Eleftheria Square is the main square in central Nicosia, Cyprus. It is located in the center of the town, below the Venetian walls of the medieval city.
The square is usually the focus of various high-profile activities in the capital, such as political rallies sporting events. Celebrations such as Cyprus’s accession to the European Union were also centered around the square.
At present, the square is not pedestrianized, so when major events take place, vehicle traffic has to be rerouted.
Evicting vehicles from the square has long been envisioned as a strategy for revitalizing and beautifying it.On July 7, 2017, formal discussions on whether to pedestrianize Eleftheria Square finally began.
The demand for the pedestrianization—which has been undergoing a major renovation for over five years—was first proposed by a group of Nicosia residents concerned about the dangerous, noisy, and polluting volume of traffic.
The residents said they want a square that will serve as a public meeting area and not as a road. They argue that, by definition, a public square “is an area where citizens assemble to socialize”. Otherwise, they say, it would be called a road or an avenue.The group has also organized a petition to demand that the square be restored as a place for people, and that no vehicles be allowed through the square.
The redevelopment of the square, based on a design by the late award-winning architect Zaha Hadid, aims to reconnect the capital’s Venetian walls and moat with the modern commercial center of the capital.
All images courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects unless otherwise credited.