Protecting Historic Famagusta, Cyprus

Dr. Michael J. K. Walsh

Located along the busy shipping lanes of the eastern Mediterranean, the Cypriot port of Famagusta rose to prominence following the fall of Acre in 1291, and rivaled Constantinople and Venice as a center of maritime commerce. In the centuries that followed, Famagusta was ruled by a succession of conquerors including French, Greek, Genoese, Venetian, Ottoman, and British, creating an astonishingly varied artistic and architectural legacy. The Historic Walled City of Famagusta was included on the 2008 and 2010 World Monuments Watch, drawing attention to the beauty and significance of the famed city and the critical conservation and maintenance needs to protect the historic structures. In 2008, WMF conducted assessments of key structures in Famagusta and convened a roundtable to better understand conservation efforts undertaken in the recent past, and conservation challenges to be tackled immediately before important resources are lost. WMF supported a condition assessment of murals in six fourteenth-century churches in Famagusta and is currently organizing a conservation program for summer 2012.

Dr. Walsh, an art historian at Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta for nearly a decade, currently teaches at Nanyang Technologoical University in Singapore.