The Ledra Palace Hotel

Location

Nicosia, Cyprus

35.10412 , 33.21180

Author

Benjamin Günsberg

Architect

Built in

1947

Modified in

1964

The Ledra Palace Hotel, located in central Nicosia was until 1974 one of the largest and most glamorous hotels in the city. 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.

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

Function

1947Hotel

1964 Acted as a control area for the United Nations

2018 Headquarters of the Sector 2 United Nations Roulement Regiment (URR), part of UNFICYP

Ownership

1947 Cyprus Hotels Limited

1964 Cyprus Hotels Limited

2018 Cyprus Hotels Limited

Condition

1947 Good

1964 Fair

2018 Fair

Property Management

1947

1964 UNFICYP

2018 UNFICYP

Form of government

1947 Colonial Government (British Empire)

1964 Presidential Republic (Republic of Cyprus)

2018 Presidential Republic (Republic of Cyprus)

Spatial Planning Agency

1947

1964

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

Architect

Transcription
The son of the architect is talking about his father's style and the hotel's pool:

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

Architect

Transcription
When Ledra Place hotel was built it had only three floors. It had a strategic and spacious spot with Mountain View. A similar architecture style can be found at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which was the most modern building in the Middle East at that time.