The Medieval Walls that still surround the old city of Lefkosia (Nicosia) were built by the Venetians in the 16th century. Forming a circle, the walls are fortified by eleven heart-shaped bastions and protected by an 80-metre wide moat. They were built of mud brick, with only the lower part buttressed by stone. When the Ottomans occupied Lefkosia, they repaired the walls and covered the upper part with stones.
The original walls were built in the 14th century by the Franks and enclosed a much larger area. When the Venetians occupied Cyprus, they decided to demolish the Frankish walls as their old age meant that they did not offer adequate defences against new weapons of the time, such as artillery. The Frankish walls were also too big to be manned by the Venetian army, and too close to the hills in the east and southeast of the city.
Today, the moat around the walls has many different uses – as sports fields, public gardens, an open-air sculpture exhibition, car park, and other uses.
Courtesy of the CTO