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Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • General definitions
  • Some examples from Malta
  • Case studies
  • Conclusion
  • References


  • Various cultures have affected human’s life from time to time. Different cultures make diversity in all aspects of people’s lives through transmissions from different places all around the world. These transmissions of signs results in rewriting the culture.
  • Cultural translation is one implication which strongly encompasses changes in generations’ lifestyles, beliefs, communications and also architecture.
  • Architecture plays an important role in cultural and environmental transitions in different ages and regions and archi-cultural translation occurs when the influence of a foreign culture has an impact on the culture, architecture, and social lives of a said people. Cultural translation infers the existence of two cultures with one culture emulating the other either consciously or unconsciously. When this emulation occurs in the architectural sphere, archi cultural translation is said to have occurred.
  • In Cyprus the many conquests over the years by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Lusignans, Venetians, Ottomans, British etc has left an indelible mark on the architecture, culture, history and social lives of the people.
  • Research objective: to highlight the archi cultural translations in museums, cultural centers and cinemas inside the walled city of lefkosha.
  • Aim: to see If these buildings are sustaining according to the changes and their present function!
  • Keywords: Archi cultural translation, Walled city of lefkosha, museum, cultural center, cinema, signs

The case studies in this presentation are museums cinemas and cultural centers that are located inside the walled city of Lefkosha.

  • MuseumsA museum is an institution which collects, documents, preserves, exhibits and interprets material evidence and associated information for the public benefit' – Museums’ Association
  • Worlds’ first known Museum - Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum 530 BC – Mesopotamia
  • Cultural Centres An organization, building or complex that promotes culture and arts.
  • Worlds’ first known Cultural Centre - Perth Cultural Centre- Australia 1912/14
  • CinemasA movie theatre
  • World’s first know cinema - Vitascope Hall, New Orleans, Louisiana June 26, 1896

Some examples from Valleta , Malta

City of Valletta (1980) Malta

The city of Valleta (capital of Malta) has one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world: 320 monuments in 55 ha. Another feature that makes Valleta a unique place is that no important modifications have been made since 1798, when the Knights of St. John left.

The fortified city of Valletta, built in a peninsula high above the sea level to be more protected from invasions, couldn’t help be ruled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Order of the Knights of St John. Despite its ancient history, the capital of Malta is essentially a creation of the late Renaissance with a uniform urban plan inspired by neo-Platonic principles, fortified bastioned walls built around the natural site and the construction of magnificent monuments in strategically chosen locations.


Examples of Museums in the Old Historic Quarter of Valleta Malta

National Museum of Archaeology

National Museum of Fine Arts


Examples of Cinemas in the Old Historic Quarter of Valleta Malta

Citadel Cinema Castle Hill Street Victoria Malta

Rialto, Cospicua Malta



Translation ~ Rewriting


Translation means writing a text by using a new language (new signs).

With using the language of architecture in the passage of time archi-cultural translation shows itself in the urban context.

  • . Changing the function
  • Archi-Cultural Translation . Changing the
  • look (renovation/restoration)
  • . Adding new Signs

Buyuk Han

Arasta street

Changed its function 5 times


Mevlevi Museum

  • Girne Cadesi
  • Changed its function 6 times

Dr. Fazil Kucuk Museum

Girne Cadesi

Changed its function 4 times


Eaved House

  • Selimiyeh District

Changed its function twice – renovated – restored


Lapidary Museum

  • Zutfuzade Street

Changed its function 2 times


Lusignan House

Yenicami Street

Changed its function 3 times



  • Arasta Street

Changed its function 3 times – restored - renovated


Buyuk Hamam

  • Arasta Street

Changed its function 4 times



Built on October 2007

Built in purpose of cultural activities

Sidestreets events include art exhibitions and projects, poetry readings, film screenings and analyses, and seminars and round-table discussions with distinguished experts and professionals. Sidestreets also has an artists/ architects-in-residence program, and is working on a range of community initiatives.


Masirlizade Cinema

Built in purpose of movie theatre

Contemporary Building



  • The Walled-City of Lefkosa is rich in history and culture and archi-cultural translations has had a significant impact on the architecture and social lives of its people. The analysis of the afore-name buildings highlighted these facts;
  • The uniqueness and diversity of the architecture language existing in the case-study area (Lefkosa) is as a result of the impact of many cultures which ultimately leads to an archi-cultural translation. Archi-cultural translation is a definition based on architectural language of a built environment that shows a series of changes through the time; it is one of the ways which shows transmissions in societies. Some of these translations evolved with time into more complex forms but some are non-progressive.
  • The self-sustaining functions of buildings such as Bedestan, Eaved House,Mevlevi Tekke Museum , brings to the fore-front the implications of the impact of foreign cultures and its advantages in the continuance of an archi-cultural translation.
  •  With the advent of the impact of tourism and the multi-ethnicity present on the island of Cyprus, archi-cultural translations would be still sustaining.