NCSA, along with co-sponsors from the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH), are hosting a Special Seminar featuring Nikolas Bakirtzis from The Cyprus Institute titled "The Walled City of Nicosia, Cyprus: History, Heritage and Visualization." The seminar will take place on Thursday, April 18 from 2-3pm in room 1040.
Abstract: The historic core of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia is still defined by the iconic circular fortifications erected by the Venetians in the 16th century. These walls constitute the most important monument for a city whose layered heritage is today torn between the two sides of the infamous "Green Line" that since 1974 divides Nicosia between the Greek-Cypriot south and the Turkish-Cypriot north part. The city's medieval past is entangled with the political complexities and the physical division of the present. Yet, it is Nicosia's heritage, such as its fortifications, that stubbornly proclaims its spatial and cultural integrity as one entity.
This talk will address aspects of Nicosia's history, the preservation and definition of its heritage by the British in the early 20th century, the challenges of the contemporary division and the ways digital technologies can help efforts to understand the layered complexities of historic cities. It is important to note that the complex urban environment of Nicosia has been the focus of research and educational synergies between the Cyprus Institute and the University of Illinois: NCSA's Advanced Visualization Laboratory is a key partner in the visualization of heritage in Nicosia; Illinois' Landscape Architecture and the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center of the Cyprus Institute co-lead a Getty Foundation "Connecting Art Histories" program concentrating on historic cities in the Mediterranean; a Landscape Architecture studio course (Spring 2019) visited Nicosia and is currently completing student projects addressing the complex urban realities of the city.
Bio: Nikolas Bakirtzis is Associate Professor and Director of Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories at The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia. His research and publications concentrate in the art and architecture of the urban and rural landscapes of the Byzantine, Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean. More recently, his work has focused on historic Mediterranean cities, the perception and appropriation of medieval heritage in the modern period and in the application of advanced imaging and analytical methods to characterize the materiality of works of art. Awards and fellowships include a European Commission Marie Curie Grant, a Princeton Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies Visiting Fellowship, an A.G. Leventis Foundation Grant, a Guest Scholarship at the Getty Research Institute and a Getty Foundation “Connecting Art Histories” grant, along with Co-PI, D. Fairchild-Ruggles (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).