Did you know

30 May 2023

Did you know? Bayraktar Mosque

Standing at the OXI roundabout on the right is a small mosque where the first Bayraktar, standard bearer, raised the Ottoman flag in 1571 and was killed and buried there, hence the mosque in his honour. This bastion was later called the Bayraktar Bastion during the Ottoman period. The tomb of the fallen flag-bearer lies next to the mosque, but the name of this person remains uncertain. Some sources call him Alemdar Kara Mustafa, some Alemdar Mehmet Ağa, while a story amongst Nicosians holds his name as "Deli Cafer" ("Mad Cafer").

What is known is that there was at first a grave on the site, which was later converted to a tomb and then a masjid. A marble inscription dated 1756/57 on the tomb says that Hasan Agha, the governor of Cyprus, dedicated the tomb to the soul of his deceased mother. In 1767, the Italian traveller Giovanni Mariti recorded that there was a masjid with no minaret alongside a tomb. A minaret was added by Abdullah Pasha in 1820/21. The tomb underwent an extensive, renovation in 1909, and it is believed that up to 1930 the mosque held hairs from the beard of the prophet Muhammad. On religious occasions, visitors would kiss the beard three times and then place it on their foreheads. This relic was stolen on 27 November 1930.

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and Active Citizens Fund.

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