Hazret Omer Turbesi
The tomb is the final resting place of Hazreti Omer literally translated as ‘Graceful Omer’. He was a companion of Prophet Muhammed (sws) known as a Sahaba, and a commander of the Muawiya Army which campaigned in the 7th Century spreading Islam. He is buried together with 6 other companions. Together they are known as ‘The Seven Sahabas’.
He is not to be mistaken for the 2nd Caliph of Prophet Muhammad (SWS), known as Sayidina Umar (RA).
They’re tombs were lost and rediscovered after the conquest of the Island by the Ottoman Army in 1571. The ottomans exhumed their bodies, which had not decomposed at all, and built a shrine for them and lay them where they are to be found today.
Aga Cafer Pasha
Aga Cafer Pasha literally translated ‘Chief Cafer Pasha’, was a slave of Captain Kilic Ali Pasha who was appointed and sent to Libya as a protector in 1586. Aga Cafer Pasha became a governor in Cyprus in 1589. He went onto earn his freedom in 1598 and continued to govern Cyprus for a second and third term. He became known as a captain of the seas a very high position in the Ottoman army in 1600 and died soon after.
Aziz Effendi Tekke
Aziz Effendi was the mufti of the ottoman army who came to conquer Cyprus. He was killed in fighting by the venetians in 1570/71 during the siege of Nicosia. Sultan Selim the second ordered he be buried in Nicosia and a shrine be made for him. This was later turned into a tekke and was used by the market traders for worship up until 1963.
The Bandabulya is the municipal market where some time can be spend by some care free shopping for local foods as well as gifts to take home to loved ones.
The Selimiye Mosque (Saint Sophia Cathedral)
This Mosque was originally a gothic cathedral, which itself was built over the ruins of a much earlier church called Hagia Sophia. It has some of the best examples of gothic art in Cyprus. Lusigan princes were crowned Kings in this church in the 13th and 14th Century before going onto Famagusta for a second ceromany as the King of Jerusalem. It was converted into a mosque after the conquest of 1570 and named after the reigning Sultan of the time Sultan Selim the second. It is known to have become the most beautiful mosque in Nicosia and is also the most attended.
Bayraktar Mosque was the first mosque built by the ottomans after the conquer of Cyprus. It is situated on the Venetian walls known as the Constanza Bastion which the ottomans breached in 1570 led by their flag bearer Bayraktar translated meaning, ‘Standard Bearer’. He was killed by the defenders and his body was later recovered and buried on the spot, and a mosque was built and named in his honour. Nothing of the original building remains and it was subject to bomb attacks in 1960 during the Cypriot Turkish and Greek confliction. Subsequently it was closed down and reopened in 2003.
The Omeriye mosque is a conversion and used to be a gothic church, the only one of its kind in South Nicosia. The ottoman commander Lala Mustapha pasa believed that the original church had been built on the spot where Sayidina Umar (RA) the second Caliph of the prophet Muhammad (SWS) rested on his visit to the island in the 7th Century.
It was said by the late Mevlana Sheikh Nazim that the mosque is also the worshiping place of Hazreti Khidr (AS). He continues to say that in the women’s quarters there is a second alter and if one prayers the Islamic Fajr (morning) prayers in this quarter for 40 days continuously Khidr (AS) will appear.
Hazreti Al-Khidr (AS)
He is a mystical figure who is known to be immortal receiving illumination direct from God Almighty (Allah (SWT)) without human mediation. He is reported to have given the Prophet Moses (Musa (AS)) lessons and it is believed he was taught by the Angel Gabriel (Jibreel (AS)).
Kirklar Turbesi (The forty sahabas).
In 649 and in the reign of Hazreti Osman Ships were sent to Cyprus in order to spread Islam. These were some of the first sea wars that took place. Sahabas accompanied with their wives including the milk mother’s sister of Prophet Muhammad (SWS) known as Hale Sultan travelled in this expedition. It was at this time that she was martyred and taken to her final resting place now located in Larnaca, South Cyprus. On their journey back they camped for the night where the Turbe is now located and were ambushed and killed by their enemies of that time. Two pits were dug and they were buried in them. In 1571 when the Ottomans conquered the Island, Sultan Selim the second sent convoys to find their bodies and properly lay them to rest. They found the village where it was believed they were resting and asked a shepherd if there were any old graveyards or anything out of the ordinary which was going on in the area. The Shepherd replied that in this area there was the finest growing grass field and his sheep would not graze there. On this information the convoy dug and found the bodies of the 40 Sahabas. The bodies (which had not decayed in the least) were excavated and a Turbe was made for them.
