The Selimiye Mosque is one of
the most important mosques in North Cyprus (all the great Muslim
festivals being conducted here), as well as being one of the
finest examples of Gothic architecture on the island. Formerly
the Cathedral of St. Sophia, the current building was
constructed in the 13th century, but in 1976, it was discovered
to have been built over the ruins of an even earlier building.
Many Lusignan nobles and kings are buried under the mosque and
the carved windows are a fine example of the beauty of Gothic
art. Fortunately, the building has defied several powerful
earthquakes over the centuries due to its very large and strong
flying buttresses. Then, during the Ottomans period, minarets
were built over the two partial belfries on either side of the
entrance and its walls whitewashed to give the strikingly airy
and spacious feel inside the building today.
Iskele / Karpaz