the conquest of Nicosia, the first Ottoman pious foundations (Vakif/Evkaf)
had also been established in Cyprus. St Sophia was registered as
a foundation of Selim and several shops, running water,
mill-houses and fields were added to this foundation and several
farm houses were established to contribute to the mosque with
their incomes. Some documents showing expenses and income of the
pious foundation during the 1893-94 period give us a hint about
the Pious foundations of Selim II. Lala Mustafa Pasha and Sinan
Pasha (the second governor of Cyprus). Therefore among these
were several shops, storerooms, the Great Inn, and the New Great
Inn and the millhouses in Nicosia that can be classified as the
foundation of Selim II. Among the pious foundations of Lala
Mustafa Pasha were the Great Bath, Ömeriye Bath and Ömeriye
Garden, tanners house, water of Balikitre. The Pir Ali Dede
Mosque in Limassol and some shops in Famagusta were recorded as
the foundations of Sinan Pasha. This document is important to
show us that the Great Inn was the foundation of Selim although
it is only referred as being constructed by Muzaffer Pasha, the
Pasha had written reports to the Government in Istanbul
describing the island and suggesting the possibilities for the
reorganisation of the island as a Turkish territory. In the
report dealing with Paphos and Kyrenia, he is describing Paphos
as a city that has the possibility to grow up since its coastal
area is having two natural ports, one of which could harbour 100
ships and the other one might give place to several towers on
which they could furnish with 50 canons.
report, the Government in Istanbul send an Imperial Order dated
November 16, 1570 which is registered in the book of Important
cases that a mosque and a bath must be constructed in both towns
and a safe castle must be built in Paphos and also the walls
must be restored immediately.
imperial order dated May 13, 1571 gives us the hint of the
presence of a medrese, schools in Nicosia before the conquest of
the island was completed.
documents studied for this research, it has been noticed that
priority was given to buildings which would satisfy the needs of
the early Turkish settlers. They preferred to make modest
buildings that would provide protection and peace to the island
rather then constructing large monumental buildings that would
show the grandeur of the Sultan. Even the largest mosques, one
St. Sophia of Nicosia and the other one the St. Nicholas of
Famagusta would always be referred as St. Sophia although they
are the pious foundations of Selim II. I was able to see that
only in one document, the one in Famagusta is referred to as the
Selimiye mosque, although nowadays it is called after the
conqueror as Lala Mustafa Pasha.
dated June 13, 1571 is rather interesting to show us the
traditions of the Ottoman Empire that wherever they captured,
they were always respectful to the rights and property of the
local people. It is required that three suitable houses must be
rented for the accommodation of the Governor, the chief judge
and the treasurer within the walls of the city. The rent and the
expenses for the restoration must be paid by the governor.
Rather then building large palaces or mansion houses, they made
use of the existing buildings.
The budget book
from the period of Djafer Pasha, the governor dated 1598/99
refers to two Governor's palace, one in Nicosia, the other one
description of the Governor's palace in Nicosia are also present
in travel books. This was a palace remained from the Venetian
period, but the interior side was completely modified according
to the Turkish traditions. According to the descriptions, the
rooms exhibited finest wood carvings and Turkish textiles. This
was pulled down by the British government at the beginning of
this century in order to build the new government buildings.
Some of the
existing large buildings that we can classify as mansion houses
today are mostly built on the remains of the Venetian buildings.
The building restored and used by the Union of the
municipalities today is a good example to this kind of Turkish
houses. Another fine example is a beautiful Turkish house in
Famagusta, the outside walls of which are in Venetian example.
and building activities carried on in Cyprus following the days
of the conquest of the whole island was carried on three main
aims: 1- To provide full protection to the island. 2- To provide
the necessary peaceful and hygienic conditions to the towns 3-
To enable the people to carry on their religious activities with
to provide the protection of the island were nevertheless the
restoration and construction of new castles. The Books called Mühimme
which are the records of important cases and the Ruus Books,
which are the war records are abounding with several imperial
orders dealing with these activities. From one of these we can
learn that an architect called Bostan was appointed particularly
to the restoration and building of the fortresses upon the
application of Muzaffer Pasha, the first governor of Cyprus.
Bostan was to do this with a wage of 20 akçe (piasters).
