This 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.
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
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.
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.
W., The Antiquities of Turkish Nicosia, Rustem