Hala Sultan Tekke is a historic mosque located in Larnaca, Cyprus. This mosque is considered one of the most important Islamic religious sites in Cyprus and attracts visitors from all over the world. It is built on the site where the aunt of the Prophet Muhammad, Umm Haram, is buried and is named after her.
In this article, we will explore the history, significance, and practical information about visiting Hala Sultan Tekke.
History of Hala Sultan Tekke
The history of Hala Sultan Tekke is closely tied to the history of Islam in Cyprus. According to tradition, Umm Haram, the aunt of the Prophet Muhammad, died during a military campaign in Cyprus in the 7th century. Her body was buried at the site where the mosque now stands, making it one of the oldest Islamic religious sites in Cyprus.
The mosque has undergone several renovations and expansions over the centuries, with the current structure dating back to the 18th century. During the Ottoman rule of Cyprus, the mosque was considered an important religious and cultural center for the Muslim community. It was also a popular pilgrimage destination for Muslims visiting the island.
In the early 20th century, the mosque was used as a school and later as a storage facility. After the division of Cyprus in 1974, the mosque fell into disrepair and was almost forgotten. However, in the 1980s, the mosque was restored and reopened as a place of worship and a tourist attraction. Today, it is considered one of the most important Islamic religious sites in Cyprus and continues to be a popular pilgrimage destination for Muslims.
Hala Sultan Tekke is considered one of the most prominent Islamic holy places in Cyprus, as it is the only mosque in the country that contains the tomb of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad. Additionally, it is believed that a visit to the tomb of Umm Haram brings blessings and good fortune.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2017, Hala Sultan Tekke was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an extension to the existing World Heritage site of the "Ancient City of Salamis". UNESCO cites the historical and architectural value of the mosque as well as its religious significance as the main reasons for its inclusion in the list. As a World Heritage site, it is protected and preserved by UNESCO, ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate its beauty and cultural significance.
The inclusion to the UNESCO World Heritage list also brought attention to the rich Islamic heritage of Cyprus and highlighted the importance of preserving it. Furthermore, it also contributed to the development of cultural tourism in the area, and it has been attracting visitors from all over the world who are interested in the Islamic culture and heritage.
Visiting a UNESCO World Heritage site is a unique opportunity to experience and learn about the history and culture of a place, and Hala Sultan Tekke is no exception. It is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Larnaca, Cyprus, and its position on the UNESCO World Heritage list is a testament to its historical and cultural significance.
Getting to Hala Sultan Tekke
Hala Sultan Tekke is located in Larnaca, Cyprus and can be reached by car, bus, or taxi. The closest airport is Larnaca International Airport, which is located just a few kilometers from the mosque. Visitors can also take a bus or a taxi from the airport to the mosque.
The entry to Hala Sultan Tekke is free.
The mosque is open to visitors every day of the week, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The mosque is wheelchair accessible.
There are several hotels and guesthouses in the area, including the Four Seasons Hotel, the Golden Bay Beach Hotel, and the Palm Beach Hotel.
Nearby sites and attractions
There are several other sites and attractions nearby, including Finikoudes Beach, the Larnaca Salt Lake, and the Larnaca Medieval Castle.
- The mosque's minaret is the only one in Cyprus that has a spiral staircase.
- The site’s dome is adorned with intricate geometric patterns and calligraphy.
- The mosque's courtyard is home to a large number of palm trees, providing a beautiful oasis for visitors.
Pro travel tips
- Visitors should dress modestly when visiting the mosque and remove their shoes before entering.
- The mosque is busiest during the weekends and on religious holidays, so it's best to plan your visit during the weekdays.
- Visitors should be mindful of the mosque's operating schedule, as it is closed to visitors during the Friday afternoon prayer.
About Larnaca, Cyprus
Larnaca is a city located on the south coast of Cyprus. It is known for its beautiful beaches, historic sites, and rich culture. Visitors to Larnaca can also enjoy a variety of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the city's many shops and restaurants.
Do you need to book in advance to visit Hala Sultan Tekke?
Answer: No, booking in advance is not necessary for this site.
Can non-Muslims visit Hala Sultan Tekke?
Answer: Yes, the mosque is open to visitors of all religions.
Is there a dress code to visit the mosque?
Answer: Yes, visitors can adhere to the dress code by dressing modestly and removing their shoes before entering the mosque.
Is there a guided tour of the mosque?
Answer: Some visitors prefer to have a guide to help them understand more about the history of the mosque and its significance, however, it is not mandatory.
Can I take pictures inside the mosque?
Answer: Visitors are allowed to take photos inside the mosque, but should be mindful of the mosque's sanctity and not take photos during prayer times.
Is there a restaurant or a place to eat near the mosque?
Answer: There are some restaurants and cafes near the mosque, but it is advised to check the opening hours and availability before visiting.
Are there any parking facilities near the mosque?
Answer: There is a parking lot near the mosque, but it is limited and it is advisable to arrive early to find a spot.