The City of Nicosia (Lefkoşa), Cyprus  -


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Nicosia, Cyprus

Lapidary Museum

Lapidary MuseumThis is a museum of stone fragments taken from the demolition of ancient buildings. 

It is situated a few hundred yards from the Selimiye mosque (St. Sophia) and the building is believed to be a Venetian house or could be a renovated mediaeval building. He re one can see pieces of stone work taken from ancient palaces and Gothic churches. 

At present it is being rearranged by the Department of Antiquities. The outstanding exhibit is a magnificent Gothic window from a nearby palace which is shown in fig. 16. This kind of flowing tracery is known as the flamboyant style, and was in common use in the French cathedrals of the 15th century. Mediaeval stone masons were employed by the church usually on a full time basis and they often lampooned bishops, priests, friars and fellow workmen in their stone carving. Notice the stone faces on the left and right side of this window; very often they would represent the reigning king and queen.

The water spout of a cathedral is known as the gargoyle and is the throat into which the roof water pours; hence our word gargle.

The sculptors enjoyed themselves in making gargoyles in the form of monsters, demons or some local character.

One must remember that of all places in a cathedral, the gargoyle got the worst of the weather, so that after several hundred years their stone figures became even more grotesque. (see fig. 17)

In the centre of the courtyard is a large marble carving of the Lion of St. Mark, the main symbol of Venetian rule which is so often seen on the walls of Famagusta and Kyrenia castes.

Many other fragments are lying around, all taken from demolished buildings and it is a reminder that 14th century Nicosia was resplendent with palaces an d churches, so well described by Martoni, an Italian traveller to Cyprus in l394, in the book, "Excerpta Cypria". The Turkish name for this museum is, Taş Eserleri Müzesi  or museum of ancient stones, but in terms of a student of architecture it could be named as a stone mason's laboratory. 


  • Dreghorn, W., The Antiquities of Turkish Nicosia, Rustem Publishers, Nicosia




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