The names and identities of the Antique Monuments, with in the oldtown of Famagusta, Cyprus are determined according to the historical documents or to the historical records in hand or in the national archives. Most of the times, due lack of the true records or original documents or real details, wrong information or wrong names are in daily use.
With in the city walls of Oldtown, popularly known as Oldtown of Famagusta, nearly 1300 years old and situated in the eastern cost of the island of Cyprus, the name “Ayia Photou Church” is given to two side by side antique monuments, 20 m. apart, which are now in ruins. These two ruins are situated at the north east sector of the town and are very close to the midpoint of Torrion del Diamante (Karpaz Tabya) and Torrion del Mozzo (Köpük Kulesi).
According to the new findings based on a dense research in archives and old texts, the name of the antique monument on the south should be “Ayia Photou Church” and the name of antique monument on the north should be “St. Dominic Church”.
In Famagusta, once a very rich town of Medieval, were two Bishoprics and seven churches of different [Christian] religious orders. One of them was the famous “St. Dominic Church” of Franciscan order.
The Dominicans were first arrived to the island around 1225 and their population was not very significant till the conguest of Acra. After the conquest of the city of Acra by Muslims on 1291, the King of Cyprus released an order and enabled settlements to the Christian immigrants of Acra to Kingdom of Cyprus. They were warmly well comed and the Dominic Church flourished as from this date and became one of the important and richest orders in the island.
In the gravure of Stephan Gibellino dated 1571 named “Citta di Famagosta”, the “St. Dominic Church” was clearly drawn with the belfry and backgarden encircled with highwalls and marked with No.5 and footnoted as “St. Dominic Church”. It was located on the north east part of the town and close to the midpoint of Torrion del Diamante and Torrion del Mozzo. On the east part of the church, hippodrome “loro di trar al palio” was drawn, which till1950’s this area served to the similar purpose.
Unfortunately the “St. Dominic Church” suddenly disappeared from the papers, documents, registries, records, archives and even memories after the conquest of the town by the Ottomans on 1571 although the Ottomans tried their best to preserve the antique monuments of Christian religion for almost 300 years and handed over the town to British on 1878 as it was on 1571.
The traces and location of the “St. Dominic Church”is now found by SAMTAY foundation of Famagusta, and needs to be declared officially and reborn again.