Eleftheria Square, Nicosia, Cyprus

11th January 2023

Linking Nicosia’s historic old town with new neighbourhoods, Eleftheria Square has been given a vibrant new look, with lighting fixtures from LED Linear.

Eleftheria Square (“Freedom Square”) is located on the edge of Nicosia’s historic old town and thus directly on the Venetian Wall and the associated moat that surrounds the old city. Built in the Middle Ages and significantly extended by the Venetians in the 16th century, these defence walls define the boundary of the oldest part of the capital and still separate the historic city from the new neighbourhoods outside the walls. During the British occupation, the ramparts were opened at this point, and the old town was also made passable for cars by means of a bridge. Today, the new bridge that forms the square is closed to cars.

Zaha Hadid Architects envisioned Eleftheria Square as the initial phase of a much larger urban plan that could be a catalyst for the reunification of the divided capital and, by extension, the whole of Cyprus. At the same time, there was the idea of designing the square like a large flat bowl as a citizens’ forum. The design of the square contrasts greatly with the Venetian walls, emphasising the old fortifications as an integral part of Nicosia’s identity, while opening up the ramparts for public use as a park. A now very popular staircase leads from the bridge into the moat. Handrails and balustrades on the ramps and stairs are fitted with luminaires from LED Linear’s Venus family, emphasising the extraordinary architecture. The lighting concept from Kardorff Ingenieure Lichtplanung provides for different light colours for the different areas: The new surfaces of the square, i.e. the bridge and its elements, are illuminated at 4000K, while the old walls, the areas in the park and the surrounding area are lit at 3000K. The lighting concept is based on a linear lighting system. On the spectacular square there are more than 500 recessed light points, which can also shine in colour in dynamic lighting scenes.

The redesign of the ramparts, including the moat with new public paths, gardens, water features and palm-lined promenades, gives the moat a new significant role as a “green belt” around the city. The new city park with its flowing geometries follows the old fortifications, but also refers to typical Cypriot patterns to create points of “intensity” such as seating areas, defined green spaces or water features. Often the designed elements develop from an abstract triangulation that can also refer to the fortification.

Light contributes to the order of the square and creates multiform islands of light in the park. To highlight the seating areas and green spaces, the flexible Phobos designer light line from the Venus family was again installed. The luminaires were particularly suitable for illuminating the water features, as they could be perfectly integrated into the contours of these features to successfully set off the unusual shapes, even at night. The complex geometries could be tracked very well by designing the linear luminaires as Side View and Top View constructions. The play with light colours continues in the water features, as 4000K was chosen for the linear luminaires in the water. Occasional coloured accents are set in the park, which can also be controlled dynamically. In the still divided capital of Cyprus, a bright, lively square with an enchanting garden has been newly created.