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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The art and architecture of the crusader states

V: The Arts in Cyprus,   pp. 165-207 PDF (15.7 MB)

Page 175

at a later date, possibly when it was adapted for the Greek rite; a capital
of the nave is carved with two hands giving the Greek gesture of blessing.
On the exterior of the north wall are three doorways, of which the central
one, blocked up with carefully fitted masonry, is the earliest. The small
relief of the Dormition of the Virgin set in the lintel has escaped mutilation,
but a well-carved figure on the keystone of the arch, which resembles a similarly
placed figure on the Carmelite church at Famagusta, has been decapitated.
The eastern of the three doors has a recessed porch of five orders carved
with thick crinkled foliage; on either side are two shallow recesses above
which hands hold crowns, copied, somewhat heavily, from those of Hagia Sophia.
On the lintel is the figure of a saint holding a book, identified by the
eighteenth-century traveler Giovanni Mariti as St. Nicholas;8 from this the
Bedestan has sometimes been thought to be the church of St. Nicholas belonging
to the order of St. Thomas of Canterbury and mentioned in fourteenth-century
documents. The third doorway is modeled on the west door of St. Catherine's.
The whole north wall seems to have been increased from its original thickness,
and it is possible that all three doors are additions, brought from destroyed
churches, possibly in 1567, possibly after the conquest when the Greek church
in contrast to the Latin enjoyed a measure of patronage from the occupying
Turks. To complete this strange, confusing history, a door from the west
fa├žade was moved during some clearance work in 1906 to the gardens
of the then Government House. A second western door has now been revealed
by the demolition of a shop. Whatever its history, the decorative motifs
of the Bedestan present, along with genuinely Gothic features, a truly Cypriote
blend of elaborate, somewhat debased detail, where late Gothic and Renaissance
elements meet and intermingle. Similar patterns can be seen in the church
of the Panagia Chrysolaniotissa, traditionally said to have been founded
by Helena Palaeologina, wife of John II, in the mid-fifteenth century but
now much rebuilt, and again in the Orthodox cathedral, which is probably
on the site of the church of the Hospital. 
 The splendor and luxury of Nicosia did not, however, consist in its ecclesiastical
buildings only. The royal palace, adjoining the church of St. Dominic, seemed
to travelers the finest in the world. Its great throne room, its balconies,
its golden ornaments, its tapestries, pictures, organs, and clocks, its baths,
gardens, and menageries suggest the most sumptuous of medieval residences.
All the buildings 
8. Mariti, Viaggi per l'isola di Cipro, I, 99. 

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