North Cyprus  

Martinengo Bastion
The bastion was built by the Venetian architect Giovanni San Micheli  between 1550-1559. With its triangular design it is one of the good examples of military architecture. 

In its vaulted chambers there are chimneys for gunpowder smoke to escape and for ventilation to take place. On its walls there are niches for gunpowder barrels and cannon balls. When commander Martinengo, the popular commander of the Venetian reinforcement troops to Cyprus, dies on the way, he is brought to Cyprus and his name is given to this bastion.

The Martinengo Bastion is one of the finest examples of military architecture in Mediterranean lands. With its immense size, covering more than one square mile, and even today, in modern warfare, would make a superb defence point for the town. It is comparable with the French forts built just before the first World War at Verdun. 

What prompted the Venetians to build such a huge fort here? Perhaps they feared an army landing on the beach outside the harbour and attacking inland. The Italian architect who built this fort, San Micheli, did not complete the job until I 559. He knew how vulnerable angular corners to a bastion would be, but by way of compensation he constructed two cannon flankers on either side of the triangular fort. With two on the other side, the moat was covered with a field of fire. The flanker gunports are the largest along the entire walls for here the biggest guns were installed.

Undoubtedly, the most impressive view of the Martinengo Bastion is from the moat, but if you want to explore the top, then it is bit of a walk back to the inside of the town where the approach must be made. From the top there are passageways leading down to the gun flankers and around you will see many vent holes to allow the smoke from below to escape. 

Martinengo Bastion

Plan of the Martinengo Bastion 

The maximum thickness of the walls is 20 feet (6 m.), and all built of stone masonry, in contrast to the modern forts of reinforced concrete. The sketch plan of the entire fort is shown in figure here and what a valuable gift it would have been to the Ottoman commander in I 570, but to his military credit he decided not to attack strong points like this. In fact this was the general policy of Ottoman Turks in the field, not to attack these highly fortified bastions, but to lead an attack on the weak in-between areas along the walls.


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  From: W. Dreghorn, (1985), 'Famagusta and Salamis Guide Book', Published by K. Rustem & Bro., London.