Sinan Pasha Mosque was built around 1360 (originally as Christian Church of Saints Peter and Paul), supposedly with a third of the profits of a single trading venture of one of Famagusta's wealthiest businessmen, Simon Nostrano. it is one of the largest of the Gothic cathedrals in Famagusta, and is similar in design to St George of the Greeks, which was built around the same time.
Because of its massive height, the church walls had to be supported by flying buttresses, but perhaps shallow foundations, perhaps earthquakes meant that a further row of buttresses had to be constructed on the southern side in the 16th century, giving the church a unique appearance. Even now, if you look along the line of the wall, you can see it bowing outwards.
It is thought that the building became disused during the Venetian period, as it escaped the attention of the Ottoman bombardment of the city in 1571. After their conquest, the Ottomans took over the church as a mosque, naming it the Sinan Pasha Mosque. They added a minaret, to the south west corner, but that broke off centuries ago, and it now reaches no further than roof level. In fact, if you look at the minaret, it still shows signs of an imminent collapse.
During the British time, the mosque was used as a potato and grain store, leading to it being known locally as the 'wheat mosque' (Bugday Cami). It was further used as a store for redundant council equipment. In 1934 it was a petrol store. By 1964 it had been converted into Famagusta's town hall and library. Records from 1968 has it as a cafe, bar and dance hall. It is currently closed pending renovation.
In the southern courtyard, underneath the second row of buttresses, you will find the grave of Yirmisekiz Celebi, who was a renowned diplomat, serving as the Ottoman ambassador to France, but died in exile in Cyprus in 1732.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.