Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque

Famagusta, Cyprus

The Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque originally known as Saint Nicholas's Cathedral and later as the Ayasofya (Saint Sophia) Mosque of Magusa, is the largest medieval building in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus. The cathedral was constructed from 1298 to 1312 and was consecrated in 1328. 'After an unfortunate episode when the current bishop embezzled the restoration fund', Bishop Guy of Ibelin bequeathed 20,000 bezants for its construction. The Lusignans would be crowned as Kings of Cyprus in the St. Sophia Cathedral (now Selimiye Mosque) in Nicosia and then crowned as Kings of Jerusalem in the St Nicholas Cathedral in Famagusta. The cathedral was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman Empire captured Famagusta in 1571 and it remains a mosque to this day.

The building is built in Rayonnant Gothic style, quite rare outside France, though 'mediated through buildings in the Rhineland'. The historic tie between France and Cyprus is evidenced by its parallels to French archetypes such as Reims Cathedral. Indeed, so strong is the resemblance, that the building has been dubbed 'The Reims of Cyprus'; it was built with three doors, twin towers over the aisles and a flat roof, typical of Crusader architecture.

The upper parts of the cathedral's two towers suffered from earthquakes, were badly damaged during the Ottoman bombardments of 1571, and were never repaired. With the Venetians defeated and Famagusta fallen by August 1571, Cyprus fell under Ottoman control and the cathedral was converted into a mosque, renamed the 'St.Sophia Mosque of Mağusa'.

Islamic tradition prohibits the depiction of creatures or iconography; consequently, nearly all statuary, cruciforms, stained glass, frescos, and paintings were removed or plastered over, as well as most tombs and the altar. The Gothic structure was preserved however, and a few tombs can still be identified in the north aisle.In 1954, it was renamed the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque after the commander of the 1570 Ottoman conquest- infamous for the gruesome torture of Marco Antonio Bragadin, the Venetian commander of the city's fortress. Bragadin had surrendered the city following a brutal 10-month siege in which 6,000 Christian defenders held off an army of more than 100,000 Ottoman Turks. A pledge of amnesty was secured from Lala Mustafa Pasha- who then reneged and had Bragadin beaten, his ears and nose cut off, publicly humiliated, and flayed alive.

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Details

Founded: 1298-1312
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nima Kianian (2 years ago)
This Mosque is really nice and great, the only thing you guys should remember is this: You can not go inside when it is Muslim Praying time but If you a Muslim just tell them and it is ok to enter. you should off your shoes to enter and if ladies are in sleeveless clothes they will be asked to cover.
Ally-san Lee (2 years ago)
The Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque (Turkish: Lala Mustafa Paşa Camii, Greek: Τέμενος Λαλά Μουσταφά Πασά), originally known as the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas and later as the Ayasofya (Saint Sophia) Mosque of Mağusa, is the largest medieval building in Famagusta, Cyprus. Built between 1298 and c. 1400, it was consecrated as a Catholic cathedral in 1328. In general it Lala Mustafa Pasha gave two services as Mosque and then church currently it is a Mosque
Laurence Anderson (2 years ago)
Very quiet and peaceful, no one around to ask a question, would have liked a information board to read about the building and the change over from one religion to another and restoration plans.
Jelica Stankic (2 years ago)
Nice place. But it is not ok to turn church to mosque.
Dan Tes (3 years ago)
In front of the main entrance is a huge old tropical fig tree - 720 years old. The building of the St Nicholas cathedral (Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque) stared 1298 and lasted until 1312. Near the building (left side looking to entrance) is payed WC. Inside building you can find dispenser with free drinkable water. Entrance without shoes.
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