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Cyprus/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

  • The Law for the Recognition of Private and Local Authorities Museums (L.58(I)/2009)
  • The Export of Cultural Goods Law (L. 182 (I)/2002);
  • The Return of Cultural Goods Law (L. 183 (I)/2002);
  • The Antiquities Law (C.31);
  • The Antiquities (Amendment) Law (L.103(I)/2012);
  • 1972 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage;
  • 1992 European Convention for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Revised); and
  • Law for the ratification of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (L.50(III)/2005).

Specific heritage legislation

The following laws are implemented by the Department of Antiquities:

1. The Antiquities Law (1935) and relevant Regulations and amendments.

According to the Antiquities Law, "Antiquity means any object, whether movable or part of immovable property which is a work of architecture, sculpture, graphic art, painting and any art whatsoever, produced, sculptured, inscribed or painted by human agency, or generally made in Cyprus earlier than the year A.D. 1850 in any manner and from any material or excavated or drawn from the sea within the territorial waters of Cyprus and includes any such object or part thereof which has a later date been added, reconstructed, readjusted or restored subsequently. Provided that for works of ecclesiastical or folk art of the highest archaeological, artistic or historic value, the year A.D. 1940, shall be taken into account in place of the year A.D. 1850...".

In the law, "ancient monument" means:

(a) any object, building or site specified in the First or Second Schedule to this Law;

(b) any other object, building or site in respect of which the Council of Ministers has made an Order under section 6 of this Law, and shall include any part of the adjoining land which may be required for the purpose of fencing, covering, or otherwise preserving the monument from injury, as also the means of access to such monument;

Under article 6.1.a the Council of Ministers may, on the recommendation of the Director, from time to time by Order in the Gazette, declare any object, building or site which he considers to be of public interest by reason of the historic, architectural, traditional, artistic or archaeological interest attaching thereto to be an ancient monument and shall at the same time declare whether such monument shall be added to the First (public ownership) or to the Second (private ownership) Schedule to this Law, as the case may be.

More specifically with respect to Ancient Monuments, under Article 8-1 of the Antiquities Law, no person beneficially interested in any ancient monument shall make any alterations, additions or repairs affecting its architectural character unless it is permitted from the Director of Antiquities.

Article 11-1 of the Antiquities Law stipulates that buildings in the vicinity of an ancient monument are in line with the character and style of such monument as regards height and style of architecture and that the amenities thereof are preserved.

With respect to excavations, under Article 14-1 of the Antiquities Law, no person has the right to carry out excavations on his own land or elsewhere for the purpose of discovering antiquities without first obtaining a licence in writing from the Director of Antiquities.

2. Return of Cultural Goods Law, No 183 (1) of 2002

3. Export of Cultural Goods Law, No 182 (1) of 2002

4. The Town and Country Planning Law (enacted in 1972 and put into full operation in 1990), Article 38 (put into operation in 1976) and 39 are implemented by the Department of Town Planning and Housing (Ministry of the Interior) and the Planning Authorities.  According to Article 38, a building may acquire Listing status only when it is included in the Preservation Order, which is issued by the Minister of Interior. To this end, the owners must either submit an Application for Listing of their property, to the Preservation Sector of the Department of Town Planning and Housing, or else, a separate procedure may be followed for listing an individual building, when it has already been included in a unified Preservation Order. Preservation Orders may be issued independently by the Minister of Interior and these concern the wider area in which a historic building is located.

Chapter published: 05-10-2015

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