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St Nikolas Church

Famagusta, North Cyprus

St Nikolas Church, Famagusta, North Cyprus
St Nikolas Church

St Nikolas church is in the south east corner of Famagusta and is one of three remaining Byzantine churches in the area, along with Ayia Zoni and Agios Simeon.

St Nikolas is a small double aisled church, which would have had two domes. A good part of the building and the roof has been demolished.

Have a look at the triangular section at the top of the piers. They were built to support the dome of the church. Look closely, and you will see three small holes. Behind them are hollow spaces made of clay pots built into the wall. These made the load on the walls much lighter, and the building more structurally sound.

The acoustic vases in the wall of St Nikolas church, Famagusta, North Cyprus
Acoustic Vases

But this was a secondary purpose. They were called acoustic vases, and their function was to make the priest's chanting more resonant, and the inside of the church sound more heavenly.

The three holes you can see, however,  are only the outward appearance, they were, in fact, a series of pots or pipes, the base of one fitting in to the top of another. This will have formed a curved series of ribs, acting as a frame for the construction of the pier, the spaces being filled with rubble and concrete.

Below the window of the dome, you can see a groove. Some object must have been raised and lowered by a rope, over the years carving out a channel. perhaps it was a lamp or chandelier, or perhaps it was the rope used to ring the church bell. There is no record of what it was, so it's down to your imagination.


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