Abdullah Onar: a Turkish Cypriot modernist architect (PHOTOS)

There are no signatures on the buildings we live in, work in, or catch our eye. But if they had one, we might have been able to discover part of the history of the place where we live.

It would have been a story written by all the inhabitants of the island – whatever their nationality – before it was split in two.

And part of that story would certainly bear the signature of Turkish Cypriot architect Abdullah Onar, Chrystalla Hadjidemetriou wrote in the weekend edition of Phileleftheros.

Onar, who died in 2019, is considered one of the most important figures of modernist architecture in Cyprus.

Many of his works are pioneering and have played an important role in the development of architecture, the change in lifestyle as well as towards the full understanding of the urban environment.


With a rich archive in her hands, her daughter Anber Onar, who is an artist herself, decided to “rescue” Onar’s work in a publication she had started writing during her father’s lifetime.

At the same time, she is organizing an exhibition in Kyrenia entitled “A Modern Past in Architecture: Abdullah Onar” which runs until June 24, and her wish is to show her work in the open spaces as well.


His projects, after all, can be seen everywhere in Cyprus. In total, he designed over 600 buildings, most of which are residential units.

Most of his work is in the secessionist Turkish-occupied north, mainly in this part of Nicosia. But there are also buildings designed by him in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos as well as in rural areas.

The publication “A Modern Past in Architecture” is written in Turkish.

About Byron G. Fazio

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