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Cyprus begins construction of state-of-the-art observatory

Cyprus begins construction of state-of-the-art observatory

The project is propelled by EU, Greek and Cypriot funding

Construction has begun on a super-modern observatory in Cyprus, following the signing of a contract last week between the Limassol district administration and the project contractor J. Mantis Constructions Ltd., local media report.

Pan-European network of observatories

The spacecraft-shaped building will make its "landing" at an altitude of 1,200 metres in the Troodos Mountains in the central part of the island. The scientific facility will forge ties with other observatories, becoming part of a pan-European network of information and training centres for astronomical observations and space studies.

The building’s futuristic look is the brainchild of Elena Tsolakes and her brother Nikodemous of Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects. The project design has won international recognition, receiving many prizes and making the short list of the World Architecture Awards.

The observatory will have two huge telescopes in separate halls: a 20-inch astronomical telescope with a rotating vaulted roof and a solar observatory telescope for daytime use with a mechanically movable roof. The building will also feature a presentation hall which can be used as a planetarium and an open-air platform where amateur astronomers will be able to install their own telescopes. The new observatory will be periodically open at night, allowing stargazers and astrology enthusiasts to observe the constellations or unusual phenomena in the sky. 

"This project has long been the dream of many people in Cyprus, and we are very pleased that our vision for this building will finally be realized,” said Elena Tsolakes at the contract-signing ceremony, quoted by philenews.com.

Cross-border cooperation

The exciting development is part of the GEOSTARS project - Interreg VA Greece-Cyprus cross-border cooperation programme for 2014-2020, which is co-financed by the European Union (ERDF) and the National Resources of Greece and Cyprus. The project is estimated to cost about EUR 1.4 million and will take about 16 months to complete.

The Troodos Observatory will be the first large centre in Cyprus to attract professional and amateur astronomers, observers, scientists and researchers from around the world, who hope to make good use of the island’s more than 200 cloudless nights. Thus, Cypriot authorities expect the observatory to make a significant contribution to the economic activity and job creation in the region.

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