The City of Nicosia (Lefkoşa), Cyprus  -


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Nicosia, Cyprus


Beautifully carved Gothic door of the Bedestan on the northern side is a good example of French mediaeval stone carvingOn the south side of the Selimiye is a Greek church built in the Byzantine and mediaeval styles. It is called the Bedestan, meaning covered market, and this it was, until the municipal market moved to buildings on the other side of the road. 

The building was constructed in the 12th century as a Byzantine church (The St. Nicholas Church). It was later enlarged by some Gothic annexes built by the Lusignans. After some more changes in the Venetian period, the building was given to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis.

The building with its different architectural styles is of a hybrid nature.

In the Ottoman period, it served as a depot and a market where mostly textile products were sold. 

The masonry on its northern entrance resembles the masonry on the entrance of the St. Sophia Cathedral.

The Bedestan is now preserved as an ancient monument and the interior has many fallen marble and granite columns, probably Roman, and it shows that the Bedestan was once a much larger church.

Looking around the church, one can still see the effects of the severe earthquakes of centuries ago. The guide will show you a vaulted room full of mediaeval tombstones, many having the coats of arms of crusader knights. 

The best photograph to take is that of the beautifully carved Gothic door on the northern side. It is a good example of French mediaeval stone carving. Quite a mystery is why two such large churches were built so close together.

The two tall minarets of the Selimiye mosque form a very prominent landmark in Nicosia. Coming down from the mountains on the Kyrenia road, and just before reaching Gönyeli, one can pinpoint Nicosia by these twin towers. 

The next time you fly over Nicosia, you will hardly notice the mosque, but most conspicuous of all are the Venetian encircling walls with their eleven polygonal bastions.


  • Dreghorn, W., The Antiquities of Turkish Nicosia, Rustem Publishers, Nicosia.



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