OUR LADY OF TYRE / ARMENIAN CHURCH

 OUR LADY OF TYRE

N° 50 m
Town / Village : Nicosia

District : Nicosia

 

DESCRIPTION :

Named Our Lady of Tyre, the church was originally part of a 14th century  monastic complex . It was the principal Carthusian convent in Nicosia, ca 1300, also thought to have belonged to the Benedictine Order.

 This is a typical Gothic building with one aisle with an octogonal apse and groin vaults. The western part is covered with an arch. In the church’s three sides there are pointed doorways that lead to the church’s interior. The church was originally built to receive ribbed vaulting but was later roofed by a barrel vault with six ribs, supported by groups of three engaged colonettes (except for the four outside corners where they are single colonettes). On the exterior, there are three buttresses on either side. The abacus of the colonettes is linked by  a continuous string course forming the windowsills of the north facade. The windows on the north facade take up the whole space between the string course and the vaulting. Lunettes are narrow and pierced by lancet windows, which are divided by a central mullion surmounted by a quatrefoil in a circle. The choir windows have upper tracery composed of two trefoils surmounted by a quatrefoil. The south facade has been altered and possesses one narrow pointed window. The window in thre choir has been built up. The profile moulding of the arches of the vaults is composed of a slender taurus outlined by cavettos, which have been deformed, as have the bases, by plastering.

 

The French architecture of this building is ca 1303 – 1310 and must have originally been founded after the fall of Jerusalem and the expulsions of all religious Orders from that city. The building remained unfinished because of a revolt of the Prince of Tyre. It is mentioned that the first building had been destroyed by an earthquake and was rebuilt by King Henry II (1285-1324).

 

The belfry was erected in the northeastern wall at a later stage.

 

The church’s floor was once covered with carved tombstones belonging to numerous members of the island’s nobility (mainly nuns and knights). Most of the tombstones are dated to the 14th and 15th centuries and some surviving ones are currently lying in the porch. Three carved marble funerary plaques in low relief have been removed from their original place and have been left leaning against the wall in the exterior cloister. Along the back wall is a funerary monument (tomb of Eschive d’Ampierre) which has been arranged as an outside altar.

 

By the 16th century the church passed to the hands of the Armenian community of Cyprus. During the siege of 1570, the Armenians, who hated the proud Latins, assisted the Ottoman army and on their fall of Nicosia they were handed this church as a reward.

Period : 13th century – 14th century.

 

OUTSTANDING VALUE :

The building is one of the most interesting of medieval monuments in Nicosia.

MAPS / LINKS

 

DOCUMENTS / BIBLIOGRAPHY

                           

 C.Enlart, L'Art Gothique ...en Chypre, Paris, 1899

PHOTOS / VIDEOS

 

NEWS / THREATS

The building has been supported by temporary scaffolding but essentially in a dire condition and is in urgent need for restauration or at least earnest mothballing.

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