Famagusta’s medieval castle or citadel occupies a strategic position overlooking the harbor. Built first by the Lusignans during the reign of Henry II (1285-1324) it was later enlarged, altered and greatly reinforced by the Venetians. Entrance is at the south-west corner through an arched gate adjacent to what is known today as Othello's Tower, so-named for Shakespeare's tragic hero.

Encased within the distinctly Venetian-looking exterior is the original medieval fortress. This is the oldest surviving Lusignan building in Famagusta. Its main features include a rectangular plan with a large, central court; windows and doors possess pointed arches, and decoration and embellishments are kept to a minimum. On the north side is a series of five high vaulted chambers that make up the Great Hall. In an adjacent chamber to the southeast, note the low arched passage at the back that leads into the depths of the northeast sea-side bastion.

Climb to the upper levels of the embattlements for fine views of the city and harbor. From the northeast tower you can catch a glimpse of the modern port below and the ventilation shafts – designed to carry away smoke from canon and artillery – that drop down to medieval passages.
It is rumored that the Venetians filled many of the citadel's ventilation shafts with earth and rubble to prevent cannon balls from penetrating them. Legends persist to this day that these buried chambers may contain hidden treasures, left behind by the Venetians when they surrendered to the Ottomans.