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Turkish Cypriot Municipal Market

Larnaka, Cyprus
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Turkish Cypriot Market, photo by Vasilis Pasiourtides

Making a market invisible

It is a very small, ignored market, following the Cypriot early 1950s urban modernist architecture in Larnaka, city centre. It is built in 1955, designed by the architect A. Vural Behaeddin. The owner of the development was Evkaf, the institutional body managing the Muslim religious land in Cyprus. The building permit files show that the construction was meant to be for commercial shops. It is located in the city commercial centre, just next to the major city market. It is not clear how it was used from the 1955 until the 1963 bi-communal conflict, when the Turkish Cypriots were forced to move further west, trapped in an ethnic enclave. It seems though, that it was used as the Turkish Cypriot market up to 1963.When we look into the literature about the Larnaka's Markets, we have a hard time finding any piece of information about this very small ignored market used by Turkish Cypriot merchants. It doesn't exist either in the official cadastre plans, where we find instead, the site plan with the former traditional buildings that were demolished probably in the 1950s to build the unseen market.The actual building consists of a series of shops completing the historic urban block of Zouhouri. In the same block there are one floor stone-built workshops, a two-floor tall hostel and the Zouhouri mosque. They all surround a run-down courtyard, actually used for parking. The market building completes the north edge of the urban block, creating an entry to a covered space leading to the courtyard. The building's roof, supported by very thin metal columns, creates a narrow covered space along the streets. The market is actually occupied by Greek Cypriot tenants, some of them displaced from the north part of the island in 1974, and some others from the demolished market next door. The actual roof that covers the courtyard space, is not part of the initial architectural drawings. It seems that it was placed later on, completely changing the character of the building.

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stratiss, November 5th, 2018
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