click on each image to view larger. Pictures
In front of the main entrance to the Lala
Mustafa Pasha Mosque (St Nicholas Cathedral) is a very old
tree of huge size as seen in the picture. It throws magnificent
shade over the courtyard, very necessary in those hot days of
summer when visitors are streaming into the cathedral. According
to the botanists, the tree was planted here when the cathedral
was built in 1220 A.D. making it 700 years old.
It is a variety
of tropical fig tree, with the botanical name of `Ficus Sycomorus',
a native of East Africa. The main trunk of the tree is
surrounded by smaller trunks which have grown into the main
trunk, and give it added support. It appears that they have
sprung up from the massive root system.
An old Turkish-Cypriot
who has lived all his life near to the cathedral exclaimed to
the writer, `There are seven of these trunks round the main
trunk, one for every hundred years'. Obviously, this is just
simple folk lore but there are scientific background to this.
surprised if some time in February the leaves all disappear,
giving the illusion that the tree has died. Yet in a month all
the leaves are back, covering the whole tree with dense green
foliage. The tree is what botanists call, `minimal deciduous'.
The tree is listed under the Department of Culture's National
Heritage List and is looked after by the Department of Forestry