Museum of Cypriot Culture nurture hope for revitalization of the Markkleeberg Agra Park

By Rai­ner Küs­ter, published in the Leip­zi­ger Volks­zei­tung on June 23, 2022

Mark­klee­berg. The Leip­zig-based “Alex­an­der Mali­os Rese­arch Insti­tu­te for Cypri­ot Heri­ta­ge and Archeo­lo­gy” (Amricha) wants to set up an exhi­bi­ti­on space for its coll­ec­tion of more than 2,000 objects in the south-wes­tern part of the Agra Park, which dates from the ear­liest sett­le­ment to the Byzan­ti­ne Empire around 11,000 years repre­sen­ting Cypri­ot histo­ry. Accor­ding to Alex­an­der Mali­os, who was born in Dres­den, grew up in Cyprus and later moved to Leip­zig again, Mark­klee­berg could beco­me the “world’s lar­gest inde­pen­dent muse­um of Cypri­ot cul­tu­re out­side of Cyprus”.

Side effect: revi­ta­liza­ti­on of the park area

The com­plex is to be built on the area that was last used as a “Koi-Cen­ter” for the sale of fish food. The pro­ject and loca­ti­on are inte­res­t­ing in many respects. If you extend the line from the Ger­man Pho­to Muse­um via the White House, the area in the sou­thwest is on the same axis. Becau­se the Amricha pro­ject also includes a gas­tro­no­mic area that could even be ren­ted out for events, an infra­struc­tu­ral upgrade and the revi­ta­liza­ti­on of this park area are obvious at the same time. In his pre­sen­ta­ti­on to the Mark­klee­berg city coun­cil, Amricha cura­tor Alex­an­der Gatz­sche even spo­ke of the “re-emer­gence of the his­to­ric south-west gate”.

In her state­ment of facts, Mayor for Buil­ding and Con­s­truc­tion of the city of Mark­klee­berg Jana Tho­mas poin­ted out to the city coun­cil­ors that the town hall, the dis­trict buil­ding inspec­tion office, the Pro Agra asso­cia­ti­on and the Sta­te Office for Cul­tu­ral Pro­per­ty con­sider the loca­ti­on sui­ta­ble for the new muse­um buil­ding. The only ques­ti­on that remains is the finan­cing, which Amricha can­not or does not want to hand­le alo­ne. “It is a pri­va­te initia­ti­ve, but in addi­ti­on to fun­ding, we are pri­ma­ri­ly buil­ding on a strong part­ner­ship with the city of Mark­klee­berg, the Free Sta­te of Sax­o­ny, the EU and the Repu­blic of Cyprus,” empha­si­zed cura­tor Alex­an­der Gatzsche.

“We take ever­yo­ne on board”

The 33-year-old Cura­tor explai­ned to the LVZ: “It is a cul­tu­ral and social pro­ject. We are the­r­e­fo­re in a pha­se that I would like to descri­be as ‘approa­ching from all sides’ ”. The­r­e­fo­re, the design of the buil­ding is curr­ent­ly only a kind of pro­po­sal and can­not yet be backed up with a cost esti­ma­te. Desi­gned pri­ma­ri­ly as a muse­um in which the focus is on “cul­tu­ral and his­to­ri­cal media­ti­on”, space should also be crea­ted for events and social pro­jects. “We take ever­yo­ne on board who wants to par­ti­ci­pa­te,” Gatz­sche offers.

For the Mark­klee­berg town hall, an ent­ry seems con­ceiva­ble: “Our con­cern is the revi­ta­liza­ti­on of the Agra Park,” says OBM Kars­ten Schüt­ze (SPD), who also empha­si­zes the city’s inte­rest “in being able to offer park gas­tro­no­my on the Mark­klee­berg side as well.” Howe­ver pati­ence is requi­red on this boat trip. “If ever­y­thing works out per­fect­ly, con­s­truc­tion could start in three to five years at the ear­liest,” cura­tor Gatz­sche looks ahead.

Link to the ori­gi­nal artic­le at LVZ+ (Ger­man):