and June 2012 a restoration team from the Department of Antiquities restored the Church of Panagia Kofinou. Extensive works took place for the restoration of the monument’s masonry, (i.e. removal of the old grouting and replacement with new grouting, use of reinforcing injections in the core of the masonry, replacement of worn stones, treatment of cracks, excavation beneath the church’s floor, treatment of the church’s foundations with a special material against humidity, drainage works, reburying of features, application of new coating on the interior wall surfaces, placement of a new floor surface, new stone doorsteps and wooden lintels at the two entrances and two new wooden doors as well as the preventive conservation of the surrounding ruins). The same team undertook the preparation works for the landscaping of the surrounding area, which will be implemented by the private sector. The landscaping study was updated, the procurement documents were completed and sent to the Public Procurement Directorate for approval. In 2012 the structural study for the placement of 5 tie-metal beams was also completed. The relevant documents were prepared and the project was publicised for tenders, it was checked and approved, the tender has been awarded and the work has been delivered.
In addition, the surviving frescoes have been cleaned, consolidated and conserved. Also, the procedures for assigning the woodwork, including the construction of the wooden iconostasis in both monuments, a Holy Altar and the doors at Agia Marina Kandou, following an informal call for tenders, which also was approved of and given all necessary certifications. Coordinated efforts were made with other organisations (Lefkosia District Officer, the Turkish Cypriot Properties Services, the Department of Lands and Surveys, the Local Council of Kofinou) for moving the road southwards, in order to proceed with the programmed landscaping works.
Since the beginning of the project an amount of 393.264,23 euro has been spent and the European Regional Development Fund has already funded 80%, amounting to 221.090,22 for the expenses of 2011 and 2012.
PRESS RELEASE - JANUARY 2013
The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces that throughout 2012 the implementation of the activities of the project entitled “EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES, Promotion of Selected Middle Byzantine Monuments of Crete and Cyprus, using innovative methods” continued. The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013.
In 2011 the excavation of both monuments’ surrounding areas, i.e. Church of Agia Marina Kandou (3.3) and Church of Panagia Kofinou (3.4), was completed and in 2012 the excavation field notes along with the finds catalogues were handed in. In addition, the archirtectural remains that were uncovered were recorded in detail and their architectural plans have already been used by the project’s researchers for the completion of the landscaping proposals.
The restoration of the Church of Agia Marina Kandou is almost completed, although the final application of a sealant on its roofs will occur in the spring of 2013. Therefore, all the church’s vertical elements have been restored successfully, as well as the apse’s conch and the arches’ openings. This allowed for the project’s initial methods to be altered and traditional methods to be applied, i.e. restoring the segmental semi-cylindrical domes of the eastern and western side with stone masonry. New evidence was revealed during the restoration of the dome, which turns out to have been without a cylindrical drum. Consequently, it was decided to continue the monument’s restoration with a saucer dome support also constructed with stone masonry, instead of a dome with a drum.
Close contact and the exchange of information with the corresponding team in Crete were of utmost importance at this stage.
In addition, conservation works on the dependency ruins have been completed and the competition’s paperwork has been prepared. The competition will be announced for tenders in 2013 (supporting wall, points of access, enclosure, praying stand etc). Also, the provisions for the electrical supply have been installed.
At the Church of Panagia Kofinou the restoration of the building’s masonry has been completed (replacement of stones, removal of old grouting and application of new grouting on the exterior, cleaning, grouting and plastering of interior surfaces), the church’s floor has been cleaned/excavated, the foundations have been treated against humidity, drainage works occurred and finds were reburied and covered with a new floor. New lintels were made for the two doors. Grouting was injected into the masonry with specially prescribed material, following extensive testing. This process yielded extremely valuable results and useful knowledge concerning such issues. This know-how is now also applied for other projects led by the Department of Antiquities.
At the same time, works related to the stabilisation and the cleaning of the surviving wall paintings are ongoing.
A total sum of 298.464,87 euros has so far been absorbed for the works on both monuments.
The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces that during the first sixth months of 2012 the implementation of the activities of the project entitled “EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES, Promotion of Selected Middle Byzantine Monuments of Crete and Cyprus, using innovative methods” continued. The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013. The project includes full management actions for two Middle Byzantine monuments, the churches of Panagia Kofinou and Agia Marina Kandou. In 2011 the excavation of both sites was completed, as well as the first phase of the conservation of the Panagia Kofinou wall paintings.
The second phase, which is ongoing, began in January 2012 with the stabilisation and cleaning of the wall paintings at Panagia Kofinou, In collaboration with the wall-painting conservation team of the Department of Antiquities, the church’s masonry was also restored to a great extent (i.e. removal of the old grouting, replacement of worn stones, removal of soil within the church, coating of the church’s foundations with a special material for the treatment of humidity protecting the wall paintings from rising damp). The grouting of the exterior south side has already been completed while in the church‘s interior the grouting and the first coat of plaster has been applied to the surfaces of the east branch and of the apse of the Holy Bema. When the grouting takes place, small rubber tubes are simultaneously installed for the canalization of the reinforcing mortar to the interior of the masonry.
