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Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
 
 
 
 
 
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HISTORY OF FAMAGUSTA

Nicolai de Marthono. Notarti Liber Peregrinationis ad Loca Sancta

Famagusta by A. M. Myller, from the book “Peregrinus in Jerusalem, 1735”, Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Cyprus

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Of the building of the city of Famagosta

One part of this city of Famagosta is close to the sea, and another larger part is away from the sea : it is encompassed with very fine ditches built throughout. The whole city, or at least its walls, are based on stone as hard as marble, so that it cannot possibly be hewn out : and in the city on the seaside is an arsenal, large and fine like that of Naples. Formerly, that is a hundred years ago, the city was set elsewhere, and stood where is a place named Constanza, four miles from Famagosta. The city was then called Constanza from a king Constantius, father of the blessed Catherine, who built it. It was two miles from the sea, and had no harbour. And when Acre was lost, which was the last place in Syria lost by the Christians, all the people who escaped from Acre fled to the island of Cyprus, and then that ancient city Constanza was removed to the place where is now Famagosta.

Of the women's dress

And hence comes a custom that all women, as well of that town of Famagosta as of the other towns of the island, wear black mantles on their heads so that their faces can hardly be seen. And this custom began and has been followed on account of the sorrow and dire grief for the loss of that city of Acre and other cities of Syria, and the greater part of the city of Famagosta was made up of the people of Acre.

Of the bad air

Between the city of Famagosta and the ancient city of Constantia is a large marsh, which seems like an arm of the sea. And it is held that on account of that marsh, and the great number of courtesans, a bad air affects the men who dwell in that city.

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