North Cyprus Tourist Guide

Atatürk Square and the Venetian Column

The grey granite colımn which stands in the middle of the major square of Nicosia is thought to have been brought from the ruins of Salamis by the Venetians. Originally it bore a lion on its top. Its base is decorated with Venetian coats of arms. The Ottoman Turks overturned it after the conquest in 1570. In 1915 the British reerected it this time with a copper globe at its top. 

Mevlevi Tekke Museum

This 17th century building was used as the Tekke, or monastery, of the Whirling Dervishes, an order founded by the mystic poet jelal-ed-din Rumi Mevlana in the thirteenth century, until 1920, when Atatürk banned the monastic orders. After this period the dances of the dervishes were allowed only as a cultural event. In Cyprus the tradition leved on until its last sheikh died in 1954.

Dervish Paşa Konak

This is a nineteenth century mansion of two storeys which was recently restored and opened to the public as a folklore museum. Dervish Paşa, who once owned the mansion or konak was the publisher of the first Turkish newspaper ‘Zaman’, or ‘Time’ in Cyprus.

Arap Ahmet Mosque

The mosque which was built in 1845 carries the name of the Turkish governor at the time that it was erected. In the construction of its floor, stone lids from nearby Lusignan graves were used as building material.

Turunçlu Mosque

This was built in 1825 by the Ottoman governor Seyit Mehmet Ağa. It has a wooden roof which rests on four arches. The wooden private gallery for women is in the north-east and stands on wooden columns with decorated capitals.

İplik Pazarı Mosque

The 19th century edifice is named after the the old cotton market which once existed here during the Ottoman period. Its knot shaped minaret is thought to belong to a former mosque bulit on the same ground.

Büyük Hamam

It is thought that Büyük Hamam, or the Great Bath, Which still functions, incorporates the remains of the fourteenth century Latin Churuch of St George of De Poulains. Its Lusignan Gothic portal is thought to have come from another monument. The rest of the establishment follows the general principes of Turkish bath architecture.

Büyük Han

Büyük Han, or the Great Inn, was built in 1572 by the first Ottoman governor of Cyprus, Muzaffer Paşa. Its architecture is similar to numerous hans encountered in Anatolia: a courtyard surrounded with rooms arranged on two floors. The lower rooms were used as shops, storage rooms and offices. The rooms on the upper floor served for lodging and each is fitted with a fireplace which has an octagonal chimney. In the middle of the courtyard there is a domed octagonal mosque resting on eight columns with a fountain for ablutions under it.

Kumarcılar Hanı

Kumarcılar Hanı, or the Gamblers Inn was built at the end of the seventeenth century. The arch inside the entrance passage may point to the existence of an earlier building on the site. It has no mosque or ablution fountain.

Bedesten

Bedesten, or’covered market’ is a building originally built as a Byzantine church in the twelfth century. In the fourteenth century during the Lusignan rule it was enlarged by the addition of its Gothic elements. The last grpup of alterations took place during the Venetian rule when it became the Greek Orthodox Metropolis. Its main portal on the north side is elaborately carved like that of St Sophia. During the Ottoman period it was used as a textile market.

Sultan Mahmut’s Library

This monument was founded by the Ottoman Sultan Mahmut II in 1829. Its collections include some rare Turkish, Persian and Arabic manuscripts.

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