WALLS and FORTIFICATIONS

WALLS

N° 21 y
Town / Village : Ammochostos / Gazimagusa

District : Famagusta

 

DESCRIPTION :

The medieval town is surrounded by walls with 15 bastions and other fortifications. The walls that have an almost trapezoidal ground plan, have a total circumference of approximately 3,5 km and a maximum height of 15m. The fortifications protect the medieval harbour in the east. The walled town is also surrounded by a deep moat that used to fill up with sea water.

From travellers’ accounts we know that the town was fortified from the beginning of the 13th century and during the Frankish period they were greatly reinforced.

The fortifications were strengthened further by the Venetians, especially during the years 1540-1570. The fortifications that survive today mainly belong to the 16th century and were constructed for the defense of the town against the expected Ottoman siege.

Period : 14th century – 16th century.

 

OUTSTANDING VALUE :

 

MAPS / LINKS

 

DOCUMENTS / BIBLIOGRAPHY

THE OTHELLO TOWER :

Originally this citadel dates to the 14th century. It is a square castle with a round tower in each corner. It originally had a second floor which was pulled down in 1492. Above the gate there is a walled marble slab bearing a relief of the Venetian winged lion and an inscription mentioning Nicolo Fuscarini, the Venetian captain that redesigned the fort in 1492. The citadel is encircled by a moat and is detached from the rest of the fortifications. Inside its main room the coats of arms of the kingdom of Jerusalem still survive. A pier protecting the harbour began from this citadel.

RAVELIN BASTION :

This bastion protects the Land Gate which is the only entrance to the town . This 16th century monumental bastion that stands before the entrance is 36ft high and was an important stronghold for the town. Inside the bastion there are four coats of arms belonging to the Order of the Sword. During the Ottoman siege this bastion suffered many attacks and was severely damaged.

MARTINENGO BASTION :

This bastion is one of the finest examples of military architecture. The bastion forms a pentagon and its main characteristics is its elevated part (cavalier) with the large platform for the canons. It was named after a Venetian commander, Ercole Martinengo who repaired Famagusta’s fortifications.

PORTA DEL MARE :

This Sea Gate was built in 1496 by Nicolao Prioli, one of Famagusta’s Venetian generals. The entrance facade bears a marble slab with a winged lion (Venice’s emblem) in relief and Nicolao Prioli’s name and coat of arms. The iron entrance which opened and closed with the use of chains was erected by the Venitians but the wooden doors were an Ottoman addition.



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