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Our Culture

The History of Construction in Cyprus:
From Prehistory to the 21st Century

The Atlas Pantou Group, boasting 80 years of history, is an important chapter of the construction industry in Cyprus. With respect for the art of construction, as well as our land and culture, two years ago it set a grandiose plan, to publish the first comprehensive book on the history of Construction in Cyprus, with the main goal of contributing to our island’s culture.

The book “The History of Construction in Cyprus: From Prehistory to the 21st Century” unfolds just that, the history of Construction in Cyprus from the dawn of human civilisation to the 21st century.

A select group of 10 scientists-researchers, based on modern research on the history, archaeology, and architecture of Cyprus, has written down the raw materials, the techniques, and the construction forms in their diachronic course through the political, social, financial, and cultural changes on the island.

Abundantly illustrated and with a glossary of technical terms, this bilingual edition aspires to be an essential handbook for both experts and non-experts of the past and modern-day generation

Introductory Note

From cave dwelling to the first stone and timber structures, from clay to concrete and iron, man has not stopped evolving. Once, in the distant past, we gazed at the skyline from the port of ancient Salamis. Today we gaze at it from the balconies of skyscrapers, watching merchant ships, cruise ships, and hydrocarbon mining platforms plough the seas of our island.

As a businessman and civil engineer, I have always admired the art and science of building. Universities taught me how to methodically apply its techniques and principles, but it was my father, Panayiotis Toumazis who taught me its moral code. Many years ago, in 1937, he established his first construction office in Famagusta. This would be the cornerstone of the construction company that followed and the group of companies that developed later on.

The journey throughout the years has proven very challenging. The 1974 Turkish invasion inevitably affected the companies of the group, leading some of them to near closure. We lost Famagusta and our properties, yet we never lost the courage to continue, nor the ability to maintain the development of our expertise. After taking over the management of the company in 1987, with consistency, persistence and immeasurable hard work from all the personnel, we managed to transform the company into a highly regarded and well-respected group by the name of Atlas Pantou.

From prehistoric times to the present, the building techniques that have been adopted in Cyprus have played a major role in the development of our quality of life; they have contributed to the local population’s survival, evolution and progress, even shaping our culture.

The aim of this study was to record and publish the history of the art of building in Cyprus, from ancient to modern times. This publication provides a fascinating insight into this aspect of our culture, and is an invaluable source of knowledge of our building heritage from its origins up to the present day.

The book entitled The History of Construction in Cyprus: From Prehistory to the 21st Century is Atlas Pantou’s offering to our country, its people and its culture. We deem it to be a project of timeless value, as it documents and showcases our cultural heritage relating to construction. This is our way of contributing to the acknowledgement, recording and promotion of thousands of years of human inventiveness and creativeness that is evidenced by a variety of buildings and structures that adorn our land.

I would like to sincerely thank all the authors, contributors and generally anyone who helped in any way to “build” this publication.

Tonis Toumazis