Hala Sultan Tekke, which is a mosque of great importance for the Muslim world
As we well know, Cyprus is an essential piece in the puzzle of the history of the Mediterranean Sea and its surroundings. Different cultures left their mark on the island throughout the centuries, and we see this reflected in ruins, buildings, geographic places, testimonies, and much more.
A landmark that we find in Cyprus is Hala Sultan Tekke, also known as the Umm Haram Mosque. This Muslim shrine is close to Larnaca and is located on the western shore of Salt Lake. The story goes that Hala Sultan, the nurse of the Prophet Muhammad and wife of Ubada bin al-Samit, passed away in this place. Without a doubt, this mosque is of great importance to the Muslim world. The location of its prehistoric site has a room with cultural features of various historical events.
The sanctuary was built in various stages. The first was under the direction of Sheikh Hassan in 1760. He was in charge of erecting the first structure of the mosque. Then, around 1816, the temple reached the shape it is today. In total, the complex consists of a mosque, mausoleum, minaret, cemetery, and accommodation for men and women.
According to UNESCO on its website, the story would go as follows: Umm Haram, Milham's daughter and relative of the Prophet Mohamet, accompanied the expedition commanded by an Arab sheikh, called "Mabias" (probably the famous Sultan Moawiyeh of Damascus). Umm Haram died in a horse-riding accident, and it is believed that she was buried at the site of Hala Sultan Tekke in 649 AD. The grave in question is located in a tomb-monument, believed to be related to two other monolithic structures in Cyprus. The Ottomans identified the tomb of Umm Haram after they invaded Cyprus in 1571. In 1760, Mehmet Aga, the governor of Cyprus, enclosed the grave with a wooden barrier. A year later, the wooden fence was replaced by a wall with two bronze doors.
As we said, we have several phases of the construction of the mosque. In classic Ottoman style, the current building belonged to the second phase of construction and was completed in 1817. Meanwhile, the convent was built in the third phase, in 1813, and the drinking fountain in 1830. The portico in front of the North facade of the mosque is a later addition.
For more than 50 years, the Department of Antiquities has carried out various conservation works on the entire complex. These works continue to this day. The objective is to preserve it in all its dimensions, carrying out permanent work on its masonry and wood, in addition to the various artistic elements.
Those wishing to visit the complex can do so throughout the year, except on Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Easter Sunday (Greek Orthodox). Access is free.