Cyprus Passion

Saint Nicholas cathedral is located in the occupied area of Famagusta and was built around 1298 and 1312. The style of the cathedral is Gothic and actually follows the architectural plan of the Reims Cathedral in France.

This was the Cathedral that the Frankish Kings were going for the ceremonial coronation of becoming Kings. Later during the 14th century 2 chapels were built, one on the north and the other on the south side. Also, in the 16th century another addition was built, a rectangle room was added to the south side of the cathedral’s garden. This building was covered in groin vaults.

The interior of the cathedral was divided into 3 aisles, 2 rows of six cylindrical columns that flank the central aisle. At the end of the aisle is a polygon aps and there you can see two square towers adorning the façade. On the top part of the façade there was a huge pointed window which was decorated with carved floral motifs. However, on the North and South wall there were windows with simple openings and of course the pointed ends we showcased with these too.

The whole entire building was once covered with pointed domes that were formed by pointed groin vaults that’s started from the building’s columns. Inside the Cathedral it had paintings which were destroyed during by the Ottomans during the change of the Cathedral to a Mosque. This happened in 1571 and the Cathedral received a white wash and the addition of a minaret was built. The sculptures were destroyed, some traces of the paintings on the wall were still visible even though they were destroyed. Even the crucifix was destroyed in the conversion. The sained glass was also destroyed but fragments were preserved of the gorgeous stained glass on the south aisle.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral Famagusta

With the conversion came change. Christian relics were destroyed and Islamic relics and attitudes were imprinted on the interior.  This change lasted while the Ottoman occupation lasted which was up to 1878, then the British took over.

The Cathedral remains in the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus in Famagusta and the church has suffered many changes and damages over the years. It currently remains as a Mosque, is active as a Mosque and is also known as the Notre Dame of Cyprus.

You may also find this Cathedral mentioned in works of literature like the ‘Kuraj’ written by the Italian writer Silvia Di Natale, or ‘Sunrise’ by the British author Victoria Hislop.

This grand structure is magnificent and stands tall and proud of its history.

Read also