Did you know

04 Apr 2023

Did you know? Ermou street

The river Pedieos crossed the city of Nicosia, entering from Paphos Gate and exiting near Famagusta Gate. In the medieval period, when the Venetians realised that the Ottomans were about to invade, they decided that the river was a liability for the defence of Nicosia and changed its route, by-passing the city. During the Ottoman period, the riverbed dried out. The inhabitants of Nicosia used the riverbed as a dumping ground. They threw in there all their debris, dead animals, filth and useless items and as a result, the riverbed became a source of stench and epidemics.

With the arrival of the British, the riverbed was an unacceptable sight. The new masters decided that all should be cleaned up. Bulldozers entered and emptied the riverbed. Soon enough it was filled again by the inhabitants who could not care less. Finally, in 1883, the first elected mayor of Nicosia, Christodoulos Severis decided that somehow an end had to be put to this. He had a brilliant idea. He offered the following to the inhabitants: whoever brought earth and filled in a part of the river bank, the mayor would sign that piece of land over to them free of charge. Soon, the people started filling in the river bank and receiving plots of land where they built shops and houses. Slowly, slowly, a new street was created with the narrowed part of the river in the middle eventually being covered. The street was originally called Manifatura and eventually called Ermou street because of the many shops created there…

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and Active Citizens Fund.

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