The Presidential Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Republic of Cyprus. It is located close to the centre of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, and is surrounded by a thick pine woodland.
The original building was a prefabricated structure erected in November 1878 on a site known as Snake Hill, on which Richard the Lionheart is said to have set up camp. The building was shipped by the war office from London to Ceylon, its original destination; but by the time it reached Port Said, it was no longer required there, and was diverted to Cyprus. The building arrived in Larnaca and was transported to Nicosia in boxes on the backs of camels.
The building was burned down during the Enosis riots of 21 October 1931. As a result of the disturbances, a special law was enacted by Sir Ronald Storrs, the Governor of the Island, on 21 December 1931, whereby the Greek Cypriot inhabitants had to pay for the building of a new Government house. A total of £34,315 was demanded, payable by 30 June 1932.
The new building was designed by Maurice Webb of the firm of Sir Aston Webb & Sons, Westminster, London. Construction was undertaken by J V Hamilton & L F Weldon of the Public Works Department, Nicosia. The main structure was built of Yerolakkos sandstone, with harder sandstone from Limassol used for the staircases. Construction was completed in 1937, at a total cost of £70,000. Among the Palace's most prominent features are the British coat-of-arms, and four gargoyles with human heads depicting the British General Foreman in charge of construction, the head mason, the head carpenter, and an unknown labourer.
The building was originally named Government House; in 1960, it was renamed the Presidential Palace. The structure was gutted by fire during the coup d’etat by the Greek Junta and EOKA-B on 15 July 1974, and was rebuilt by the Public Works Department and Philippou Brothers in 1977. The rebuilding costs were paid by the Greek Government.
On 28 May 2010, it was announced that the building was to have a €1.2 million upgrade to reduce its carbon emissions. The project included solar panels in the car park, a new ventilation system, and replacement of windows. A further €2.7 million was spent to build a new hall for Cyprus's 2012 European Union Presidency. The new hall opened on 17 May 2012; it can seat 500 people, or 300 if seated by table.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.