Built by the Lusignans in the
12th century to protect the harbour, city and sea-gate, this
citadel is perhaps the most well-known element within Famagusta
city walls. Originally surrounded by a moat, the Venetian Nicolo
Foscarini transformed it (it is said that Leonardo de Vinci
assisted in its design) into an artillery stronghold in 1492,
making alterations similar to those at Girne castle. However,
the present day name of the tower came into use during the
British colonial period, based on the Shakespearean play in
which Othello the Moor was a Venetian commander, sent to Cyprus
by his masters.
Once inside the citadel,
you will be amazed at the size of the courtyard, where you can
still see Ottoman and Spanish cannons alongside piles of iron
cannon balls and stone balls used for catapults, as well as a
huge 28m long refectory and large rooms on the level above.
This courtyard is often the setting for local folk-dancing
performances which makes a stunning backdrop.