Saint Peter and Paul Church (Sinan Pasha Mosque), Famagusta: A Forgotten Gothic Moment in Northern Cyprus
Inferno, Volume IX, 2004
When Pope Urban II called the Council of Clermont in 1095, and in so doing ordered the start of the Crusades to the Holy Land, it was neither obvious nor predictable what the consequences for Cyprus might be. Within a century the island had been gifted to the French and thus embarked on a millennium which subjected the indigenous population, by way of commerce and occupation, to Lusignan, Venetian, Genoan, Ottoman and British sociopolitical influence. As a consequence there remains today a cultural and aesthetic eclecticism which manifests itself in the rich juxtaposition of styles and influences apparent in the buildings which stand as the monolithic legacies of these ideological rivalries and power struggles. Lawrence Durrell, one of the islands most celebrated literary residents, succinctly described this phenomenon in the 1950s:
Different invasions weathered and eroded it [Cyprus], piling monument upon monument. The contentions of monarchs and empires have stained it with blood, have wearied and refreshed its landscape repeatedly with mosques and cathedrals and fortresses. In the ebb and flow of histories and cultures it has time and time again been a flashpoint where Aryan and Semite, Christian and Mosiem (sic), met in a death embrace.