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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume IV: The art and architecture of the Crusader states

V: The arts in Cyprus,   pp. 165-207 PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 174

the boy king, John I, in 1285. The only remaining fragment of the thirteenth-century
Gothic style, as it is found in the choir and nave of Hagia Sophia, is the
much rebuilt inner aisle in the complex of buildings now known as the Bedestan.
 The building activities of the turn of the century have left more trace.
From the fall of Acre in 1291 to the coup d'etat against Henry II in 1308,
Cyprus enjoyed a period of comparative peace. The church begun by Henry II
for the nuns of Our Lady of Tyre, a Jerusalem foundation, illustrates the
position that the island now held as a place of refuge for the Latin east.
The abbess, Margaret of Ibelin, remained a loyal supporter of their benefactor,
and the nunnery was the scene of a riotous attack at the time of the murder
of Henry's usurping brother Amalric, the titular prince of Tyre. These events
left the building incomplete; it remains today, if the proposed identification
with the church of the Armenians is accepted, a building of one vaulted bay
and a polygonal choir, roughly completed by a section with a barrel vault
and no windows. The tufted, flat-leafed foliage of the capitals of the south
door, now used as a window, comprises early examples of the popular Cypriote
 The period from the restoration of Henry II to the Genoese war of 1373 was
the most prosperous and splendid of medieval Cyprus, though the foreign schemes
of Peter I diverted resources from undertakings at home, and in Nicosia it
is John del Conte's porch that sets the main features of the style of the
century. Its structurally somewhat conservative Gothic, and elaborately ornamented
door ways with friezes and capitals of luxuriant foliage, recur in the pleasant
so-called church of St. Catherine (Haidar Pasha mosque), in the ruined fragment
of the Yeni Jami (unidentified), in the porch of the Augustinian church (Omerieh
mosque), and in its fullest elaboration, with an Italianate but provincial
dryness of symmetrical design, in the rebuilt' doorway ascribed by Enlart
to St. George of the Latins but more likely always, as now, the doorway of
a bath. 
 It is, however, in the building known as the Bedestan, on the south side
of the cathedral parvis, that its influence is most clearly marked. Little
is known of its history, but in the fifteenth century it was in the hands
of the Greek Orthodox church. At some period after the conquest it was relegated
to secular usage as a storehouse and market (bedestan). Recently it has been
partially restored and the west end freed of some small shops built against
it. Of its curious complex of four aisles, ribbed vaults, and dome, it is
the two southern aisles that seem the earliest work. The nave, north aisle,
and dome were added 

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