Did you know

17 May 2022

Did You Know? The Venetian walls of Nicosia

Panos Leventis, in Twelve times in Nicosia, 2005, presents the history of Nicosia from 1192-1570 and points out the monuments which existed around or near the Lusignan walls of the city. Among much other information he notes that the refortification project required 5-6.000 workers and the river was diverted in order to flow in the new moat surrounding the city, but never did. The old walls with all structures lying outside the new enceinte, 1800 houses, 80 churches and chapels, two large monasteries and numerous gardens were demolished and the new circular fortress with eleven bastions was constructed. The illustrious and rich families of Nicosia were put in charge of construction and workers in the respective bastions, and the misery of the masses facilitated their recruitment in the project being assured of an income.

Venetian Walls.jpg

Shelter for 10,000 people that were displaced was never provided. Most of them became workers and constructed makeshift wooden rooms to live in. Roughly, 500-800 men and women worked on each bastion from 6am until 1pm and again from 7pm until midnight. When Savorgnano departed he left behind him a largely finished yet still incomplete fortification. When the Ottoman army was landing in Cyprus in 1570 the walls were not completely faced with stone and the moat was not completely dug.

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).

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