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In the centre of the square stands the Venetian Column, which was crowned by the lion of St. Mark until toppled by the victorious Turks in 1570. This granite column, traditionally believed to be have been quarried from the temple of Jupiter at Salamis, lay in the grounds of the Sarayönü mosque for several centuries.
The Venetian Column at Ataturk Meydani
Ataturk Meydani is considered to be the central point of Turkish Nicosia. Anyone reading my earlier tips should have no problem guessing whose face adorns the building in the picture! Yes it's Kemal Ataturk again.
In the middle of the rounabout is the Venetian Column. This column is made out of grey marble. The Venetians brought it from Salamis (another part of Cyprus with many columns and ancient carvings) and erected it in 1489. They placed their symbol on top of it - The Lion of Saint Mark. The Ottomans then knocked the column over in 1570 and removed the Lion. The column then stayed down until 1915, when the British (who were governing Cyprus at the time) re-erected it and placed a globe on top (that apparently was a non-controversial topping to all relevant parties!)
- Historical Travel
Venetian Column (Dikilitas)
The granite column in the Ataturk square was erected by the Venetians in 1550. Though the Ottomans removed the column and left it in the courtyard of the Sarayonu Mosque, the British re-erected it in its present location in 1915. The grey granite column is thought to have been transported from a temple in Salamis.
The insignia of six Italian families can be seen at the bottom of the column. The copper globe at the top is a later addition. The buildings to the West of the Ataturk Square (government buildings - courts, company registrar's, etc.) were constructed during the British colonial rule in early 20th century. They therefore have a distinct look.
The Venetian Column is also a great meeting spot, or aid to locate where you are in the city center. It's hard to miss!
- Historical Travel
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