St. George of the Greeks Church Ruins

Famagusta, Cyprus

Built beside the small Byzantine church of St. Symeon, the church of St. George was a Orthodox Cathedral. An elegant mix of Gothic and Byzantine styles it was intended to rival its Catholic counterpart. However it was too big, with insufficient buttressing and a roof that was going to be too heavy. The pillars throughout the nave were expanded to take more weight and the roof was inserted with large upturned terracotta pots to spread the load. The church was not in existence long enough to find out if the builders may have eventually got things right. Taking the brunt of the Ottoman bombardment in 1571, evidence of which is still very evident in the remaining walls, the building stood for a little over a hundred years.

There are 15th century fresco fragments clearly visible in the three apses, though these are fading fast and there is no move to preserve them.

St. Symeon is accessible from St. George, it is a church with twin apses and is most notable for being the last resting place in Cyprus of St. Epiphanios one time Bishop of Salamis.

There are two other small churches nearby in what was once the Orthodox quarter of the city, Ayia Zoni, 14th C Byzantine, the church is intact and contains frescoes but is closed to the public. Close to it is another church of the same period, St. Nicholas (not to be confused with the catholic cathedral), a double-aisled church with two semi-circular apses and dome, otherwise a ruin.

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Founded: c. 1300
Category: Ruins in Cyprus

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User Reviews

Peter Počuch (3 years ago)
Z tohto kostolíka veľa neostalo no napriek tomu má svoje kúzlo.
Bernd Frank (3 years ago)
Sehr schöne, alte Ruine
Nathalie Ritzmann (3 years ago)
Les ruines de cette église qui date de la fin du 13ème- début du 14ème siècle sont impressionnantes, surtout la nuit tombée. Camille Enlart, le fameux historien de l'art, a estimé que cette église enchanteresse a la place parfaite entre le passé et le futur de l'île.
Ian Fergusson-Sharp (4 years ago)
St George of the Latins is the remains of one of the earliest churches in Famagusta. It can be found in the northern part of the old city, close to Othello's tower. The exact date of construction is a little vague, but evidence of a crenellated parapet where defenders could protect the church, hints that it was built at a time when the Lusignans had not yet completed the city walls. Its design was supposedly inspired by St Chapelle church in Paris, which was built in 1241. Generally, it is thought that the church was built in the last quarter of the 13th century, using material removed from the Salamis ruins. From inside the church, have a look towards the south west corner. Here you will see the first steps of what was a spiral staircase leading up to the roof. Looking to the north west, you can see the remnants of a guard house with a conical roof and the entrance doorway still visible. Following the line of the roof, you can still see some of the protective wall, complete with arrow slots. It is partially because of these that it is felt that the church was built in the period before the city walls were completed. However, the city walls did not provide complete protection. In common with all the tall buildings in the city, the church suffered damage during the Ottoman siege of 1570, and some of this damage can still be seen on the eastern wall of the church.
Hugo Čejka (5 years ago)
Awesome!
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