|Owner||City of Nicosia, CY-EU|
Eleftheria square (Greek: Πλατεία Ελευθερίας; Turkish: Eleftheria Meydanı, Özgürlük Meydanı); literally meaning Liberty Square, is the main square in central Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus, in Europe. It forms the intersection of Ledra and Onasagorou streets with Stasinou, Omirou, Kostaki Pantelidi, Konstandinou Palaiologou and Evagorou avenues. It is considered one of Zaha Hadid's Top 35 projects.
The name translates as Liberty square in English. Previously the square was called Metaxas square, in reference to the Greek statesman Ioannis Metaxas. It was renamed in 1974, following a competition held at the suggestion of the then Mayor of Nicosia. It is located in the centre of the town below the Venetian walls of the medieval city. Nicosia town hall, located on D’Avila bastion, overlooks the square whilst Ledra Street leads onto its northern side. The project involves the use of sophisticated custom made materials and concepts.
The square is usually the focus of various profile activities in the capital. Examples include advertising promotions, political rallies and meetings such as the first meeting of the Occupy Buffer Zone movement on October 15, 2011, and sporting events. Celebrations such as Cyprus's accession to the European Union were also centered around the square. As presently the square is not pedestrianized, when major events take place vehicles are redirected.
Liberty Square was not part of the original construction of the Venetian walls. It first took the form of a bridge constructed during the British Cyprus era when the island was under the dominion of the British Empire, at the end of the 19th Century. As the city expanded out of the medieval walls wooden bridges were constructed to facilitate transport. The original wooden bridge known as the Hajisavvas Opening (erected in 1882) was replaced with a solid concrete one, which survives to date.
"Eleftheria Square constitutes a dramatic and historically significant 'architectural' intervention - an aspiration to reconnect the ancient city's massive fortified Venetian Walls and moat with the modern city and beyond - a bold vision of coherence and continuity which can become a catalyst to unify the last divided capital of Europe." Zaha Hadid Architects
The proposed plans have been criticized by some local designers. In 2009 the initial excavation works revealed archaeological findings that have forced alterations to the original design.
Liberty Square to Ledra Street
First meeting of the Occupy Buffer Zone movement in Eleftheria Square, 15 of October, 2011.
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