The walls in
Nicosia were repaired and the Kyrenia Gate was modified by the
addition of a guard room to the top.
also show that part of the fortresses of Famagusta were restored
while some parts were reconstructed completely. Following the
orders received from the Government in Istanbul Djanbulat
bastion was restored from the ground to the top while Akkule
Bastion (The Ravelin Old Land Gate) and Dervis Pasha (Halkali
Tower or Camposanto Bastion just next to Djanbulat bastion on
south-east direction) were constructed by the Turks and these
were completed by June 20, 1572. Also, with an order dated
August 20, 1572, they started to restore the bridge of the
was a very early order for the restoration of the fortress and
construction of a new tower in 1570, we are not sure whether
they started to do this project. A document dated March 17, 1574
send to the Governor and treasurer of the island gives the
information that they objected to the plan designed for the new
tower since it would be rather expensive. This was followed by
an order sent to them to start the construction based on the
plan prepared, under the supervision of Ahmed who was appointed
as the chief commander to the Janissaries in Paphos. The
inscription tablet of the Paphos castle also indicate that it
was built by Hafiz Ahmed Pasha and completed in 1001 H.(
A.D.1592 ). The inscription on the castles of Larnaca and
Limassol also show us that they were built by the Turks. The
Larnaca castle was completed in 1605.
bridges, fountains, inns (caravanserais) , medreses and tekkes
were constructed by the Turks. But they were careful to make use
of the existing buildings and only in cases where the present
buildings are not adequate to answer for the needs of the
customs and traditions of the Turks, new ones were constructed.
above mentioned Great Inn (Büyük Han) which was amongst vakifs
(the pious foundations) of Selim II was one of the largest of
all of these buildings. There is almost no other document for
more information about this building for the time being. But, an
imperial order dated January 9, 1577 sent to the treasurer of
Cyprus, and the judge of Nicosia and Gülnar is giving us some
information about the construction of a caravanserai or inn in
Nicosia. According to the record, the Government in Istanbul was
informed that a caravanserai was built in Nicosia by the
Governor of the island at the spot where Sultan Selim had built
some shops as a part of his foundation that would financially
support the mosque, after pulling them down. It is required that
the caravanserai must be purchased in the Sultan's name if the
income is adequate but otherwise, the caravanserai had to be
pulled down and his shops must be reconstructed on the same
plan. Great Inn in Lefkosa is under restoration today, while
Gamblers' Inn is open to visitors.
Water was taken
to Nicosia after the conquest. 25,800 akça (piaster) was given
for the construction of the aqueducts from the first year budget
of the island. The order dated April 17, 1572, saying that water
that was taken to the outskirts of Nicosia must be carried to
the mosque as well, is reminding us the possibility that the
fountain of the mosque at the entrance facing the Bedesten
building was also constructed during the same year.
document is giving us the date of construction of the Haydar
Pasha fountain. Haydar Agha, the commander of the Volunteer
soldiers was given a permission to build a fountain next to the
mosque that he had restored and converted from a church into a
mosque recently by the imperial order dated December 6, 1573.
fountain that can be dated is the fountain of Djafer Pasha in
Famagusta. We have the original inscription tablet of the
fountain today while the fountain itself is a later construction
on the same spot of the original one which was pulled down. The
date on the fountain is 1597. Also, the Vakfiye, the records of
his pious foundations mention about the fountain and a bath he
had built as well as his other buildings including the aqueducts
that carried water to Famagusta. The fountain built by Ali Ruhi
Efendi in 19th century is one of the best examples.
In the later
years, several other fountains were added and aqueducts were
constructed by the Turks to carry water to the cities. The 16th
century aqueducts in Lapta built by Haydar Pasha and 18th
century Aqueducts of Bekir Pasha and the Arif Pasha Aqueducts,
that little information is known about them can be given as
examples to our lecture.
is no document to show the construction of the earliest Turkish
bath in Cyprus for the time being, the letter of the Governor
concerning Paphos and Kyrenia saying that baths must be
constructed both in Paphos and Kyrenia, is reminding us that
there was possibly a Bath in Nicosia then, from the earlier
days. And in fact, since the pious foundation document we
mentioned above belonging to the end of 19th century gave us the
information that Great Bath and Ömeriye Baths were the
foundations of Lala Mustafa Pasha, it is possible that they were
constructed in the first and second year of the conquest.
