Othello’s Tower

Historic Site in Famagusta (Gazimağusa)

An extension of the Old Town’s walls, Othello’s Tower was constructed during Lusignan rule, in order to protect the harbour. In 1492 the Venetians further fortified the citadel and transformed it into an artillery stronghold.

In 2014 the building underwent a €1 million restoration carried out by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. The restoration has sensitively preserved the tower's once-crumbling stonework.

The tower’s name stems from a vague link to Shakespeare’s play Othello, which has a modest stage note referring to ‘a seaport in Cyprus’. Above the citadel’s impressive entrance you’ll see the Venetian Lion inscribed by its architect, Nicolò Foscarini. Leonardo da Vinci also apparently advised on the refurbishment of the tower during his visit to Cyprus in 1481.

The mix of Venetian and Lusignan architecture inside is a prime highlight of a visit here. The internal courtyard is bordered by the Great Hall, with beautiful vaults and corroded sandstone walls on its far side. Ventilation shafts look out to the border ramparts, leading to Lusignan corridors and sealed chambers. Legend has it that fortunes still lie hidden here, buried by Venetian merchants in the face of the advancing Ottomans.

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