The Harbour of All This Sea and Realm: Crusader to Venetian Famagusta

The Harbour of All This Sea and Realm: Crusader to Venetian Famagusta

The Harbour of All This Sea and Realm: Crusader to Venetian Famagusta

The Harbour of All This Sea and Realm: Crusader to Venetian Famagusta

Synopsis

The Harbour of All This Sea and Realm offers an overview of the Lusignan, Genoese and Venetian history of the main port city of Cyprus, a Mediterranean crossroads. The essays contribute to the understanding of Famagusta’s social and administrative structure, as well as the influences on its architectural, artisan, and art historical heritage from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries. We read of crusader bishops from central France, metalworkers from Asia Minor, mercenaries from Genoa, refugees from Acre, and traders from Venice. The themes of the city’s diasporas and cultural hybridity permeate and unify the essays in this collaborative effort.

Some of the studies use archival sources to reconstruct the early stages of appearances of various buildings. Such research is of vital importance, given the threat to Famagusta’s medieval and early modern heritage by its use as a military base since 1974.

Excerpt

The scale of preserving the remaining historic elements of Famagusta is of such
enormous proportions that one almost does not know where to begin. There can be
little doubt that the Historic Walled city of Famagusta is a first-rate historic site
and one that ultimately should be listed as a World Heritage Site. It is hoped that
a new interim status in the unesco designation system can be formulated, but
it is likely that until the current political situation is resolved, little can be done
for most of the structures…It is therefore of vital importance to increase the world’s
awareness of the special qualities of Famagusta and to lay the necessary ground
work for an appropriate evolution of the city from an isolated gem to an accessible,
well protected, historic urban site
.

The powerful words in the epigraph were written by inspectors from the USbased World Monuments Fund (hereafter: WMF) who visited Famagusta after the Historic Walled City was placed on its international Watch List of Endangered Sites in 2008. Six years after these words were written however little has changed as, for the same political reasons, Famagusta remains ineligible to apply for unesco World Heritage Site status, and cannot realistically implement a workable Master Plan without external support. in 2010, the year the city was listed by wmf for a second time, a tantalizing glimpse of what the future might hold was offered by a European Union funded United Nations Development Program—Partnership For the Future (UNDPPFF) project entitled Study for Cultural Heritage in Cyprus. This was a major undertaking to create an inventory of cultural heritage sites throughout Cyprus, and was particularly important for the Walled City of Famagusta as the organizers, from the

R. Silman, and K. Severson, The Historic Walled City of Famagusta (2008), 9.

One such plan was drawn up in 2006, entitled Famagusta Walled City Revitalization Plan and had backing from the undp, pff, unops, the eu and the Famagusta Municipality.

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