Selimiye Mosque, Nicosia

Selimiye Mosque, Nicosia (must see)

Once it was the cathedral of Saint Sophia, then it became Ayasofya. As a cathedral it makes a fine mosque. The Selimiye Mosque is the main mosque of Nicosia and the oldest remaining Gothic church in Cyprus. The Lusignan church turned mosque is built over the bones of an earlier Byzantine church. Its interior dimensions are 217 feet by 69 feet.

The mosque can hold 2500 souls at a time. It is the largest historical building in town. It was the coronation church of the kings of Cyprus. The original Byzantine church was called Hagia Sophia or "Holy Wisdom." The existence of this early church is mentioned in an 11th century manuscript and some remains continue to be found.

The foundation stone for the Cathedral of Saint Sophia was laid in 1209. The Cathedral was completed in 1249 after the arrival on the island of King Louis IX of France. The Cathedral suffered some damage from earthquakes and Genoese raids. Saint Sophia's became the center of the city with the building of the Venetian walls.

In 1570, after a 50-day siege, the city fell to the Ottomans and the Cathedral became a mosque just in time for Friday prayers. The first imam climbed to the pulpit leaning on a sword used in the siege. This custom continued until 1949. In 1954 the mosque was officially named Selimiye Mosque in memory of Selim II, Ottoman ruler during the siege.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Nicosia. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Selimiye Mosque on Map

Sight Name: Selimiye Mosque
Sight Location: Nicosia, Cyprus (See walking tours in Nicosia)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Nicosia, Cyprus

Create Your Own Walk in Nicosia

Create Your Own Walk in Nicosia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Nicosia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Nicosia Shopping Tour

Nicosia Shopping Tour

Nicosia, being the capital of such an exotic country as Cyprus, couldn't be a better shopping spot for tourists. Offering a traditional Turkish market, folk art, crafts and fashionable shops and boutiques, Nicosia has something for everyone. Take this self-guided tour to discover the best of Nicosia shopping.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Greek Old Town Walking Tour

Greek Old Town Walking Tour

Nicosia is Cyprus’s capital and its largest city. It is Europe’s last divided capital, with Turkish Cypriots living on the north side and Greek Cypriots living on the south side.

Nicosia has been continuously occupied for over 4,500 years and has been Cyprus's capital for over 1,000 years. It has a turbulent political history, and the Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, and British have...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Turkish Old Town Walking Tour

Turkish Old Town Walking Tour

Nicosia wasn't always Nicosia. It was originally called Leukosia. In Greek mythology Leukosia was a siren, a daughter of Achelous, a river god, and Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy. They had several daughters, Leukosia was one.

Others say the first settlers were Achaean veterans of the Trojan War. They appeared on the plain of Mesaoria by the river Pedieos in 2,500 BC. They formed the city...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles