Did you know

14 Feb 2022

Did You Know? Government House

Government House was a wooden pre-fabricated construction sent from England to Cyprus and specially designed to house the new High Commissioner.

It arrived in July 1878 in Larnaca in pieces which were transported immediately to Nicosia under the responsibility and supervision of Lt Col. Hugh Montgomerie Sinclair. Garnet Wolsey, who was already in Nicosia was galloping around the city looking for a place to install his new house. One sunny afternoon he decided that snake hill, a hill near the village of Ayii Omologites, just outside Nicosia would be the best place. It was known as snake hill because often passers by, especially in May, would see snakes standing on their tales and making love. It was far away enough from the populace and his administration so that he could preserve a distance between him and both of them. It was not the largest, nor most comfortable building, but it had shady verandas and a nice courtyard. Sir Garnet Wolsey moved in with his wife Louisa or Lou in December 1878, a couple of days before Christmas. It was a cold Christmas as there were no glass windows and the westerly wind cut across practically all rooms. The two fireplaces were not enough to warm the newly arrived High Commissioner and his wife.

Photographs and paintings of the old Government House can be seen at the first and second floor of the CVAR.

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

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