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Bedestan (St. Nicholas Church):
The church St. Nicholas curch is located in the walled part of Nicosia. The building was originally built in the 2th Century as a Byzantine church (The St. Nicholas Church).

St Nicholas Church was first built during the Byzantine period and was later enlarged by some Gothic annexes built by the Lusignans. After some more changes in the Venetian period, the building was given to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis in the 16th Century. During the Ottoman period, when Christian churches were closed, the church saw use as a covered market, or bedestan. The building with its different architectural styles is of a hybrid nature. The masonry on its northern entrance resembles the masonry on the entrance of the St. Sophia Cathedral. 

The Dervish Pasha Mansion:
The owner of this two storey mansion built in the 19th century was Dervish Pasha, the publisher of "Zaman" – the first Turkish newspaper in Cyprus. The mansion is in the Arap Ahmet region of Nicosia inside the walled city. The mansion has two entrances. On the main entrance, the year 1219 of the Muslim Calendar (1807) is visible.  

The ground floor of the Dervish Pasha Mansion has been constructed of stone and the upper floor of sundried brick. The year 1869 is visible on the ornamented ceiling of the main room which is a later addition to the building. The mansion has an ‘L’ shape with a large inner courtyard. The rooms on the ground floor open to terraced pavilions ringing the inner courtyard. A wooden staircase supported by the water reservoir in the courtyard leads to the upper floor where all the doors open to a covered porch. After the restoration work during the years 1978-88, the mansion was opened as an Ethnographical Museum on 21 March 1988. It includes a main-room, a bride-room, a dining-room, and a section where items of daily use are being exhibited. 

Nicosia City-Walls:
In 1567, just before the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottomans, the Venetians started to build new walls in place of the old Lusignan walls ringing the city, so as to be able to defend Nicosia. A famous Venetian engineer named Guilio Savorgnano drew the plans of the walls. The Venetians were defeated by the Ottomans, before they could finish the wall.

The WallsThe walls have a circumference of three miles, eleven bastions each like a castle, and three gates. The walls consisted of earth ramparts with a stone facing. The names of the gates were: "Porta Del Proveditore - The Kyrenia Gate" in the North, "Porta Guiliana - The Famagusta Gate" in the East, and "Porta Domenica - The Paphos Gate" in the West. In order to build the walls, the Venetians demolished the houses, palaces, monasteries and churches outside the three-mile circumference of the city and used their stone in the construction of the walls. The bastions were named after the nobilities and other people who contributed to the construction of the walls (Rochas, Loredano, Barbaro).

The Arab Ahmet Mosque:

The most notable of the mosques built by the Turks in Nicosia is the Arap Ahmet Mosque. The mosque, which is one of the most beautiful examples if old Turkish architecture is located in Arabahmet the only district which today reflects and preserves the historical character of the old Nicosia. Like many others, the mosque was constructed on the site of an old Latin church. Arabahmet mosque was built at the turn of the 17th Century in memory of Arab Ahmet Pasha himself the former governor of Rhodes.

Among the marble floor tiles of the Arab Ahmet mosque are around 25 tombstones with epitaphs and drawings. The mosque was named after one of the generals of the Turkish army during the conquest of the island. It is a good example of classical Turkish mosque architecture. It has an arched terrace and a dome six metres in diameter. The garden with graves belonging to Turks has been preserved in good condition. It is a special corner of Nicosia with its fountain, cypress trees and graves. Among the graves is the grave of Kamil Pasha, born in 1832 in Nicosia, who rose to the rank of Grand Vizier in the Ottoman Empire 4 times. Kamil Pasha died in Nicosia in 1913 and was buried in the courtyard of the mosque. In 1927, Sir Ronald Storss, the governor of Cyprus from 1926 until 1931, had a tomb made for Kamil Pasha with a panel in Turkish and English placed on it.

 The Gambler's Inn:

The Gambler’s Inn is an Ottoman merchant’s inn. The structure was constructed towards the end of the 17th century. The shape and proportion of the ornamented Gothic arch at the entrance are not compatible with the other arches in the building and they are contrary to Ottoman architectural style. It is therefore suggested that this arch might have belonged to another building -possibly a monastery- which used to be at the same site.

