Memory and Place in Divided Nicosia

Anita Bakshi


This paper will explore the nature of memory in divided Nicosia and its expression in urban space. The focus will be on the old city, contained within its 16th century Venetian Walls and divided by the United Nations Buffer Zone, as a symbolic location in the Cypriot imagination, and as a prime example of the manner in which the Cyprus conflict is remembered and forgotten. The aim is to illustrate how the conflict and associated memories affect attitudes about place by looking specifically at Nicosia’s walled city as a site of memory and oblivion. This paper will investigate the way in which the old city is used, on both sides of the divide, as a symbol to represent both the conflict as well as unity. It will seek to question the manner in which its location in the imagination, as it is remembered from the outside, is affected by changes that occur inside of this place; a space dense with personal manifestations of memory and with the lived experience of division. The paper will conclude by setting up the distinction between the manner in which the old city is remembered from the outside, and they lived reality of division as experienced within the walls.

Keywords: Nicosia, Cyprus conflict, forgetting and memory, migration.

Full Paper