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The Chorography of Venetian Kyrenia (Cirenes) in the Mid-16th Century

Abstract

This paper attempts a description of the fortress and the countryside of Kyrenia in the mid-16th century, based on data found in unpublished archival sources and accompanied by designs and related cartographic materials. The archival sources all come from the State Archive and the libraries of Venice. They include references, reports and correspondences by Venetian officials who served in Cyprus. Ιn particular: a) reports and opinions by Venetian fortification engineers and local officials regarding the needs of the fortress; b) the specific interventions and the work carried out on the existing Byzantine castle which aimed to make Kyrenia into the third fortified defence centre of the island, but which ultimately were not carried out according to plan; and c) the care shown by the Venetians towards the incorporation of the fortress in the island's defence system on the one hand, and its establishment as a stop along commercial shipping routes on the other. The data culled from these archival sources are combined with the descriptions of a fortress-city, with special emphasis on the last period during which Kyrenia's castellan was Zuan Maria Mudazzo, who ceded the fortress to the Turks.

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