The Gambler’s Inn is an amazing building as it stands, it has a Medieval Gothic arch and atount the inner courtyard there are lots of interesting rooms to explore.

The Gambler’s Inn is a simpler version of the Buyuk Han, without a mosque in the middle.  The building has been constructed with a rectangular design; it has two storeys and no mosque. The travellers would stay in the rooms on the upper floor and their animals and belongings would be kept in the rooms on the ground floor. There are 44 rooms around the inner courtyard.

The Grand Bath:
The Grand Bath was built on the remains of an old Latin church and is a great example of how old buildings were reused for a different purpose. The bath still functioning bath house enjoys a splendid setting amongst the Gothic arches and thick stone walls of the old church. The church also shows how the landscape of Nicosia has changes too; the church now lies a full three metres below the modern road level. Read more...
  The great bath in Nicosia was evidently a church before it was redesigned to a Turkish bath. The ornamented Gothic style arched doorway and its stone walls show that it was built in the Lusignan period. The name of the building was St George of the Latins.

The Great Inn:

From a historical and architectural perspective, Buyuk Han is one of the most noteworthy of the Turkish monuments in Nicosia. It is acknowledged to have been constructed by the first Ottoman governor of Cyprus, governor-general Muzaffer Pasha in 1572. The building is rectangular and has two storeys; the rooms ringing a large courtyard open to an arched and domed pavilion.

The Great Inn has been constructed with stones transported from different buildings and places. Likewise, it is possible that the marble columns supporting the small mosque in the middle of the courtyard have been taken from another building. This small, domed mosque with its conic, hexagonal stone chimneys complements the inn’s Turkish style of architecture. The rooms on the ground floor of the Great Inn were used as shops, store-rooms and offices. The rooms on the upper floor with fireplaces with octagonal chimneys were the bedrooms. Although the inn is very similar to the ones in Anatolia one difference can be noticed: whereas this type of inns and caravanserais in Anatolia usually has only one main entrance, the Great Inn has two. During the British rule, the Han was used as the Nicosia Central Prison. Later the Great Inn was used as a builder’s yard; now the renovated Han is a very lively place with shop, art/photo galleries and cafes.
 The Haydarpaşa Mosque:
(The St. Catherine Cathedral)
After St. Sophia it is the most notable Lusignan building in Nicosia. The church of St. Catherine is a complete example of the 14th Century “Flamboyant” style of Cyprus. Historian Sir Harry Luke describes it as the most elegant and perfect Gothic building in Cyprus. The St. Catherine church converted into a mosque after the Ottomans gained control of the island. The only portions missing from its original medieval design are the tombstone flooring and the usual furniture of altar and rood-screen.

 St. Catherine church has long, narrow Gothic windows that have been placed between the pedestals which get narrower as they approach the ceiling. The top parts of the windows are ornamented with geometric designs. The church has three entrances, the fine masonry of the Gothic south entrance and the carvings of the Lusignan insignias on its frame are notable features. The west entrance is larger with the same architecture; its frame is ornamented with motifs of roses and dragons. The north entrance is comparatively plain. It is ornamented with the pattern of a nude woman holding a fish and dragon like effigies. Inside, there is a chancel and a vestry and a small baptizing pool. 


The Kyrenia Gate:

The Kyrenia Gate in the North is one of the three gates on the walls surrounding the old city of Nicosia. This gate was one of the most important entry-exit points of the city. It is also known as the "Del Providetore Gate" after the architecture Proveditore Francesco Barbaro. The Kyrenia gate is still intact today, and remains as an attractive hiostoric monument of northern Nicosia. Read more...
Kyrenia Gate
The Turks restored the Kyrenia Gate in 1821, adding a domed room on top of it. On the panel above the gate there are verses from the Koran. The seal of Mahmut II was placed on the Northern front of the gate in 1820. The cannons in front of the gate transferred by the British for the defence of Acre against Napoleon later fell to the hands of the Ottomans.