written by the kadi of Nicosia and Kyrenia dated 17 October,
1573 is telling the desire of Ahmet Bey, The Principal of Alanya
to built a bath in Kyrenia, outside the castle, on the coast
since there is no bath for the use of the true Moslems.
written to the teacher of Semaniye called Mevlana Pir Mehmed and
to the judge of Nicosia on May 1578 is a good document to show
us the presence of a medrese called Dar'ül Hedaya ( "The
Presented School) built by Sultan Selim II as a pious
As for the
libraries, the best example today is from the beginning of 19th
century. This is the library of Mahmud II. It is one of the
prettiest example of the Turkish architecture on the island.
There is no other building at the moment that we can classify as
library. However, we know that a library called Muradiye which
was established within St. Sophia Mosque by Murad III, son of
Selim II and developed in later periods together with the names
of several other libraries.
the new Ottoman buildings the existing monuments particularly
the Latin buildings were used for several purposes. St. Nicholas
Church, which was supposed to be the Orthodox centre during the
Latin period in the St. Sofia market place, was modified to be
used as a bedesten "closed market where they sell the
luxurious merchandise" in May, 1579. According to some
documents of the court register books there were some more
closed markets in Cyprus and these were usually called suk. An
engraving published in The Illustrated London News in 1878
depicts another closed market (Bedesten) in Larnaca with Turkish
people in their traditional costumes.
document dated May 25 1579 is about an imperial order that a
mint house must be built in Cyprus. The document says that there
are several Venetian coins which are not used at the moment.
Therefore a mint house must be established for the melting and
minting of fresh coins.
religious purposes, primarily as we mentioned above they made
use of the Latin churches by converting them into mosques.
St.Sophia, which is called today as Selimiye Mosque, Haydarpasha
Mosque which was St. Catherina Church, Ömeriye Mosque which was
St. Augustine in Nicosia and in Famagusta St. Nicholas Cathedral
which is today called Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and St. Peter
and St .Paul church which is called Sinan Pasha today are the
examples to these early mosques. The interiors of these
buildings had been furnished with altar, pulpits and other
necessary items and the windows which were supposed to have
stain glass decorations depicting bible scenes were replaced
with simple glass and geometrical traceries. Thus, we have a new
synthesis for this Gothic architecture with these new additions.
In addition to
these, a masjid or a small mosque was built to the top of the
entrance gate of the palace during the first years of the
conquest in Nicosia. Also, we learn from the memories of
Caleppio, a Venetian that was published in 1573 that the Turks
had built a small mosque on the bastion of Bayraktar. The
inscription tablet of the Akkule masjid gives us the date of its
construction as 1619.
The Governor of
Cyprus had sent a letter to the Sultan to enquire his wishes for
the number of minarets to be built to the mosques in Nicosia and
Famagusta that are lacking of any minarets then . Soon after an
imperial order dated May 1, 1572 gives the order that two
minarets must be built to the one in Nicosia, and one minaret to
be built to the mosque in Famagusta. In later years, new mosques
were constructed in Cyprus by the Turks. Arabahmet Mosque in
Nicosia, Hala Sultan Mosque in Larnaca can be considered as the
best examples of the Turkish mosque architecture in Cyprus.
A census held
in Nicosia in 1723, 150 years later then the conquest, gives us
a good information that 4000 houses, 16 quarters, 2 large
mosques, 2 mosques, 14 mescids (smaller mosques which is used
for daily praying except the Friday and Bairam praying) 3
medreses (schools), 4 tekkes, 5 baths, 31 fountains and 6
libraries were present within this city.
about the Turkish architecture in Cyprus can be obtained from
the existing inscription tablets and the travel books written by
the foreigners as well as the archival sources.
the inscriptions found on the monuments are leading us to
mistake as we had seen with the example of the fountain built by
Djafer Pasha in Famagusta. Thus, precise information can be
obtained by comparing the existing information with the land
several examples of traditional Turkish houses almost in every
part of Cyprus. Dervish Pasha Mansion is a 19th
century house which is arranged as an ethnographical museum
picture reflects Turkish houses in Tanzimat Street in Nicosia.