The Lusignan House



The Lusignan House is about 100 metres away and is one of the finest examples of Lusignan residential architecture in the city. The coats of arms over the main street entrance have been defaced bar one and this is probably of the Rocheouart family. There have been Ottoman additions, most noticeably the “Kiosk” that hangs over the street. In the 1950’s the house was lived in by a family of Russian émigrés called Classen and it was used as a weaving workshop. After partition of the city it was used by refugees and was eventually evacuated in the late 1980’s.

In 1997 after extensive restoration that included the detailed repair of the beautiful Ottoman period ceilings the house was opened to the public. It is decorated with reproduction furniture of the Lusignan and Ottoman eras. Taht-el-kale is the neighbourhood, near Famagusta Gate. The Ottomans named it as “Taht-el-kale”, meaning the lower part of the fortress, i.e. Famagusta Gate. But the word was corrupted as “Tahtakale or Tahtagala”, meaning wooden fortress. The street going from the gate to the west was called Çarşı (Market) Street, now called Famagusta Street. This is the main thoroughfare in the walled city part of the neighbourhood and it was rated by Louis Salvator in the 19th century as the second most important street in Nicosia after Trypiotis/Ledra Street. Taht-el-kale was traditionally one of the biggest mixed neighbourhoods, but now the only sign of this coexistence is the Taht-el-kale Mosque and the Koran School.

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