A description of the historic monuments of Cyprus: studies in the archaeology and architecture of the island, with illustrations from measured drawings and photographs, George Jeffery, Zeno Booksellers and Publishers, 1983.
“Nicosia, Famagusta and Kyrenia, which belongs to the Eastern division of the island are still full of the interest which attaches to their medieval history and foundation.”
George H. Everett Jeffery (1855-1935), was a British architect who lived and worked in Cyprus during the beginning of the 20th century. He is best known as the Curator of Ancient Monuments in Cyprus from 1903 until his passing in 1935 and for overseeing the construction of the Cyprus Museum in 1908.
Jeffery's "Description of the Historical Monuments of Cyprus", first published in 1918 and later with a second edition in 1983, reads like a captivating journey across the entire island. This book stands as a testament to Jeffery's unwavering dedication and passion for Cyprus's historical treasures including temples, “The Abbey of Bella Paise is certainly the most magnificent souvenir and architectural monument of the Lusignan Dynasty of Cyprus”, fortifications and castles. “The ruined Castle of Hilarion is a particularly interesting and perhaps unique example of a " chateau fort “built as a royal residence, and completely abandoned since the close of the middle ages.”
It goes beyond mere documentation of facts, becoming a cornerstone for those fascinated by the architectural history of the island. The book features numerous architectural drawings of monuments, drawn by Jeffery, along with city plans and photographs. Jeffery’s reference to the trigonometrical survey of Cyprus conducted by Lord Kitchener in 1882 adds a layer of authenticity, providing a detailed map of the island that includes natural features, villages, and historical monuments, further aiding readers in their understanding of Cyprus as it was known.
Jeffery's writing is characterised by a blend of scholarly depth and accessibility. He delves into the historical significance of Cyprus's monuments, with a particular focus on the Byzantine and Medieval structures found in cities and villages across the island.
Among his notable works is the comprehensive study titled "Cyprus Under an English King in the Twelfth Century" and "An Attempt at a Bibliography of Cyprus, Claude Delavel Cobham, and George H. Everett Jeffery”.
In conclusion, "Description of the Historical Monuments of Cyprus" by George H. Everett Jeffery is more than a book; it's an invitation to explore, understand, and appreciate the multifaceted layers of Cyprus's cultural and architectural heritage.
You can find this book, and many more, in the Research Centre of the CVAR.
The 'Book Of The Month' series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).