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The Selimiye Mosque

The foundation stone of this great church was laid in 1209 under Archbishop Thierry but due to financial constraints the work was not completed until 1326.

St. Sophia Cathedral

The principal scene for coronations of the Lusignan rulers, St. Sophia was the most important Catholic Church in Cyprus. It suffered heavy damage during the Genoese invasion of 1373 and by the Egyptian Mamelukes in 1426. When the Venetians took over the island, they confiscated all the church treasure to help pay for the extensive restructuring of the city. Further damage was done to the fabric of the building during the earthquakes of 1491 and 1547. (Strain gauges can be seen on all the cracks in the walls to monitor movement of the building.) The last Catholic mass was said by Francesco Contarini the Bishop of Paphos on 9 th September 1570. With the success of the Ottoman conquest all traces of popery were removed and destroyed. The statues and stained glass windows were smashed beyond recognition. Many tombstones of previous monarchs and their rich and powerful supporters were taken up, turned upside down and replaced in the floor. The bodies that had been interred beneath them were thrown out into the e street to be trampled by the populace. The church was then converted into a mosque. It continued to be called Ayasofya until the name was changed in1954 to Selimiye in honour of the Sultan Selim II who led the conquering Ottoman forces to victory in 1570/71.


Nicosia City Walls

The capital city of Cyprus remains divided despite many attempts by successive governments...

The Buyuk Han

The Buyuk Han is the most impressive piece of Ottoman architecture on the whole island. Bu...