 The Lapidary Museum:
The Lapidary Museum to the east of the Selimiye Mosque is a Venetian style building constructed in the 15th century. It houses many works of stone (insignias, works of marble, tombs and columns) from the Medieval Age to the present day. The splendid window with tracery opposite the entrance has been transported from the Lusignan Palace at Sarayonu Square which was demolished in the British period
nic-lapidari.jpgThe Lapidary Museum is situated a few hundred meters from the Selimiye Mosque (St. Spohia) and is believed to be a Venetian house or could be a renovated medieval building. The outstanding exhibition of a Gothic window from a nearby palace is known as the ‘flamboyant’ style which was commonly used in French cathedrals in the 15th Century.




 The Mevlevi Tekke Museum:
The building to the South of the Kyrenia Gate was constructed towards the end of the 16th century by Arab Ahmet Pasha after the conquest of the island by the Ottomans. The commander of the conquering army, Lala Mustafa Pasha, Arap Ahmet Pasha, and the first kadi and mufti of the island were members of the Mevlevi order (order of dervishes founded by Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi, called also the "whirling dervishes").

The Mevlevi Tekke in Nicosia was an important cultural centre of the Ottoman aera in Cyprus. It is situated in the walled city, south of the Jyrenia Gate. It is distinguished with 6 golden domes surmounting a rectangular building. Inside the building, there are tombs and a semahane (dervish meeting-house for religious music and whirling). Until Ataturk banned the lodges in 1920, it served as a Mevlevi Lodge; its last sheikh – or head of the order – died in 1954. At the entrance to the lodge there is a headdress, a panel and a fountain. Sixteen Mevlevi sheiks are buried in the six tombs in the building. The building which constitutes a different aesthetic sight in the city centre is now used as a museum of ethnography. 

The Selimiye Mosque  (The St. Sophia Cathedral):
The Selimiye Mosque was formerly the cathedral of St. Sophia. The cathedral is noted as being the largest and the finest temple, and the most important Gothic structure in Cyprus. Today, the ancient church is the chief mosque in the northern part of Cyprus. In style of architecture, St. Sophia resembles the famous medieval cathedrals of France.

 It is said to have been constructed over a Byzantine church called Agia Sophia on the same site. The construction was started by the Latin Archbishop Eustorge de Montaigu in 1208. It was consecrated in 1326 and opened to religious service. As it was the most important church of Cyprus the coronation ceremonies of the Lusignan kings were held here. The cathedral was restored by the Genoese in 1373, and by the Mamluks in 1426. The church was secerely damaged by earthquakes in 1491, 1547 and 1735 AD and yet, as can be seen today, the cathedral has survived.
The eastern section of the cathedral was destroyed in earthquakes in 1491 and as it was being restored by the Venetians, the grave of an old Lusignan king (Hugh II) was uncovered. The corpse was well preserved with a crown on its head, and items made of gold and documents on it. The cathedral was constructed by French architects and craftsmen and it is a beautiful example of medieval French architecture. The cathedral has a monumental entrance. The carved windows above the entrance are examples of unequalled Gothic art. The Ottomans have built minarets over the two unfinished belfries on either side of the entrance. The inside of the cathedral comprises three aisles, six side sections and little chapels. The chapel to the north was dedicated to St. Nicholas, the ones to the south to Virgin Mary and St. Thomas Aquinas. The part of the mosque reserved for women used to be the treasury. Many Lusignan nobilities and kings are buried inside the cathedral. The marble grave stones of these graves still constitute part of the floor tiles. The inscriptions and drawings on these have been well preserved since they are covered with rush mats.

Venetian Column & Atatürk Square:
The granite column in the Ataturk square was erected by the Venetians in 1550. It used to bear the St. Mark lion. The Ottomans removed the column but the British re-erected the column on its present location in 1915. The grey granite column is thought to have been transported from a temple in Salamis (Famagusta Region).

The insignia of six Italian families can be seen at the bottom of the column. The copper globe at the top is a later addition. The buildings to the West of the Ataturk Square (government buildings) were constructed during the British colonial rule in early 20th century. They therefore have a distinct look. There is a fountain and a platform with the insignia of Britain on the eastern side of the buildings. The platform was constructed to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. The governor of Cyprus announced the coronation from this platform.


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