Zaha Hadid Architects transforms Nicosia ancient moat into a fluid streetscape
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), Eleftheria Square is a new urban and social center for Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus. The project attempts to develop new connections and is the first phase of a larger urban plan that hopes to catalyze the city's reunification, which is now divided in two by its defenses.
Nicosia's enormous walls, built in the Middle Ages and later reconstructed by the Venetians in the 16th century, effectively separated the ancient city from the modern districts.
Eleftheria Square, located near the center, is next to the Venetian fortification and the ancient – currently dry – moat that encircles the old city. The timeless design allows for views of the walls, which are considered an essential aspect of Nicosia's character. At the same time, it opens the moat to the public, forming a green belt around the city.
As a result, ZHA's project provides new public places to unite the different communities of a divided capital.