Saint Sophia Cathedral

In the very center of northern Nicosia is the main mosque, where great Muslim holidays are held. Previously, there was St. Sophia Cathedral, the building of which was built in the style of medieval cathedrals of France. At the site of the temple was a religious building, where the coronation of King Amory was held. The grounds for such a grandiose cathedral were laid in 1209, but the temple itself was not consecrated until 1326 due to the fact that work on the large façade continued for so long.

Initially, the cathedral was decorated with statues, paintings and other valuable objects of art. However, the devastating invasions of the Genoese in 1373, the Mamluks in 1426 and two earthquakes in 1491 and 1547 left an imprint on the building itself and its contents.

With the arrival of the Turks in 1570, there remained only a sculpture of St. Sophia, which is now on the street, and some gravestones are hidden under bright carpets. Despite the earthquake, the old building still stands. The cathedral was renamed the Selima Mosque in 1954 in honor of Sultan Selim II, who took part in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

The cathedral has a large entrance inherent in European temples, with fine carvings. Most of the windows face west, there are also two high minarets, which are considered a prominent landmark in Nicosia. Up until 1959, the muezzin climbed 170 steps of the tower five times a day to convene believers for prayer. Now this message performs an audio recording, which is proclaimed into the loudspeaker. Inside the mosque has a modest interior, a spacious enough room and a calm atmosphere. When the temple turned into a mosque, the permutation was directed towards Mecca, and not towards Jerusalem.

Today, the mosque conducts excursions by a local guide, during which they show many medieval tombstones, the decoration of the temple, candelabra and other ancient items. The entrance to the mosque is free. At the cathedral there is also a hospital, school, library, madrasa (training center), shops.