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We’ve always wanted to go Cyprus as we heard that the foster mother/aunt of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH is buried there! It was for this reason that we made our way to Larnaca – a port city on the south coast of Cyprus.
We arrived in the evening of Saturday, 4th of August 2018. We rested up the first day and started early the next.
On the Sunday, we made our way to our first landmark; Hala Sultan Tekke [click here for directions and location]. Online, it is advertised to be open 24 hours but it actually closed around sunset when we got there so I suggest you get there around mid-morning. This way you can guarantee a visit.
The place is stunning & so beautiful! You’ll find a lot of cats here. There is a mosque here and a place to perform Wudhu [ablution]. There are also some graves of residents here – some from many many years ago.
Other Islamic Sites
After visiting this site, we became thirsty to find out actually how much Islamic history there is in Cyprus. Before we do this, it is useful to know that Christians and Muslims lived side by side all around Cyprus since 649 until 1974. That’s over 1300 years!
Many years ago, there was a war between the Cypriots and the Turkish for the Cypriot Island. Long story short, Turkey now owns the top half of the Island and the bottom half belongs to the Cypriots.
Anyways, because Muslims had lived in Cyprus for a very long time, you will still find mosques and Turkish influences in and around the island.
Check out some of the Mosques we visited below. Click here though for more information on each mosque.
Nicosia; A City That Belongs To Two Different Countries & Selimiye Mosque
It takes around 1 hour to drive from Larnaca to Nicosia. Once you reach Nicosia you will have to cross over from the Cypriot part of Nicosia to the Turkish part of Nicosia. You will need your passport and the security process only takes around 10-15 mins depending on the length of the queue.
It’s quite fascinating how the layout of the streets change, with local vendors advertising their products in a market style environment. Actually reminded us of Turkey itself! You hear Arabic & Turkish being spoken, and you also hear the Adhan from Selimiye Mosque.
This mosque is actually in operation. It lies in the Turkish owned part of the Island.
Halal Food in Cyprus
Nicosia is the largest city on the Island and there is also a really nice Halal Shawarma takeaway called Sham Food which is on Regenis Street, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Apart from that, we stuck to a vegetarian diet which consisted mainly of pitta bread, filled with grilled halloumi cheese and tahini. It’s a common dish in Cyprus; highly recommend it.
One thing I really liked was the availability of fresh produce and fruits in the markets of Nicosia. Walk around and you’ll be able to find something you like.
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