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Famagusta (Gazimagusa)

If Girne is the tourism capital of Northern Cyprus, then Famagusta is the historical capital. The walled town and the areas around the city are peppered with ruins of civilisations ranging from Assyrian, Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Louisianan, Venetian, to le interest in history will enjoy visiting the walled town of Famagusta and hearing about the Ottoman siege of the then Venetian city. The town has the usual selection of shops, restaurant, bars and cafes. Accommodation available from Cyprus hotels in town. And with a large student population, Famagusta has a night- life rivalled only by Girne. This area also boasts some of the best beaches on the island.

Gazimagusa Past

The town of Gazimagosa was built on the ruins of the ancient city of Arsine which itself was built to replace the city of Salamis after its sacking by Arab raiders in 648 AD.Aand grew into a small fishing port In 1291, after the fall of Acre, Crusaders began to settle in the town bringing with them the vast wealth had accumulated in the their conquests in the Holy lands, in Gazimagusa, the richest city in the Eastern Mediterranean. To proclaim the superiority of Christianity and to appease God for their sins, the inhabitants built churches all over the city.

At one time there were 365 churches in Gazimagusa-oine for every day of the year. Later conflicts between the Venetians and the Genoese in the city, coupled with the increasing amount of resources and energy being channelled into defence in fear of an Ottoman invasion, seriously hampered trade and further development of the city. In 1571 the Ottomans took the city and Gazimagusa, no lender having strategic or economic importance, reverted to the insignificant port town-that it had been before During British rule much of the architectural heritage of Gazimagusa was lost when stone was taken from many historical sites to build the Suez Canal. Places of interest to visit Ancient city of Alaska:

The partially excavated ruins of the city can be found strewn across fields just outside the town of Gazimagosa. Archaeological findings at Alasia show that there was settlement in the area during the Middle Bronze Age Alasia`s wealth and subsequent growth was based on trade in Cypriot copper which during the sixteenth century B.C. was being exported to Anatolia, Syria and Egypt. Alasia`s heyday came in the fifteenth century B.C. when Mycenaean trade in cooper with both eastern and western lands was on the increase. In fact, at that time Alasia was regarded as the capital of Cyprus and some regarded Alasia so important that name became synonymous with the whole of the island

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries fires, migration, and earty-guakes lead to the gradual demise and abandonment of the city and its remaining population recoated to the nearby newly established city of Salamis.

Gazimagusa City Walls: The defensive walls surrounding Gazimagusa were built by the Venetians primarily to keep the ottomans out of the city-something which they managed to delay, but not prevent. The walls are almost completely intact today and vary in height from 15-17 metres and are up 9 metres thick.. The total circumference of approximately 3.5 kilometres is fortified with towers and bastions.

Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque (St.Nicolas Cathedral)
The construct cathedral began around 1300 AD. and was completed in was used by the Louisianans for the coronation of the Kings of Jerusalem and was later used as a mosque by the ottomans who renamed it after the general who led the 1571 invasion of

Othello Tower
This structure was build by the Louisianans as part of the defences of the city and is sait to be the setting for Shakespeare's Othello.

Palazzo de Provveditorre:
Originally the palace of the Lusignan kings of Cyprus, the building later became the residence of the Venetian military commander.

Royal Tombs
These incredible structures build during the seventh and eighth centuries B.C. can be found a short distance outside Gazimagusa and are the burial grounds of the ancient Kings of Cyprus. The tombs generally show influences of Assyrian and Egyptian cultures. Some of them, however, were opened and reused in Roman times.

Salamis Ruins:
Aaccording to Greek mythology’ the city of Salamis was, founded by Teucer on his return from the Trojan wars but it is perhaps more likely that the city was ,established early in the eleventh century B.C after the abandonment of the nearby city of Alasia. Salamis is said to have been a highly developed, urban centre blending the cultures of the Orient and the Phoenicians while having its own distinctively Cypriot chaoracter.By the eight century B.C. Salamis was Cyprus leading city in terms Of culture, wealth and size. During Roman times a number of server earthquakes destroyed much of the city, and repeated Arab raids during the seventh century A.D. resulted in its abandonment.

Sinan Pasha Mosque (The Church of Saints Peer and Paul)
This church is sait to have been built during Gazimagusa`s heyday from the profits of a single business venture by the merchant Simone Nostrano.Due to its conversion into mosque by the Ottomans it remains in very good condition and today houses the city library.

St. Andrew's Monastery:
The monastery is dedicated to St. Andrew, the protector of travellers who, it is told, landed covered fresh water with healing properties. The site has become a popular place for pilgrimages.

St. Barnabas Monastery and Icon Museum:
The monastery was built close to the site site of St. Barnabas was stoned to death by citizens of Salamis to whom he attempted to preach the gospel, and his tomb and monastery are of great religious significance to the Greek Orthodox Church and now houses a museum of icons which depict the events which led to the establishment of the independent Church of Cyprus.

St.George of the Greeks:
This was once the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Lefkosa and was built in the fifteenth century AD in Byzantine style.

St. George of the Latin's:
This early Gothic, based on St. Chappell in Paris, was built during the thirteenth century