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OTHELLO'S TOWER


This citadel was built in the 12th century during the Lusignan period, to protect the harbour. The Sea Gate on, in this side, along with the Land Gate were the two major entrances of walled Famagusta. The citadel was originally surrounded with a moat. In 1492 Venetians transformed it into an artillery stronghold making alterations similar to those at Kyrenia castle. The marble panel above the entrance shows the winged lion of Venice, and includes the name of Nicolo Foscarini who remodeled the tower. It is thought that when Leonardo da Vinci visited Cyprus in 1481 he advised the Venetians on the design of the defenses of Famagusta. The tower of citadel consists of towers and corridors leading to artillery chambers. On one side its large courtyard is the refectory and above it apartment, both dating back to the Lusignan period. The present day name of the tower came into use during the British colonial period. In his famous tragedy, where the setting is a” seaport in Cyprus”  Shakespeare makes Othello a Moor. He must have heard of the Venetian governor of the island, Christophoro  Moor  whose surname means “moor”. In the courtyard of the citadel there are some Ottoman and Spanish cannons and their iron balls. The stone balls were for catapults. The surviving walls  and bastions of Famagusta are from the Venetian period. On the land side the city was protected by the squat Martinengo  Bastion. This  was named after the Venetian commander Count  Heracles Martinengo. In the Ravelin, which protected the Land  Gate, in addition to artillery chambers a chapel is encountered.  The large round tower, which was  originally  a Venetian arsenal on  the sea side is named after Dyamboulat, the Turkish commander  by whose bravery the Bastion  was captured.

Northern Cyprus Department of Antiquities and Museums Directorate