Nicosia Time Machine

Cooperation: Nicosia Time Machine and PERIsCOPE

Our Local Time Machine project Interactive Visualisation of Historic Nicosia is cooperating with the project Portal for heritage buildings integration into the contemporary built environment (PERIsCOPE) in a collaborative testing workshop to explore the capabilities of the platform Urban Periscope enabling multi-scale and multi-modal studies of cities, functioning as a Time Machine of historic neighbourhoods. The platform is scheduled to go online before April 2023, with the aim to be used by the Town Planning & Housing Authority, Municipalities and the Department of Antiquities.

Overview PERIsCOPE project

In an era of rapid technological improvements, state-of-the-art methodologies and tools dedicated to the protection and promotion of our cultural heritage should be developed and extensively employed in the modern built environment and lifestyle. At the same time, sustainability principles underline the importance of the continuous use of historic or vernacular buildings as part of the building stock of our society. The adoption of a holistic, integrated, multi-disciplinary strategy can bridge technological innovation with the conservation and restoration of heritage buildings

The project “Portal for heritage buildings integration into the contemporary built environment” (PERIsCOPE) aims to design and develop an innovative platform for the identification, classification, documentation and renovation of heritage buildings which can be exploited by a variety of stakeholders related to the conservation and retrofit activities. PERIsCOPE will enable the exploitation of state-of-the-art techniques in the scientific fields of Building Information Modelling (BIM), remote sensing, terrestrial and aerial 3D modelling techniques, and non-destructive onsite testing, pursued by the leading research and academic institutions of Cyprus in these fields. PERIsCOPE platform is targeted to specific stakeholders to impact culturally and economically the society of Cyprus, including public authorities and policy makers (Town Planning and Housing Department, Department of Antiquities, Municipalities) and professionals (archaeologists, engineers, architects and chartered surveyors).

The implementation of PERIsCOPE in practice involves the pilot application of the proposed holistic integrated methodology on 20 heritage buildings in Nicosia and Limassol (including examples located in both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot neighbourhoods), with regards to their location in the contemporary fabric of the city, as well as their current structural condition. This pilot application will enable the generation of an integrated database, from which information and data will be extracted, in order to be used for the development of the methodology with feedback collected from the stakeholders engaged in the project. The development of the platform and associated tools will bring added value and benefits to the Public Authorities and Cultural Operators participating, and to the Consortium as a whole.

More information on this project can be found on the project´s website.

Collaboratiive testing workshop: Enabling data-driven, multi-scale and multi-modal studies of historic urban environments: Urban Periscope

In April 2022, the alpha version of the Information Modelling (BIM)-enabled platform Urban Periscope was successfully user evaluated by 40 participants (academic specialists and architecture students), which were invited to test the platform, during a workshop organised by the project Portal for hERitage buildingS integration into the COntemporary built Environment (PERIsCOPE/INTEGRATED/0918/0034), a project that is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research Innovation Foundation.

In May, the alpha version of the Building Information Modelling (BIM)-enabled platform Urban Periscope was released and presented by Assist. Professor G. Artopoulos (The Cyprus Institute) and BIM expert M. Deligiorgi in a workshop organised by the Enhancing of Heritage Awareness and Sustainability of Built Environment in Architectural and Urban Design Higher Education (HERSUSProject/ERASMUS+ 2020-1-RS01-KA203-065407).

Later, in June the Urban Periscope platform that enables multi-scale and multi-modal studies of cities, functioning as a Time Machine of historic neighbourhoods, was also presented to one of the core groups of its stakeholders, the officers of the Department of Antiquities of the Republic of Cyprus, responsible for the conservation and protection of listed buildings in the country, in the context of the dissemination activities of the H2020 Twinning project Promised: Promoting Archaeological Science in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The platform is scheduled to go online before April 2023, with the aim to be used by the Town Planning & Housing Authority, Municipalities and the Department of Antiquities.

Background information on the Nicosia Time Machine

The current version of the virtual platform was created in Unity and includes (undivided) all important monuments of the historic city of Nicosia (33 in number), the last divided capital in Europe, spanning a period of 9 centuries, being accessible/visualised as in a time machine, by century and with textual and visual metadata linked. This work was done with support from the A.G. Leventis Foundation and is featured in the Municipal Museum of the city, while was recently presented at the Museum Big Data conference (

This interactive platform relies on a large volume of 3D spatial data, generated through a semi-supervised photogrammetric documentation pipeline, and an accurate digital terrain model of the city, based on data provided by the Land Survey Department of the country. These spatial data are enriched with 2D and textual historical information. The processes of creating the platform involved 3D data collection, processing, optimisation data storage and management. With our interdisciplinary team of collaborators (incl. historians, architects, archaeologists, artists, computer scientists, 3D documentation experts, land surveyors and engineers- experts in BIM and GIS) we intend to continue developing this platform, further expanding its rich dataset to include historical buildings of 19th c. and examples of colonial architecture.

#LTMThursday Interview: Interactive Visualization of Historic Nicosia