Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Nicosia, Northern Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot side of the Ledra Street crossing
The northern part of Nicosia is the largest city and capital of Northern Cyprus.

There are almost 83,000 people in the metro area.

The Turkish part of Lefkoşa is a bit more weathered than the Greek Cypriot side.  And for sure less expensive, with lots of discount shopping.  The northern side also seems to have more of a historical feel.

Büyük Han, the Great Inn, was built by the Ottomans in 1572.  It's the largest caravanserai on Cyprus with 68 rooms and a small courtyard mosque in the centre.  It was renovated in the 1990s and is now home to galleries, souvenir stands, and cafes.

Kumarcilar Han, the Gambler's Inn, was a caravanserai believed to have been built in the 17th century.  The inn contained 56 rooms but is currently closed.  The building is in a sad state of disrepair as there has been a shortage of funds for reconstruction.

Büyük Hamam is the local Turkish bath.  The building used to be the Church of St. George which opened in 1309.  In 1590 it became a Turkish bath.  It was renovated in 2007-2008.

At Atatürk Square is the Venetian Column.  The Venetians, who were here prior to the Ottomans taking over, brought it here from Salamis in 1550.

Haydarpaşa Mosque is in a Gothic building built in the 14th century.  It used to be St. Catherine's Church before being converted into a mosque following Ottoman rule.

The Selimiye Mosque was originally the St. Sophia Cathedral.  The Gothic building was constructed from 1209 - 1228.  In 1571 it became the largest mosque on the island.  Although I'm not sure if it is still the largest or not.

The Mausoleum of İttik Dede is the tomb of a nameless man who was martyred in 1570 when the Ottomans took over Nicosia.

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