Nicosia Municipality - The new fortifications by Julio Savorgnano
The new fortifications by Julio Savorgnano

The new fortifications by Julio Savorgnano


In 1567, the Venetians decided to fortify the city of Nicosia. This time Julio Savorgnano, brother of Ascanio, arrives on the island. Savorgnano is an architect and engineer who designed new fortifications for the city according to contemporary defence methods.

“Savorgnano, who was a man of a lively and understanding spirit, took shipping as soon as ever he had his dispatches. Scarcely was he arrived on the island, but began to surround it, and view those places which most needed to be fortified, with such an exact diligence as answered the good opinion the Senate had of him.”

“He thought at first to build new walls and raise new forts to the city of Nicosia, being the capital of the Kingdom, situated in the midst of the island, and was then about four miles in compass. The Nobility made their usual residence there, the Richest of the inhabitants rendered her the most wealthy and important place of all the country and had she been put in a capacity to sustain a siege, might have proved, by reason of its greatness most commodious for a retreat to the country-people in a time of war. Neither did the change, nor difficulty of the enterprise, which had always deterred the preceding governors, discourage Savorgnano.”

D. B. Lorrini, Delle Fortificationi, Venetia, 1597 AD.

The new walls had the shape of a star with eleven bastions. The heart shape design of the bastion was more suitable for the new artillery available and gave the defenders better control. The walls had only three gates, Kyrenia Gate to the north, Paphos Gate to the west and the largest to the east, Famagusta Gate, also named Porta Julia in honour of the architect.
The new walls of Nicosia were considered the prototype of renaissance military architecture.