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Architecture & History – Nicosia Eagleeye Boutique Hotel
Architecture & History

Nicosia Eagle Eye Boutique Hotel

City Of Nicosia


“ A further requisite when choosing a site for the founding of a city (Nicosia) is this, that it must charm its inhabitants by its beauty. A spot where life is pleasant will not easily be abandoned nor will men commonly by ready to flock to unpleasant places, since the life of man cannot endure without enjoyment…However if a country is too beautiful, it will draw men to indulge in pleasures, and this is most harmful to a city”

St Tomas Aquinas, De Regno, Ad Regem Cypri.

The social construction of Nicosia as a city dates back to the Byzantine period, Nicosia had probably become the center of administration and the island’s capital in either the 9th or the 10th century, had acquired a castle and was the seat of the Byzantine governor of Cyprus.

It is important to also understand the daily life of the city in its history, so that we can understand this building better. People’soccupations, their social behaviours, opinions, religion and even the language they spoke in the cities history all relate to what this building may have been as the combination of all these, created a‘the culture’ that designated and reflectedthe city, its living quarters, occupations thus the buildings.

In the 13th century, one of the most significant historical chapters was written for Nicosia. Guy de Lusignan purchased the island and subsequently they established the medieval Kingdom of Cyprus. What we see mostly today as historic building starts from this period onwards to the 16th-18th century Ottomans and also later to the 18th 19th centuries including the British mandate. However the old city is based on the Lusignan design and the 13th century ideas.

The 13th century is described as “ Conflict, cultural and religious domination, and the imposed foundation of an implanted Gothic feudal, part operate.” In the 13th century Nicosia, one encounters polemical life of two cities; Pre-existing Greco-Byzantine and newly founded Franco-Gothic – developing, adjoined or even superimposed on one another, in an incompatible fashion. The fall of Acra in 1267 AD and the Crusador Kingdoms of Holy Land in 1291 AD resulted I major alterations in ethnic, cultural, architectural and urban makeup of the city.

The foundation’s of the Nicosia during the Byzantine, superimposed by Lusignan and later by Venetians and Ottomans can bee seen in many building/monuments. Buyuk Hammam is a good example of all these and it was not an individual case. So how do we go about finding information about the history of Eagle eye building? For this we studied the historic maps, and read narratives of the travellers, and used scholarly publications as valuable resources.

Ornamented stone, Eagle Eye Boutique Hotel
Ornamented stone, Eagle Eye Boutique Hotel
BuyukHamam detail of an archway
BuyukHamam detail of an archway

Windows and ornamented stone work

Our researches showed certain distinct high small windows with iron grills indicate a certain security or protection need. Therefore

the building could have been merchants  warehouse / mansion or even a  church or a monastery.  The decorated stones are on the odd part of the building which indicates reuse. Weather it was reused from other building of religious or prestige importance or if the building  itself  was rebuilt after many conflicts in the city we do not know. What we now is that the decorated stone ornament of the building is a significant decoration belonging to a building of high standing value. Same decorations can be seen in many religious and palace buildings in Nicosia and elsewhere in Cyprus. In Nicosia, Buyuk Hamam which was a small Byzantine church has similar decorations.

Genoese Housein the Genoese Quarter

The Venetians assumed an increasing significant presence in the cities of Cyprus already in the 13th century. The Republic’s merchants were granted special privileges, and in the decades during and following the fall of the Crusader Kingdoms, Venice established a flourishing community in Famagusta, the wealthy new emporium of the Eastern Mediterranean. While as early as the 13th century the Venetians possessed a church or quarter in Nicosia dedicated to St. Nicolas, apart from its loggia attested to in 1310, few other clues lead to a localisation of the Serenissima’s presence. Engraved on the surviving medieval tombstones in the Arab Ahmet mosque are names of prominent Veneto families. Francesco Cornar (1390), Antonio de Bergamo (1394), and Gaspar Mavroceni (1402) among them.

The Genoese quarter could be localised North East of this church (now Arab Ahmet mosque) indicating location of the Eagle Eye Butique Hotel .

 “ Adjoining the Mevlevi Tekke the ruins of a large house, now cut up into squalid tenements, is still known as “The Spitia Genovese”.

Most Genoese property in Nicosia was looted in retaliation for the city’s sack by the Genoese army in 1373. However the Genoese community re-established itself quickly, presumably in its pre-existing neighbourhoods, which it held until the city’s fall in 1570.

Already in 1218 Genoa obtained privileges from Regent Alice, and Henry I gave the Genoese in 1234 certain houses in Nicosia, located ante via publica et flumen publicum, as well as a bathhouse, a structure attested to again in 1249. Genoese wanted the exclusive use of one day a week of this bathhouse, probably Genoese desired the use of a chosen bathhouse because it was the nearest or within to their quarter – This bathhouse was by the riverbed west of the present Eagle Eye Hotel building.

Eagle Eye Boutique Hotel high windows
Eagle Eye Boutique Hotel high windows
High windows Nicosia defensive walls
High windows Nicosia defensive walls

Square of the Pisans (Dr. Kucuk Meydani)

One of the most important feature of the building is its location. It is near the main entry route to the city from the north, what is today called the Kyrenia Gate. What is more fascinating is the Square of the Pisans ( from Pisa in Tuscany in Italy) of the 13th and 14th centuries (1330 AD) is almost maintained today as the Dr. Kucuk Meydani, Dr. Kucuk Square. Pisans were merchants and were given many privilages to live in Cyprus.

Pisans and Florentines. Was this building a Bank?

 Just north of Spitia Genovese, near the later Porta Del Provedditore of renaissance fortification (Kyrenia Gate), an open space was surviving in the 16th century named Piazza dei Pisani. Could this be the core around which Pisan community of the city originally settled? Pisan community enjoyed many privilages in the cities of the island. Pisans Tuscan rivals, Florence, also had connections to Nicosia as early as 1300s.  Numerous citizens of the capital borrowed and lent large amounts to the Florentine banking houses of Peruzzi ad Mozzi between the years 1299 and 1301. Florentine Bankers and traders were verysuccessful in their commercial goals. The story of an unnamed lady “the daughter of Babylon” , includes her elaborate entertainment, both in Paphos, and at the royal court in Nicosia.


As a summary, we understand from the evidences that the area was a Genoese and possibly Pisan and Florentin area. Given privilages of commerce, a bath complex and housing and commercial areas, the valuable goods, money lending or borrowing required a commercial building or and a house to live in with high walls and protected windows. It will not be wrong to suggest that the building today with possibly Byzantine roots but most definitely dating to the Lusignan period had Genovese or Pisan residents. No doubt the Venetian and Ottoman developments were added to this building as the history dictates. The square nearby, named after the Pisans and now Dr. Kucuk is a strong evidence of  strng social structure that stayed intact until today, for almost over 700 years. It is in this atmosphere that we offer our guests an opportunity to visit this unique historic city. To interpret the history of one building as this, one needs to understand and learn the history of the whole city – for this, exploration and visit is a must. As the hosts of Eagle Eye Boutique Hotel we are happy to provide our guests a place to stay within that historic atmosphere – to feel the morning and evening light, the call for prayers and the bells of the church to inciteones imagination, and making exploration of this magical city on foot possible.

Memories are meant to be revisited. We invite you to experience The Nicosia and The Island of Cyprus through the eyes of fellow travelers and share unforgettable moments from your own stay.

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