The Stones of Famagusta: the Story of a Forgotten City (2008)



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.