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Nicosia Nicosia

Nicosia - Northern Cyprus

Assyrian sources dating from the seventy century BC mention an ancient city with the name of Ledra. in about 300 BC, the son of the Egyptian King Ptolemy Soter 1, Lefkosa, rebuilt third city, and his name is immortalized in the local name as Lefkosia, or Lefkosa. Nicosia is the Frankish name of the city and is thought to have appeared first in connection with a revolt of the local population against the Knights Templar in 1192. It is mostly used by foreigners.

In 1191 Richard the lion heart captured the island on his way to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade and sold it to the Knights Templar, who then ruler the island from Nicosia. in the same year he permitted Guy de Louisianan, who had lost his Kingdom of Jerusalem to his cousin, to buy Cyprus from the Templar. From this date onwards Nicosia remained the capital city of Cyprus.

Nicosia flourished during the lusignan era and churches and palaces were built. This glorious period in the history of city ended in 1489 when the Venetians captured Cyprus. The Venetians demolished most of the Louisianan monuments, including churches and palaces and used the masonry to fortify the city against the anticipated ottoman invasion. Nevertheless, their efforts did not prevent the island from falling to the forces of the Ottoman admiral Lala Mustafa Pasa in 1570 during the reign of Sultan Selim 11. After the conquest the city gained new vigour and mosques and baths and other institutions to meet the requirement of its new masters were established, and a new building activity began.

City Map of Nicosia

Kyrenia Gate

This was one of the main gateways of the city called ‘Porta Del Proveditore’ after its architect Proveditore Francesco Barbaro. A Latin inscription inside the gate gives its date as 1562.The Arabic inscription above the gate reads:’o Mohammed.give these tidings to the faithful: victory from God and triumph is near opener of doors, open for us the best of all doors;

Ataturk Square and the Venetian Column 

The grey granite column which stands in the middle of the major square of Nicosia is thought to have been brought from the runis of Salamis by the Venetians.Originally it bore a lion on its top.ıts 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 the Tekke,or monestary ,of the Whirling Dervishes,An order founded by the mystic poetjelal-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 lived on until its last sheikh died in 1954.

Dervis Pasa Konak

This is a nineteenth century mansion of two storeys which was recetyly restored and opened to the public as a folklore museum. Dervis Pasa, 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 buildind material.

Turunclu Musque

This was built in 1825 by the Ottoman governor Seyit Mehmet Aga.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.

Iplik Pazarı Mosque

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

Buyuk Hamam

It is thought that Büyük Hamam,or the Great Bath,which still functions,incorporates the remains of the fourteenth century Latin Church of St George of Depoulains,Its Lusignan Gothic portal is thought to have came from another monument.The rest of the establishment flolows the general principles of Turkish bath architecture.

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 anearlier building on the site.It has on mosque or ablution fountain.

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