On 23 January 1835 having secured letters of introduction from the American consul Mr. Marino Mattei for the Governor and the Archbishop, and escorted by a young Arab dragoman and two muleteers, the American missionary Lorenzo Warriner Pease and brother William Thomson, visited Nicosia. Ascending an eminence, a large number of oyster shells were deposited on the surface of the ground and imbedded in the rocky hills, at least fifteen miles from the sea. From this point, they had their first glance at the capital of the island:
Gradually it broke on our sight until the walls and bastions appeared fully before us. A wide and beautiful plain sprinkled with villages had its church, which was easily distinguished from the other buildings by its shape and size. The plain which lay at our feet was about 20 miles in width and not less than 70 miles in length. Much, if not the whole of the soil is exceedingly fertile and might be rendered more so by irrigation. After crossing the plain and passing through a burying ground by the walls of the city, we entered the Famagusta Gate, which may be called truly a fine specimen of architecture. We noticed also in the cemetery a low gallows where public criminals were executed. The same is to be seen at the other two gates.
They entered through Famagusta Gate or Porta Giuliana, named so in honour of its constructor and engineer Count Giulio Savorgnano. The Turks called the Gate Taht-el-Kahle, meaning in Arabic the wooden fort. Left and right of the road would have been the Turkish graveyards where Louis Salvador described “human beings dragging themselves along, covered with leprosy”, Not being allowed to enter the town, the lepers made the open fields their dwelling place.
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