The selection of materials used for the reinforcing injections, the grouting, the plastering as well as the materials for treating the damp, was made in collaboration with the workshops on Building Materials and Ledra of the University of Cyprus, following specialised research concerning the composition of mortars and the strength of stone material.
Panagia Kofinou, Completion of the grouting of the south facade
Panagia Kofinou, Grouting and plastering the east branch of the interior
In April 2012, restoration works began on the semi-ruined Church of Agia Marina Kandou. The south and west walls, as well as the west wall and the west part of the north wall were rebuilt up to the lintel level.
The semicylindrical wall and the semidome of the apse of the holy bema were restored. The surviving architectural members which had been found during the 2003 excavations and which belonged to the arch of the dome’s apse, were repositioned in their initial place. In addition, the south-eastern apse and the two apses in the west, as well as the arch of the arcosolium of the burial that was found in the lunette of the north-western blind arch, were all rebuilt according to the preserved north-eastern apse.
Agia Marina Kandou, The restoration of the semicylindrical wall of the apse, the semi-dome and the south-eastern blind arch
For all the above works the amount of 160.845,96 euro has been spent since the beginning of the project (7/2011 – 6/2012).
The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces the completion of the two excavations that were conducted within the project entitled “EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES, Promotion of Selected Middle Byzantine Monuments of Crete and Cyprus, using innovative methods”. The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013.
The first excavation was conducted between 25 July 2011 and 10 October 2011 at the church of Agia Marina at Kandou, under the supervision of the contract archaeologist Ms. Doria Nikolaou. The excavation revealed a small monastic complex (Holy Monastery of Panagia Amasgous), dated to the 16th century A.D., which formed part of the above church. It is comprised of a Γ-shaped atrium, found along the south and west part of the church, a row of rooms on the south and an enclosure wall along the west part of the church. There is an additional room with burials northwest of the church, whereas the remaining section of this side – which is not within the covered complex area – was used as a burial ground, mostly for infants. Some of the most important movable finds are five gold coins (histamena) of Constantine X Doukas (1059-1067), which confirm the hypothesis that the church was initially built during the middle of the 11th century A.D. The architectural structures drawing documentation, on which the site management study will be based, has been completed. The site has been fenced.
The second excavation was conducted in the surrounding area of the church of Panagia at Kofinou, between 8 August 2011 and 8 November 2011, under the supervision of the contract archaeologist Ms. Demetra Demetriou. The excavation fully revealed the initial phase of the church, that is, a 7th century A.D. three-aisled transitional barrel-vaulted basilica, a room to the west (narthex/liti) and a row of adjacent rooms to the south which probably indicate the presence of a monastic complex, the limits of which have not been fully revealed. The documentation of the architectural findings is currently being prepared, whereas the preliminary linear drawings have been completed. The site has been fenced and the study for the management of the site is currently on-going.
The first phase for the conservation of the wall paintings at Panagia Kofinou has also commenced, which involves cleaning and stabilising of the paintings. The largest part of the west section and the dome have been consolidated, whereas the layers of all subsequent interventions have been removed. The conservation team has also undertaken to remove, using a soda-flow system, the soot from all inner architectural surfaces in order to expose the ancient mortars. The second phase of the work will start at the beginning of 2012 and will involve the wall restoration.
The total amount required for the above works was 101.000 euros.
The Ministry of Communications and Works, Department of Antiquities, announces the launching of the project entitled “EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES, “Promotion of Selected Middle Byzantine Monuments of Crete and Cyprus, using innovative methods”.
The project was approved within the framework of the thematic priority related to the environment and risk prevention of the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus, 2007-2013. The project was selected to be co-funded by the Programme’s Monitoring Committee on the 8th of April 2011. Specifically, 34 projects were selected, of 31 million euro cost, 80% of which will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union (ERDF) and 20% will come from national funding.
The designing and implementation of the EUMATHIOS PHILOKALES project is the result of the cooperation between the Department of Antiquities, the Church of Cyprus (Holy Monastery of Panagia Amasgous, Bishoprics of Limasol and Trimithus) and the 28th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of Western Crete of the Greek Ministry of Culture.
The project is comprised of actions of a total cost of 1.303.800 euro, of which 519.000 euro will be spent on the restoration and promotion of two Middle-Byzantine monuments in Western Crete: Panagia Patso in Syvritos and Agios Eutychios at Chromonastero in Rethymno. The remaining funds, amounting to 784.800 euro will be spent on the restoration and promotion of two Middle-Byzantine monuments in Cyprus: Agia Marina at Kandou and Panagia Kofinou.
Excavations in the surrounding areas of the aforementioned Cypriot monuments already began on the 25th of July and the 8th of August, under the supervision of two contract archaeologists, Ms. Doria Nikolaou and Ms. Demetra Demetriou, while the two monuments’ restoration works are currently being prepared.