The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste: A unique wallpainting fragment preserved through international co-operation
The foundations of the church of Saints Peter and Paul were probably laid in the Lusignan reign of Peter 1 (1358-1369) and funded by one third of the profits made on a single trip to Syria by a merchant of Famagusta, Simon Nostrano. After 1571 it was transformed into a mosque qhich is why the structure is still almost completely intact, though at the same time the interiors would have been plastered and the paintings hidden. The wall plastering and decoration was then lost permanently when the building was 'cleaned' during the British period and used as a storage space. The fragment depicting the Forty Martyrs survived because it was hidden by the mimbar ( a pulpit for the delivery of sermons) which was built against the wall. In recent years the monument has served as a library and concert hall ,which might soon be used as a municipal museum.