Omerghe (Omeriye within the walls), Nicosia

Omerghe (Omeriye within the walls), Nicosia

”In 1570, the important church situated close to the south of the city and between the Constanza and Podocataro received the full force of the bombardment. As a consequence the building was completely shot away down to the level of the window sills. The remains of the side walls were afterwards utilized for a mosque by the Turks who have covered over the area of the church with a plain wood roof supported on pointed arches after the fashion of the local bazaar.

According to a legend the Caliph Omar visited Nicosia on his way from Damascus to Egypt and lodged in the porch of a ruined church. When Mustapha the Turkish General heard of this in 1570, he proceeded to identify the Augustinian church with its porch as the lodging of Omar, and the mosque then instituted called the ‘Omerie’.

Although the upper portion of the church was completely demolished in 1570, certain features of the original building survive to give an idea of its important architectural character.”

The Omeriye mosque used to be the Church of Saint Mary of the monastery of the Augustinian monks, dating back to the 14th century. Ruins of the monastery were preserved up to the 17th century. It has a minaret with two galleries. The mosque is open for services on a permanent basis.

Prayer: Friday 12:30 – 13:30hrs

Sources: George Jeffery (1918) and Muslim places of worship in Cyprus (Published by the Press and Information Office, Republic of Cyprus)

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