The Ledra Palace Hotel is located in central Nicosia. Until 1974, it was one of the largest and most glamorous hotels in the city. It was designed by the German-Jewish architect Benjamin Günsberg. It cost approximately 240,000 Cyprus pounds and took two years to build—by Cyprus Hotels Limited. At the hotel’s grand opening, British Governor Sir Andrew Wright and Vice Mayor of Nicosia George Poulios were present. The name of the hotel was inspired by the name of the ancient city of Ledra (the old name for Nicosia), which was brought to light after an archaeological excavation.
It originally had 94 bedrooms rated as deluxe, a conference room, a reading room, a bridge and a ballroom with an orchestra. In 1946, the swimming pool, designed by the architect Foti Kolakide, was built. Between 1967 and 1968 two floors were added to increase the rooms to 200. For decades, it was a popular location for wedding celebrations and receptions for the middle and upper-class people of Nicosia.
The bi-communal conflicts that took place in December 1964 marked the division of the capital. The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces settled there in March 1964, in order to control the area. The signs of the war are still visible on the facade of the building, in the holes created by bullets. In 1974, the two representatives of the two communities met at Ledra Palace Hotel to agree on a ceasefire; a wall was built in front of the room where they held the talks to protect them from snipers.
Now it serves as the headquarters of the Sector 2 United Nations Roulement Regiment (URR), part of UNFICYP. Since 2004, it has been the site of a designated border crossing point separating the Republic of Cyprus from the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Text by Elia Neophytou
1964 Acted as a control area for the United Nations
2018 Headquarters of the Sector 2 United Nations Roulement Regiment (URR), part of UNFICYP
1947 Cyprus Hotels Limited
1964 Cyprus Hotels Limited
2018 Cyprus Hotels Limited
Form of government
1947 Colonial Government (British Empire)
1964 Presidential Republic (Republic of Cyprus)
2018 Presidential Republic (Republic of Cyprus)
Spatial Planning Agency
2018 Ministry of Interior
Type of heritage and protection
1947 Local monument
1964 Heritage with no protection
2018 Heritage with no protection
Interview with Costas Colakides
His architecture approach was simple in a modernist style and no complicated forms. I was not born when the pool was build and I only saw it once from outside. I have photographs as it used to be when first build.
Interview with Costas Georgiou
Interview with Kyriacos Pachoulides