Namik Kemal Dungeon and Museum in Famagusta, North Cyprus.
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Namik Kemal Dungeon and Museum

Namik Kemal Dungeon
Namik Kemal Dungeon
photo by: Sinem Tulipa Turcica
[ enlarge photo ]

The main square in Famagusta, North Cyprus, is called "Namik Kemal Meydani", after the 19th century poet Namik Kemal (1840-1888). Kemal was a political and patriotic writer, who critised the lack of progress and change under the oppressive rule of the sultans. He dared to wrote a critical play about the sultan in Istanbul, and as a result was deported to North Cyprus in 1873. Kemal spent 38 months in prison in Famagusta from 1873 to 1876.

The cramped dungeon where he was detained lies inside the fabric of the old Venetian Palace, just off the square in Famagusta. The dungeon itself is just bare walls and an earth floor, with one tiny barred window. Upstairs is a small museum dedicated to the poet, with photographs and documents on display. There is also a bronze bust of the poet facing the square from a prime position outside the mosque.