Othello’s Tower (the Citadel)
Part of the famous walls of Famagusta, Othello’s Tower was built in the 14th century by the Lusignans, in order to protect the harbour and used to serve as one of the main enterances to the city of Famagusta.
The tower was named during the Birtish reign after Shakespeare’s “Othello“, a play that refers to “a port in Cyprus”, and “Cyprus, the Citadel”.
There is a sculpture of the St Mark Lion above the main entrance along with the name of Nicolo Foscari, the Venetian captain who remodelled the tower in 1492.
Surrounded by a deep moat, the castle consists of towers and corridors leading to artillery chambers. There are also old cannons lying on the ground in the courtyard, as well as iron and stone cannon balls lying about, some belonging to the Ottoman and some to the Spanish. In addition, there is a chapel and subterranean rooms used as prison.
Steps from the courtyard go up to the battlements, where one can get beautiful views of the harbour, across which one can see a clump of rocks where there was a chain tower. The chain could be lowered across the harbour entrance in order to protect it.
The large vaulted hall in the courtyard, supposedly used as a dining room by the Lusignans, dates back to about 1300 and is hugely constructed with a vaulted roof supported by tall Gothic arches.
The courtyard and the vaulted hall are still frequently used for several art and culture activities and some festivals are organized here.