The municipal market of Athienou was built in the 1950s and is considered an excellent example of architecture. It is the work of the architect Neoptolemos Michaelides and it is a particularly innovative building for the standards of that period.
The building ‘harmoniously’ coexists with the history of Athienou and highlights the role that the municipality played before the tragic events of 1974 and its close link with the plain of Mesaoria.
This public building expresses the urban character of Athienou but in no way conflicts with the traditional architecture of Mesaoria. The years before the turkish invasion, the municipal market was operating as the central mall of the region since residents of nearby villages visited it for purchases and / or to trade their goods.
Today the market is vacant and its maintenance has been neglected. The skeleton of the building is of reinforced concrete and it is still in good condition. It can be described as a civil engineering achievement of that period.
The revival of the municipal market is of urgent need in order to save the innovative architecture, but mainly to emphasize the interest of the local population to protect and preserve the rich history of their hometown.
The project of the municipal market redevelopment and landscaping, but also the development of the Square of the Church of Saint Fokas, has already been approved as an urban project with a total budget of €2.400.000+ VAT.
Responsible authority for this undertaking is the Department of Building and Housing, with 80% of the total cost to be covered by state funds.
The contribution of the Municipality is 20% of the total cost, which was to covered by available appropriations from a consolidated loan concluded by the Municipality with a governmental guarantee.
The Municipal Market will be transformed into a Multifunctional Cultural Center.
The west side will host the Municipal Cultural Association and serve the needs of the choir, dance, and theatre groups. It also provides for the establishment of offices for the meetings of the Municipal Cultural Association Committee, a stage for rehearsals, sitting spaces etc. The east side will host the Municipal Library with modernized facilities and equipment. In addition, there will be an open space for the catering needs of children.
The project was included in the Development Budget as an Urban Project and bids were requested twice, without being able to award a bidder.
With the actions of the Municipality, it has been approved by the President of the Republic and the project has been approved placed in his announcements (Exantas) and its implementation is expected soon, with the award of the tender by the Municipality of Athienou. 80% of the total cost will be covered by state funds, while the contribution of the Municipality of Athienou, 20% of the total cost, will be covered by a low interest rate loan agreed by the Government with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
At the same time, after a request of the Municipality to the Minister of Interior, instructions were given and in parallel with the restoration of the Municipal Market, the second phase of the project will be promoted, with the Landscaping, but also the development of the square of the Church of Agios Fokas. The goal is for the two projects to be completed at the same time.
Construction of the Main Road Network
According to the Local Plan of Athienou, the creation of an Industrial Zone in the area of Toumpa is envisaged, next to the main road network Athienou – Avdellero – Larnaca.
In view of the fact that the existing Industrial Area is in full development, this project was promoted.
The construction of the main road network, based on the current state policy for the development of Industrial Zones, is funded by the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry.
Specifically, the local authority is responsible for the construction of the road network, which prepared construction plans and an expenditure budget and submitted a request to the said Ministry to cover the cost related to the construction of the main road network.
The Ministry expropriated the affected private land for the construction of the main road network of the Zone.
The project concerns the Industrial Zone in Athienou, with approximately 2km long main road network and approximately 0,70km long secondary road network.
The Municipality of Athienou announced a tender and the preparation of the construction plans by a private designer proceeded. The cost of preparing the study was fully covered by the Municipality of Athienou.
The Municipality of Athienou claimed from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism promotion of the construction of the project, something that with the approval of the President of the Republic was achieved.
In March 2017, the construction of the earthworks of the road network was completed up to the foundation, the coordination and supervision of which was undertaken by the Department of Public Works.
Following the actions of the Municipality, the Municipality itself promoted the water supply of the area. Then, with funds provided by the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry, it promoted the construction of curbs – kennels – earth sidewalks on the main road network with its workshop and with public tenders. Subsequently, and after the necessary funds that were approved by the Ministry, the Municipality promoted with bids the completion of the asphalt paving of the main road network.
