Larnaka, true to its multi-cultural character, plays host to a number of significant mosques that traverse its history, offering an exhilarating insight into some fascinating sights of muslim worship.
Hala Sultan Tekke
This historic mosque is located 3km west of Larnaka on the road to Kiti, on the central and famous Salt Lake. After the Arab armies landed successfully in Larnaka in 648AD, the Holy Helper and aunt of Mohamed, Umm Haram, died here as a result of an accident. Grand Khalif Moavia, who was taking part in the expedition, immediately ordered the construction of a mosque on the spot. The mosque was renovated in 1816 to appear as it does today. In the year 2002, a new renovation and reconstruction was undertaken by UNOPS. Hala Sultan mosque is now the main Muslim pilgrimage site of Cyprus and among the most important holy places of Islam.
Extraordinary archaeological excavations in the same year revealed that the place has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Some archaeologists believe that the tomb of Umm Haram is a monumental monolithic tomb of the prehistoric period of the place. For more information click here
. To hear the CTO audio guides about Hala Sultan Tekke click here
The Touzla Mosque
This mosque is located near to the Metropolis Square and the Church of the Saviour, on Metropolitou Nicomedias Street, and is one of the oldest buildings surviving in the town. It was turned into a mosque after the Ottoman occupation of 1571. Prior to this, it used to be the Catholic Church of the Holy Cross. Perhaps this church was founded as an Orthodox Church, but, as can be observed, one of its characteristic three corridors was demolished. Its Byzantine origin is also indicated by recently discovered wall paintings. Opposite this mosque, an elegant stone public water fountain of Venetian origin exists, maintained in excellent condition.
Beyuk or Kebir Tzami
This important mosque of the 18th century can be found at the end of Athens Avenue, just opposite the Larnaka Medieval Castle. Beyuk Mosque is perhaps the first Ottoman mosque in Cyprus as they landed their armies in Larnaka without any Venetian resistance. Before it became a mosque, Beyuk Tzami was a Catholic Church devoted to Santa Katerina, most likely of 13th - 14th century origin. The mosque is today being used to serve the religious needs of the Muslims of Larnaka.
Between the Beyuk Mosque and the Church of St. Lazarus on Nicolaou Rossou Street one can find the Zuhuri Mosque. Built in the middle of the 19th century as a muslim religious centre, its minaret unfortunately collapsed in the 20th century.