Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The art and architecture of the crusader states
V: The Arts in Cyprus, pp. 165-207 PDF (15.7 MB)
Ch. V CYPRUS: ECCLESIASTICAL ART 177 now the cathedral was begun, and perhaps even before it the church of St. George of the Latins, which may be given the first place in Famagusta's architectural history. The bombardment of 1571 and probably the explosion of some stored ammunition have heaved the debris of its vaults to some distance and left only one wall and part of the apse standing. Much of its excellent masonry is reused classical stone, brought probably from Salamis and reset with the most exact and careful calculation. Only the soundness of the building has allowed this skeleton of an unsupported wall to endure so long. Tile church was a single nave of four bays ending in a three-sided apse; the vaults rose from clusters of three pillars; tile west façade had two turrets, one of which still partially stands, rising little above the level of the roof, though on Gibellino's drawing of the siege (1571)10 the southern tower, of which there is now no trace, seems to have risen somewhat higher. The capitals of tile columns, which still retain much of the sharpness of their cutting, have double rows of naturalistic foliage in which oak leaves figure prominently; in one instance, instead of leaves, tile sculptor has carved a swarm of bats. The north porch has a pointed gable, filled with a large trefoil and ornamented with curving crotchets. The corbeling of the tower has a pair of fighting animals (pl. LXb), a reminder of the many classical carvings that, as well as squared building stone, must have been brought from Salamis to Famagusta (a fragment of such a frieze lies in front of tile cathedral); the gargoyles of tile apse are human figures, very sensitively carved, and belonging to the same type as those of Hagia Sophia. No documents date the building, but it is the work of highly skilled masons, contemporary with the cathedral, if not the prototype for it, and must therefore belong to the early years of the fourteenth century. To the west and the south of the cathedral two large churches are still standing, that of St. Peter and St. Paul and the Greek cathedral of St. George. Tile identification of the former was made by Enlart on the basis of Gibellino's drawing and cannot be considered as certain. It was built, Estienne de Lusignan states, under Peter I by a wealthy merchant, Simon Nostrano. Tile design and a Syriac inscription found on the walls in 1939 suggest it must have belonged to one of the eastern churches, and possibly Nostrano should read Nestorano: this would then be the Nestorian church built by the 10. Stephano Gibellino,. . Il Ritratto della celebre cità di Famagosta. . . (Brescia, 1571), reproduced in Enlart, L'Art gothique, II, pl. XXI.
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