In the medieval period Cyprus was a cross roads of cultures of the Near East and Europe. The architecture on the island is rich in its diversity of style and building techniques. Byzantine, Frankish and Islamic churches, palaces and fortresses stand in close proximity to each other allowing for a unique study of medieval building practices.
The buildings in this catalog represent examples of Gothic architecture that were on the edge in three defining ways: 1. these buildings were constructed on the far edge of the super-region of French political power and cultural influence during the 13th and 14th centuries. 2. Cyprus was on the edge of the Holy Lands and during this period served as the home of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in exile after the fall of the mainland Levant to Muslim armies. 3. Located in an extremely active seismic zone during the middle ages, these buildings were on the edge structurally–subjected to frequent tremors and earthquakes, they needed to moderate desires for height, light and levitation in the face of horizontal loadings that the Gothic builders in France did not have to.
While most of the buildings in the catalog are what we would consider Gothic, some bear features associated with Romanesque style–shortly before Latin rule was established on the island and toward the end of Latin rule, prior to the Ottoman administration after the invasion of 1571, when there was a return to the use of some Romanesque elements. Most of the buildings are churches, either Latin, or Greek, though three examples are not: the Suger Mill and Commandarie in Kolossi and the manner in Kouklia. These buildings have been included as examples of non-ecclesiastical Gothic because of their use of pointed stone vaults that are similar to the vaulting found in the nearby churches.