posted 03-08-2003 06:54 AM
Does any know where I can find more info on the Lusignan Castles of Nicosia. The only good info I can find on the moment are articles of newspapers like:
And I would like to know something more (like plans or pictures of the excavations etc), so if some one can help I would be very thankful.
Text of the article of the link above:
Crusader palace unearthed
From correspondents in Nicosia
WORKERS clearing the site for a new town hall for the Cypriot capital stumbled across the remains of a massive Crusader palace dating from the early 13th century, archaeologists believe.
"It's not every day you find a royal palace," a jubilant Pavlos Flourentzos, curator of antiquities, said.
"This is a rare find in the context of mediaeval Cyprus, it is very important because in all probability we have discovered the first Lusignan palace," he said.
The French Lusignan dynasty ruled Cyprus from 1192 to 1489, and the palace was completed in 1211.
When signs of ruins emerged as bulldozers in Nicosia began work to clear a former car park and outdoor market area, an excavation team was hastily sent in with a two-week mission to collect evidence and prove the site should be preserved.
They have so far uncovered the remains of a four-metre high wall, fragments of a fresco, a rusty sword, some pottery and a few Lusignan coins.
"What we do not know is how the palace looked at that time or how big it was.
"We are expecting to find out more as we dig deeper, clean the walls and reach down to the floors," Flourentzos explained.
The Lusignans built three king-size palaces in Cyprus during their three-centuries rule, but the location of the first and how it looked were a centuries-old mystery.
Of the second palace all that remains is a Gothic-style chamber room now used for receptions and concerts.
The third, located in what is now Turkish-held north Nicosia, was demolished by the British mandate rulers in 1904 because it was on the verge of collapse.
At the site itself scores of archaeologists are sifting through the soil. In one corner workers are excavating what they believe to be the main building, while elsewhere patches of crumbling ruins suggest a large and impressive network of structures.
"We are not sure whether the other walls are the external part of the palace or a different structure, it will take years to unravel what is really here," site manager Yiannis Violaris said.
Nevertheless, the main wall in the northern part of the plot bears the scars of fire damage, evidence of its sacking and torching by the Genoese in 1373, as noted in historical records.
At the time, the Genoese were competing with the Venetians for commercial and political dominance in the region. Though they did not remain in Nicosia, where Lusignan rule continued, they took over the important commercial coastal city of Famagusta and held it until 1464, when the Lusignan King James II retook it.
King Richard I of England, known as the Lion Heart, who led several Crusader campaigns in the Middle East, had captured Cyprus in 1191 on his way to the Third Crusade.
The next year, he offered the island to his French ally Guy de Lusignan, who reigned over Jerusalem before its capture by the Arab leader Saladin.
De Lusignan moved to Cyprus where he laid the foundations of a feudal monarchy that survived for three centuries and then was ceded to the Venetians.
Under the Lusignan reign the island remained a base for counterattacks against the Muslims.
Among the well-known members of the dynasty was Peter I, who lived in the Nicosia palace and ruled from 1359-1369. He led some successful campaigns in the Middle East, but came to a tragic end when he was assassinated in his bedroom by discontented nobles.
Cyprus, which over the centuries has been ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottoman Turks, is a minefield of historical relics.
Ruins often emerge at the start of a construction project, forcing a redesign or sometimes a relocation.
"If the new municipal building and the antiquities cannot co-exist then the town hall will have to go elsewhere," said Flourentzos.