Facts and history of the creation of architecture in Cyprus

The architecture reflects the ancient and rich history of Cyprus, and among the monotonous modern buildings you can find true diamonds.

The remains of Neolithic settlements, Bronze Age tombs, ruins of ancient buildings (including Byzantine basilicas), medieval castles, churches and monasteries are found on the island. Mosques and caravanserais remind of the times of Ottoman rule, the British left buildings in the colonial style. Nowadays, rural residents, in the mountainous areas of the island, still live in old stone houses.

Ancient architecture The Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantines who ruled Cyprus left behind numerous buildings. Archaeologists have found the cities of Kourion, Amathus, Kition, Soloi, Salamis and Paphos with their temples, theaters, basilicas, thermae and palaces. Among the ancient ruins you can find fragments of old fortress walls, sports facilities. Some ancient Roman amphitheaters are still used for various performances and festivals.

The Palaestra in Salamis is surrounded by a colonnade and sculptures. Athletes’ trainings and sports competitions were held here.

Medieval architecture During the 300 years when Cyprus was ruled by Crusaders and Lusignans, many churches were built, including the rich cathedrals in Famagusta and Nicosia. Charming village churches, chapels, Gothic monasteries and castles appeared. The Venetians, who dominated the island for more than 80 years, created magnificent rings of defensive walls around Nicosia and Famagusta, whose power restrained the attacks of the armies of the Ottoman Empire for almost a year.

Bellapais, with the ruins of a Gothic abbey, attracts tourists with its impressive architecture. An international music Festival takes place here every spring. Muslim architecture When the army of Selim II captured Cyprus, new structures appeared on the island, including Turkish mosques (minarets were often attached to Gothic cathedrals), Turkish baths, caravanserais and covered markets. Buyuk Khan in North Nicosia is an example of an Ottoman-era caravanserai, with a meschit (prayer hall) in the courtyard.

Hala Sultan Tekke is the holiest place for Muslims in all of Cyprus. Consisting of a mosque and a mausoleum with the tomb of Umm Haram, the aunt of the Prophet Mohammed. The British rule in the XVII-XIX centuries was marked by the appearance of the colonial style in the architecture of churches, administrative and public buildings. Representatives of the British administration were fans of the ancient Greek classical style. According to their orders, projects and at their expense, many buildings in the neoclassical style were built. Phaneromeni School in South Nicosia in the neoclassical style. In 1852, when it was founded, it was assumed that in this way the students would be connected with their ancient Greek roots.

Modern architecture After Cyprus gained independence in 1960, the architecture of public buildings, such as city halls, offices, banks and hotels, became modern and functional. For the most part, such structures were erected in Limassol, which became the international business center of the island. At the same time, most modern houses are not of architectural value.

Traditional houses For centuries, village houses in Cyprus, especially in its mountainous areas, were built of stone, which allowed them to keep cool in summer and warm in winter. Although some new buildings imitate the traditional style, most of them are constructed of cinder block and reinforced concrete.