As a Cypriot I have mixed feelings
Built the 10th century, it was once considered the richest city in the world with 365 churches and monumental fortifications.
These days, some 200 buildings -reflecting Byzantine, French Gothic and Italian Renaissance architectural styles -are in a state of despair. The city has always been fought over so its current condition is simply another page in is turbulent history.
Neither funds nor conservations can be sent by Agencies such as UNESCO because of the economic and social embargo, the international community imposed on northern Cyprus after it was forcibly annexed by Turkey in 1974. Weeds and wildflowers press against sandstone walls eroded by rain and earthquakes.
Behind the old walled city there is a busy working town. An area full of ruins, with the port right outside the Sea Gate.
If you climb onto the Venetian walls and ramparts you will get the best views but you can also see the long stretch of great thickness of the wall. With the sun shining on the honey colored stone of the walls as well as the palm trees around, the atmosphere travels you to the middle-eastern splendor.
Othello's Tower is the medieval fortress guarding both the harbour and the town of Famagusta. Othello is the name of a Venetian governor of 1506. The entrance to the tower is pierced through the Venetian fortifications which date from between 1500 and 1550.
Inside the walls is the Great Hall, and with the large kitchen at one end. Windows are quite small (probably for defence purposes). When you climb up the steps, you can see a fine view of both ancient and modern harbours. Modern ships still use the same harbour entrance as it was in the golden age of Famagusta, 1300 to 1400 A.D.
The old city of Famagusta is surrounded by the historical walls, which are massive and date back to mediaeval times. The walls stand intact to this day and they are really well preserved.
The city walls built by the Lusignans were very high but thin. After the Venetians captured the island from the Lusignans, they brought over specialists from Venice to fortify the walls against artillery fire particularly to protect themselves from the Ottomans. The walls we see today are the ones built by the Venetian specialists.
One of the most popular resting place for both the locals and the tourists is Gloria Jean's near Gulseren District. If you walk from Gloria Jean's to the historical center, you will be walking along these huge walls. You will smell the sea, hear the waves but you will not see the sea, which is kind of nice.
Also called Othello's Tower, because shakepeare mentioned Famagusta in his play 'Othello'.
It's a fort overlooking the old port area, strengthened and changed by the Venetians in the late 1400s.
The Citadel is in better condition than many of the churches, possibly because its courtyard is still used for performances. but even so you can see the damage wrought by centruies of sea air.
The fort suffered greatly under Ottoman bombardment....legend has it that the treasure of the Venetians is hidden away somewhere inside its numerous blocked passageways and derelict rooms.
look closely as you wander round, for there are still stores of cannonballs and the odd bit of carved masonry.
Pigeons roost in the gracefully-arched Great Hall, their droppings adding to the deterioration.
And from the roof you have a fine view of the industrial harbour ( part of the fort is still a 'forbidden zone')..........there was a Turkish warship docked there when I visited.......and of distant Varosha (see tip below).
The castle is called Othello Castle due to the descriptions of the castle in Shakespeare’s Othello and is one of the most frequently visited and photographed historical buildings in Magusa. According to some researchers, Christophoro Moro was the Venetian governor of Cyprus at that time, and when William Shakespeare heard Moro’s last name, he wrote his play mistakenly thinking that Moro was Moroccan (Moorish). Due to this, the castle is known as Othello’s Castle. The relief of St. Mark’s lion at the entrance to the castle has been proudly greeting visitors for centuries. Below the relief is written the name of Nicolo Foscari, who repaired the castle, and a date of 1492. This date probably indicates the date when the castle was repaired.
The Walls of the Old City are known as the Venetian walls, and circle the old town completely. It's a well-preserved wall, at first built by the Lusignans, but fortified by the Venetians, after they captured the city. You often can see decorations and statues of lions, which were the symbol of the Republic of Venice
There used to be two gates to the city, and both are still standing, one was called Porta del Mare (sea gate) and one Porta di Ravalin (land gate). This latter one is the gate you'll use when entering the old town, while the first one, obviously, is located on the sea front. The other two existing gates were added (well, opened) during the British occupation.
If you take a walk along the walls you'll see many other interesting "details": bastions, ramps, embrasures, arms depots, depots, stables and in particular the Othello tower with its adjoining castle.
yes, this is the place :) here Othello has been sent from Venice to fight Turkish fleet .. well, the rest of this drama is known (or can be learnd from Shakespeare ;).
the medieval fortress dates back to early 16 century and is in decent shape. not long ago, it has been utilized for theatre performances. I haven't happened to see one, just was told that they are
entrance ticket: 2 YTL ($1.5)
Behind the "marine doorway" with a serious venetian lyon, there's another one, far less serious; the tale is about him opening his mouth once a year and letting a treasure in the hand of a lucky one passing along in that very moment. Could be you?