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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 176

were sacrificed in the demolitions of 1567. The simpler existence of a Cypriote
bishop, even of one of great family, can be seen in the inventory of Guy
of Ibelin, bishop of Limassol from 1357 to 1367. At the time of his death
much of the furniture of his palace and even his miters and crosses had been
pledged for loans, and his house at Nicosia, either from necessity or as
befitting a member of the Dominican order, was sparsely furnished with rugs
and cushions in the oriental manner.9 Here and there in the town there are
fine doorways reflecting the same mixture of French Gothic, Italian Renaissance,
and Catalan styles as exists in the churches. A fine flamboyant window, coming
from the doorway arch of a palazzo used by the Turks as the Serail and pulled
down early in this century, is preserved in the museum, and in its almost
exaggerated richness is an eloquent example of Cypriote taste (pl. LVIIIa).
 For a time, but only for a time, the prosperity of Nicosia was excelled
by that of Famagusta. Today the two cities harbor their memories in very
different ways. In each the Gothic cathedral rises high above the town, but
while in Nicosia the streets are still full and lively, the old buildings
submerged by later work, in Famagusta the new town has grown up outside the
circuit of the ancient walls, within which a small Turkish village spreads
its houses and streets among the ruins and still uses the great cathedral
for its local mosque. From the ramparts this graveyard of churches, whose
foreign style seems emphasized by the palms growing among them, is an unforgettable
spectacle. Something of its recent strange remote ness has gone, for the
wartime revival of Famagusta as a port brought intruding sheds and storehouses
within the circuit, and a new prosperity has come to the old village, bringing
fresh building and fresh activities, which the Department of Antiquities,
for all its excellent work, has not been able entirely to control. 
 But Famagusta is still one of the most moving of the dead cities of the
Middle Ages. It had but a brief life and its splendor was the ostentation
of a sudden, ill-starred prosperity. The fall of Acre made it the Christian
mart of the eastern Mediterranean, and a small Byzantine town, originally
peopled by refugees from Salamis, rapidly became a Gothic city. The Franks
had previously done little to it: 
 9. J. Richard, "Un Evêque d'Orient latin au XIVe siècle: Guy
d'Ibelin, O. P., évêque de Limassol, et l'inventaire de ses
biens (1367)," Bulletin de correspondance hellenique, 
LXXIV (1950), 98-133. 

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