The Moutallos of Pafos. Awakening a suspended modernity.
(University of Milano-Bicocca)
Paper short abstract:
The renovation of the former Turkish neighborhood in the Cypriot town of Pafos, on the occasion the European Capital of Culture, challenges the local perception of time. The chronological horizon shifts from the memories of the war to a future-oriented perspective of Pafos as a modern city.
Paper long abstract:
The paper analyzes the transformation of the Moutallos, a neighborhood of Pafos (Cyprus) on the occasion of the European Capital of Culture in 2017. It will focus on the restoration of the Xani tou Imbrahim, an abandoned caravanserai turned into a cultural center.
In Moutallos used to dwell the Turkish-Cypriot community that left the town after the war of 1974. Nowadays, the Greek-Cypriot refugees from the North live in those very same houses but the former inhabitants still maintain their legal property. This situation have prevented the evolution that have lately involved other parts of the city, both effectively and symbolically. The persistence to keep traces of the past by the Greek-Cypriot governments, in order of being ready to restore the pre-war situation, have had the side effect of putting the present between branches, in a permanent state of temporariness.
On the other hand, the rhetoric of Pafos2017 is dominated by the future vision of Pafos as a modern city. In this perspective, the city isn't just a space in which different temporalities coexist but the horizon from which modernity can rise.
The cultural-driven transformation of places is a way to achieve this goal. Renovating the old buildings of the center aims at reshaping the feeling of people about them, from monuments to new possibilities for the wish-to-be city. Being a city means to emerge from the anonymity of the global world, so the history entangled in places has to be turned from a burden into an asset to be exploited.
Encounters between past and future: ethnographic approaches on urban renovation, redevelopment, gentrification and heritagization