Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [Southern Europe]

Heritage: Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
The 12th century Gothic Bellapais Abbey high on the slopes of the Five Fingers mountains, situated in the Bellapais village, three miles to the East of Kyrenia, Cyprus, was built by the Lusignan kings and is stated to be the finest example of gothic architecture in the Levant.

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
Aerial view of the Bellapais Abbey 
[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Currently the stables and part of the grounds of the Abbey are rented to a private person who runs a restaurant and holds large weddings and receptions within the grounds of the Abbey that continue late at night. This has been ongoing in excess of 20 years and it has not been duly regulated by the authorities.

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
The half built sewerage treatment plant after an injunction is obtained to 
stop the construction by the locals[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
Partly collapsed supporting wall just above the sewerage treatment plant
[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

There have been alterations and extensions to the historic buildings, which compromised the aesthetic and physical integrity of the historic look of the Abbey.

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
The construction site right at the base of the Abbey 
 [Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
Pool of sewerage at the base of the Abbey  
[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Currently the proprietor of the said restaurant is in the process of building a sewerage treatment plant approximately 15 meters away from the foundations of the Abbey, which is already precariously positioned.

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
Trees growing in the Eastern Ealls of the Abbey  
[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
Detail of the damaged Eastern Wall  
[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
Damage caused by the heavy machinery during construction (they drove 
above the cistern) to the main arch stone on the ceiling of the medieval underground
 water cistern at the base of the Abbeyl [Credit: Fatma Kaya]

There is visible erosion caused by weather conditions over the centuries and the Abbey itself has not had any restoration.

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
Crack in the Abbey's Western Wall. There's a generator on the slope right 
beneath this wall [Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
View of the Abbey's Western Wall with the generator 
[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
The waste pipe and the butane gas cylinder on the same slope
 as the generator [Credit: Fatma Kaya]

A huge crack has appeared on the western wall right above where the proprietor of the restaurant placed a generator. The supporting wall around the foundations collapsed in places. The other walls are also visibly in urgent need of repair.

Gothic Abbey in Northern Cyprus falling apart
View of the Abbey before the Turkish invasion of 1974 
[Credit: Fatma Kaya]

A conscientious group of citizens has set up a Facebook group for raising awareness of this unacceptable use and neglect of Cyprus' national heritage by both the authorities and the proprietor of the restaurant.

The group has also set up an online petition (in Turkish) to submit to the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) parliament calling for the removal of the sewerage plant and to investigate the terms and conditions via which the lease has been granted.

Author: Fatma Kaya | Source: Balabayis'a Aritma Tesisi Yapilamaz [January 12, 2015]