Fresh from its victory over Nicosia and the surrender of Kyrenia, the Ottoman army approached Famagusta in confident mood in September 1570. Before them lay a small garrison of Venetians, no match it would seem for thousands of battle-hardened Turkish troops. Having blockaded the port (thus preventing relief from the Venetian navy), the Ottoman commander Mustafa Paşa ordered his artillery to pound the city while his engineers built trenches and a huge earth ramp to scale the walls. The Venetian defenders, hopelessly outnumbered, put up a gutsy resistance under the command of Marcantonio Bragadin and his lieutenant Lorenzo Tiepolo, cunningly moving soldiers about so that the invaders were tricked into thinking them a far more formidable force. The Venetians managed to hold out for ten months before the citadel was breached in July 1571. Bragadin agreed to a negotiated surrender where all civilians could leave the city and his soldiers could sail for Crete.

Things went largely to plan until during the hand-over ceremony when Mustafa Paşa, up until then courteous towards his opponent, suddenly exploded with rage, killing several Venetian officers and cutting off Bragadin’s ears and nose. A massacre of the remaining Christians in the city followed. Bragadin, after several weeks’ imprisonment, was publicly executed, his body quartered, and his skin, stuffed with straw, sent riding on an ox through the town before being sent to the sultan in Constantinople. The treatment of Bragadin so incensed the Venetians that it was said to inspire their forces at the Battle of Lepanto a couple of months later, halting Ottoman expansion in the Mediterranean. Bragadin’s flailed skin was rescued from Constantinople in 1596 and returned to Venice, where it still rests in the Basilica di San Zanipolo.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Cyprus features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: a Rough Guide to Northern Cyprus

Video: a Rough Guide to Northern Cyprus

Crossing into Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus feels like time travel – before the rise of jam-packed beaches, gut-wrenching prices and overcrowded landmark…

28 Aug 2018 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Video: 18 things not to miss in Cyprus

Video: 18 things not to miss in Cyprus

From ancient ruins to beautiful beaches, Cyprus has a multitude of incredible things to see and do. Whether you're after a challenging hike, fancy some wildlife…

27 Oct 2014 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
The best beaches in Europe

The best beaches in Europe

Porthcurno, UK The closest Britain gets to beach paradise in Cornwall, with turquoise waters that glint in the sunshine and fine yellow sand. High cliffs on ei…

19 Apr 2013 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs