chapter  5
17 Pages

Lefkosa versus Lefkosia

The heritage of conflict
WithZeynep Gunay

This chapter provides a critical commentary on the reimagining of heritage through the microhistories of division and memories of conflict in North Lefkosa/Lefkosia and the borderland between the two parts of the divided city. It analyses the difference between the ways in which everyday and official heritage contribute to or contest the division of the city and interrogates the capacity of contested heritage to resolve the conflict in the city ‘where the “past” does not really pass’. It shows that the demilitarised buffer zone that divides Lefkosa/Lefkosia, which is the only remaining space that reflects the city before the division, has paradoxically maintained the continuity of the shared Cypriot heritage and preserved the associated collective memories of ‘Cypriots’ within its untouched and secretive landscape. Such bi-communal heritage has the potential to contest the conventional conflicting reading of the past and may provide a way of reimagining heritage as a medium for dialogue and reconciliation.