St. Barnabas Monastery and Icon Museum.
St. Barnabas was born to the Levite tribe of the Bani Israel. The Levi tribe were the priests of the temple of Jerusalem. He lived in the time of the Prophet Jesus (Isa (AS)) also following his religion. St. Barnabas wrote a gospel according to the life and teachings of Jesus. St. Barnabas was killed and buried by his disciples with his Gospel in his hands. This is controversial as there are historians who say he was buried with the gospel of Mathew. This does not make sense however simply because there is a St. Barnabas church, following and Gospel throughout the World today, so why would it be that he was buried with another gospel other than his own? In any case his burial place was hidden as his enemies wanted to disperse his corpse into the sea. Different stories can be found relating to how his body was found. I will relate the version told by my Guide and sheikh Mevlana Sheikh Nazim.
It was 5-600 years ago at which time, Constantinople was the capital of the Christian world that the Christian King of that time had a dream. St. Barnabas told the king to go to Cyprus and excavate his body which was hidden. He gave him the location and said to him, when you find me you will see me holding my book. His book now is mostly hidden in the Vatican however pieces of it can still be found.
Ayios Phillion Church
Here are the ruins of a 12th Century church dedicated to Ayios Philon who became the first Bishop of the City known then as Karpasia (Karpaz) in 401 or 382 AD. There is only a shell and partial dome remaining. Next to the church are the mosaic floor and other Christian imagery of the 5th Century. Ayios Philon Church was built on the same site of the old Roman harbour and artefacts are easy to find in the immediate and surrounding areas. This was a site that would be frequently visited by pilgrims since the Middle Ages and free food and accommodation would have been found at that time for travellers.
Kutub Osman Turbesi
Sheikh Osman Effendi was a Seyyid. In other words he was a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (SWS). He was born in 1632 and died in 1691. At seventeen years old he went to Edirne and served Islam next to Sacli Ibrahim Effendi who recognised him to be a genius and sent him to Istanbul where he soon became the halife Zakir zade Abdullah Effendi. There were many people who were jealous of him and who could not stomach his position. On the back of this he was tricked and exhiled to Cyprus in 1690 a year after which he died.
There is very little information docuemented on Aglayan Dede. His name was Sheikh Mustapha Ahi and he was from the Qadiri Tariqat and also had ties previously with the Rafai Tariqat. He was born in 1750-51 and became a Wazir in the Ottoman Empire as well as a Grandsheikh. He was falsely accused of being a kizilbash (Shi’I millitant), and exhiled to Cyprus in January 1792. 41 days after he died. In that time he was continuously crying for his innocence hence his name Aglayan Dede (crying grandad).
Lala Mustapha Camii
The mosque is the largest in Famagusta and was originally known as the Saint Nicholas Cathedral and later as the Ayasofya (Saint Sophia) Mosque of Famagusta. LalaMustapha Pasa was an Ottoman general and Grand Vazier from the sanjak of Bosnia. It was named after him as he was the Commander of the army which conquered the city.
Canbulat Pasha was a provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire He was known as the Bey of Kilis. He was martyred in fierce fighting between the Venetians and Ottomans in 1570 in Famagusta. The Venetians barricaded the doors to the city with a ball of turning sharp blades. So many soldiers were martyred they began to lose moral. Canbulat Pasha mounted his white horse and charged towards the barricade and subsequently his head was cut off. It is said that he then picked up his head placing it under his arm and with his sword in the other hand continued fighting for 3 days. The soldiers’ moral in witnessing this managed to boost their morals and finally took the city. It is reported that 70,000 lives were lost in the taking of this city. His grave and museum is by the gates to the city.
Other Places of interest :
Haji Amine Hatun
Sheikh Nazim Al Haqqani
Piri Pasha Camii