Country (filmmakers): Canada & Britain
Country (setting): Northern Cyprus
Country (funding): U.S.A., Republic of Cyprus, North Cyprus
Running Time: 70 minutes
Directors: Dan Frodsham, Allan Langdale
Producers: Allan Langdale, Dan Frodsham, Sanem Sahin
Cinematography: Dan Frodsham
Additional Cinematography: Allan Langdale
Editor: Dan Frodsham
Assistant Editor: Allan Langdale
Scriptwriter: Allan Langdale
Host: Allan Langdale
Grips/Crew: Idowu Sholanke (Nigeria), Isik Atay (Turkey), Alessandro Caciotto (Italy)
Canadian art historian and filmmaker Allan Langdale hops on his bicycle and takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of a remarkable and forgotten city, Famagusta, on the eastern shores of the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. Considered to be the world’s richest city in the 14th century, Famagusta was the center of a French crusader kingdom for three hundred years. Numerous examples of French gothic architecture still stand in the confines of the walled city, whose complete ramparts are among the most impressive in the world. The Venetians also ruled the city before being conquered by the Ottomans and each culture left behind remnants of their magnificent architecture. A Gothic cathedral, like those in Paris or Reims—now with a minaret, sits alongside Ottoman bath houses, Byzantine churches, and Venetian gates and palaces. The city walls themselves, with a dozen enormous bastions and a castle, are one of the most unique and well-preserved examples of medieval and renaissance military architecture.
The story of the city’s meteoric rise to prominence and precipitous collapse into oblivion is told in this film through the architecture of the town’s many conquerors, building to the climax of the famous siege of Famagusta of 1571, when a small group of Venetians held off a massive Ottoman army for almost a year. Today, the picturesque ruins of the vast churches are still riddled with the iron cannon balls fired in that gargantuan conflict.
Famagusta’s two-mile long city walls enclose one of the world’s richest concentrations of historical architecture, and in 2007 the city was placed on the World Monument Fund’s 100 Most Endangered Sites. The film helps focus world attention on these impressive monuments which are little known outside of Cyprus.