Nicosia Municipality - Nicosia seen by travelers
Nicosia seen by travelers

Nicosia seen by travelers


Travellers between 17th and 19th century

1619
“The city is very large, round in shape, fortified with eleven bastions and surrounded with a broad ditch. In size and situation it is certainly the chief city of the island, but is full of ruins, squalid and defenceless, for the walls are breached or decayed, and could not withstand a regular attack or siege. The Pedeus, a torrent, flows by.”
 
Cotovicus Joannes, Itinerarium Hierosolymitarum et Syriacum in quo variarum gentium mores et instituta... recensentur, Venete, 1619, p104.
 
1723
“The town was very beautiful under the Venetians but there is no ordinary Venetian architecture as can be seen from the remains. When the invaders conquered (in 1571) they destroyed everything, razing beautiful houses and palaces. And more splendid still is the Church of Sainte Sophia, converted into a mosque.”
 
Basil Grigorovitch Barsky, Travels 1723-1747, St. Petersburg, 1885-7.
 
1800
“The ramparts of the Venetian fortifications of Lefkosia exist in tolerable preservation; but the ditch is filled up, and there is no appearance of their having been a covert way. There are thirteen bastions; the ramparts are lofty and solid, with orillons and retired flanks. There is a large church converted into a mosque, and still bearing, like the great mosque at Constantinople, the Greek name S. Sophia: it is said to have been built by Justinian…
“The flat roofs, trellised windows and light balconies of the better order of houses, situated as they are in the midst of gardens of oranges and lemons, give together with the fortifications, a respectable and picturesque appearance to Lefkosia at a little distance…”
 
Written by William Martin Leake who visited Cyprus in 1800. This is a study from the book by Robert Walpole, Travels in Various Countries of the East; Being a Continuation of Memoirs Relating to European and Asiatic Turkey, London 1818.
 
1849
“At the time of our visit, however, the town did not contain more than thirty thousand souls, eighteen thousand of whom were Christians, and the rest Mahometans. Under these unfavourable circumstances, many noble mansions, fit to be used as palaces for princes, are uninhabited, and neglected and fast falling to ruins. This is much to be regretted in a town where everything is favourable to man: the atmosphere clear and healthy; the soil productive, living cheap, and many yet untried resources of wealth and commerce.”
 
Extract from: Home Friend, a Weekly Miscellany of Amusement and Instruction, Vol. IV, No. 86, circa 1849-50.