This is the largest medieval building in Famagusta. It was originally constructed as St. Nicholas Cathedral and its construction took almost 100 years (1300-1400 AD). Its architecture is obviously Gothic and many claim that it closely resembles the Cathedral of Rheims in Paris.
When the Ottoman Turks captured Famagusta from the Venetians in 1571, the cathedral was converted into a mosque and a minaret was added. The full name of the building today is the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque. In accordance with Muslim religion all images of the human form in stone, fresco, or in stained glass windows were removed or plastered over. However, all aspects of the Gothic tracery have been preserved. The interior is a Muslim prayer hall, the floor being covered with carpets.
A wonderful Gothic cathedral, dating from 1298 and superbly designed.
Its two towers were destroyed by bombardment in 1571, when Famagusta came under Otoman rule. The cathedral tombs were emptied and destroyed (although one does still remain, hidden under a wooden cover in the women's area of the mosque...see photo).
It's a beautiful building and, like the cathedral in Nicosia, its interior whitewash and plainness allows one to better appreciate the graceful internal architecture.
Well worth visiting (not during prayer times). You should dress appropriately, take off your shoes before entering and may be asked to cover your head if a custodian is present. Do not walk in front of anyone who is praying.
Right in front of the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque (St. Nicholas Cathedral is a sycamore fig tree (Ficus sycomorus). Nearly every visitor is curious about this tree, inspects it and even takes pictures in front of it. This tree is a tropical variety of fig tree and is generally thought to be the oldest tree in Cyprus. Another interesting feature of the tree is that the fruit grows on the trunk. Of course, the cool shade that the tree provides in the square also makes the tree very popular.
It is really excitinh to see its fruits...
Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque (St. Nicholas Cathedral) in the city centre is the pearl of Maðusa. This magnificent building is visible from all over the city. Rising from the heart of Maðusa, it is historical evidence of the harmonious union of stone, craftsmanship and art. The elegance and splendour of this building is comparable to gothic cathedrals in Europe. The cathedral was converted to a mosque after Cyprus was conquered by the Ottomans, at which time the minaret was added. Originally built in the 13th Century, St. Nicholas Cathedral did not just perform religious duties, since it was the location for ceremonies where Lusignan kings were crowned King of Jerusalem.
Lala Mustafa Paşa Mosque, previously St Nicholas Cathedral is quite a sight to behold - it looks like a church, and functions as a mosque - the only obvious sign of this change is a tall and "slim" minaret one top of one of the two towers.
The cathedral building dates back to 1300, and it took about 100 years to be completed. It's in Gothic style and - apparently - it was meant to look like the cathedral of Rheims in Paris - in this cathedral the Lusignans kings were crowned. It was turned into a mosque in 1571, when its name became Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and its frescos showing humans figures were plastered away, to make room for more Islamic-correct decorations.
magnificent gothic cathedral, commenced in 1300 and finished in 1400 (took them quite a time to finish it ;) if you close you eyes and forget that you are in Cyprus, you might think that you are standing somewhere in France (it reminded me of the great cathedral of Rheims). in 16 century the church has been converted into a Mosque. there is a three-hounded- years-old mulberry tree in front of the church, which you can make a wish under :)