Therefore, there are now all the prospects for development of the Area, something that has already begun.
Central Churches’ Square
The renovation of the area of the Central Church Square is located in the center of Athienou, where there are the two churches of the Virgin Mary, which date from the early 18th century the oldest and the early 1940s the newest.
The area is also an important junction of the road network of the settlement, where all its main arteries end.
The main goal of the Municipality of Athienou and the Ecclesiastical Committee of Athienou is that the Central Church Square be a point of reference and a pole of attraction for both citizens and visitors.
The main objectives of the project are:
- The maintenance and upgrading of the role of the Church Square as a meeting place for social and religious events and activities.
- The organic connection of the Church Square with the other squares of the settlement, the Cooperative Square and the Kallinikeio Municipal Hall and the churches of Agios Georgios and Agios Fokas.
- The upgrading of the role of the Church Square as an important crossing point for pedestrians and vehicles within the Municipality, but also for the existence of public gathering places.
- The highlight and display of the churches as monuments and places of worship.
- The preservation and promotion of the remarkable traditional physiognomy and the completely special identity of Athienou, which originate from its historical past as the most dynamic rural settlement of Mesaoria.
- The implementation of the Urban Plan for the Regeneration of the Central Square of the Churches of Athienou, Phase A, which includes the perimeter streets around the churches of Panagia Chryseleousa, the churchyard and parking lots, as well as side streets near the square.
The area of the Church Square and the wider area of Athienou are of great interest, with the chronological variety of the various constructions and spaces. Newer architectural proposals such as the market of Neoptolemos Michailidis, the Constantine Municipal Park, the Cooperative Square and the Kallinikeio Municipal Hall of Athienou, mark a development in the architectural landscape of Athienou.
The implementation of this project is considered imperative, it is long overdue and is expected to give a new look both in the core area of the settlement where it is located, and in the wider area.
With the actions of the Municipality, the implementation of the project was approved, after first the necessary construction plans were to be prepared and approved. After a public tender, the preparation of the plans was assigned to the office “George Karas and Associates”.
The preliminary plans of the Central Square and the side streets were completed and they were presented by the office of “George Karas and Associates” on October 30, 2020, to the organized ensembles, the technical world and the interested public of Athienou, in the presence of representatives of the Department of Urban Planning and Housing, for information, views and suggestions. After the implementation of suggestions made to the designers, the plans were approved by the Municipal Council and sent to other Departments and Services for views, so that the study becomes ripe for the announcement of the Competition for the execution of the project.
This is an Urban Plan, in which the Municipality contributes 20% both at the design stage and at the construction stage.
The project is included in the projects proposed by the Department of Urban Planning and Housing to the President of the Republic for implementation and the President approved it for construction. Thus, after the approval of the design study, at the end of 2021 the announcement of bids for the construction of the project is expected to be promoted.
Revival of the Architectural Heritage
The traditional center of Athienou preserves the original characteristics of the Architectural Heritage of ‘‘Mesaoria’’.
The preservation and revival policy of the traditional center and more widely of the whole municipal area has always been a key objective of the Municipality of Athienou despite all the interventions, the latest additions and the wearing off over time.
Many buildings are characterized for their architectural, historical and social value, which are gradually being upgraded through a comprehensive and coordinated effort to maintain and correct the architectural integration of the newer buildings.
Municipal Sports Centre
The needs regarding the sports sector in Athienou are largely met by the Indoor Sports Hall.
The construction of a Municipal Sports Centre has been defined in the provisions of the Local Action Plan.
The Municipal Council in mid-2009 decided to promote the project and therefore promoted a process of securing the required land by means of expropriation. The New Municipal Council, re-examining the matter, decided to revoke the process of expropriation of private land for the construction of a new Municipal Sports Centre.
Under the circumstances and the substantial economic weakness of the Municipality to bear the enormous financial cost required, it has revised its priorities and is examining alternative solutions.