The first walls surrounding Lefkosia (Nicosia) in the 14th century were built by the Franks and enclosed a much larger area than the 16th Venetian Walls that still surround the old town. When the Venetians occupied Cyprus, they decided to demolish the Frankish Walls because they were old and did not offer adequate defence against new weapons such as artillery. The Frankish Walls were also too big to be manned by the Venetian army and too close to the hills in the east and southeast of the city.
Forming a circle, the walls built by the Venetians were fortified by eleven heart - shaped bastions and protected by an 80 metres wide moat. They were built of mud - brick, with the lower part only buttressed by stone. When the Ottomans occupied Lefkosia (Nicosia), they repaired the walls and covered the upper part with stones. The moat around the walls now has many different uses, serving as sports fields, public gardens, an open - air sculpture exhibition, car parks etc.