Sightseeing in Famagusta
Nicosia / Kyrenia / Famagusta / Guzelyurt
The spectacular buildings and monuments of Famagusta give a fascinating insight into long-lost civilizations and include the Lala Mustapha Pasa Mosque (former St. Nicholas Cathedral), the church and monastery dedicated to St. Barnabas, the town's harbour, the ruins of Enkomi and Salamis, and more.
When the Venetians took over Famagusta, they rebuilt almost the entire city. They constructed a massive wall round the old town, still mostly remaining. The Martinengo bastion is an excellent example of expert fortification.
The impression which is made by Famagusta harbour is reinforced by great citadel, otherwise known as Othello's Tower that reminds the visitors of the events of the most famous play written by William Shakespeare.
The Ottomans took over the city in 1571, converting churches into mosques or using them for secular purposes. It was then when the Cathedral of St. Nicholas became the Lala Mustapha Pasa Mosque. They also destroyed the Venetian Palace in 1571 and used it as a prison.
Moving inland from Famagusta, you will find the church and monastery dedicated to St. Barnabas, the founder of the apostolic Church of Cyprus in 45 A.D. Barnabas visited the island with St. Paul and St. Mark and was later martyred in Salamis in 52 A.D. The church of St. Barnabas preserves a wonderful collection of 18th-century icons and the monastery houses an archaeological museum.
Outside of the town you can visit two ancient towns, Enkomi and Salamis. Enkomi was one of the first settlements in the east of Cyprus, specialised in the production and export of copper during the Bronze Age. The town was destroyed in 1200 B.C. Most of the population probably settled down on the coast where the first Greek settlers established the Kingdom of Salamis.
It is believed that the ancient city of Salamis was founded by Teucer on his return from the Trojan War. During the Roman rule, Salamis was the greatest commercial centre of the Emporium in the East. In the 4th century A.D. it was destroyed by earthquake, but was rebuilt and renamed Costantia by the Emperor Costantin. In 648 it was destroyed by Arab invaders and since then it has not been rebuilt. Salamis, the ancient city which lies beside the longest and one of the most beautiful of Cyprus's sandy beaches, is found in an area which is partly forested. The Roman amphitheatre, the largest in Cyprus, can be visited with its amphitheatre, gymnasium, baths and market place.