|The Bayraktar Mosque|
Located on the Constanza Bastion, this was the first mosque built by the Ottomans after the conquest of Nicosia, although none of the original structure remains. It was rebuilt in 1820, restored in 1990, and is currently undergoing further restoration, so is closed for use.
The Constanza Bastion marks the spot where, in 1570, the Ottomans first scaled the walls, led by their flag carrier. He was cut down by the defenders, but his body was afterwards buried on the spot, and a mosque built and named in his honour (Bayraktar translates to Standard bearer). The mosque was originally surrounded by gardens on the bastion, but these have recently been replaced by a bus station. There is, however, a small area of garden outside the mosque where you can see the old washing pool and washing basins used for cleaning before prayer.
The mosque was the subject of attacks during the sectarian troubles of the mid 60s. On the 25th March 1962, Greek Independence Day, there were explosions in the Bayraktar mosque and the nearby Omeriye mosque. Four bombs exploded in the Bayraktar mosque, damaging the minaret. A fifth unexploded bomb was found the following day and removed by British bomb disposal experts. The attack was repeated on the 22nd January 1964, this time destroying the minaret, and the mosque was closed after this to prevent further damage. The mosque was reopened in 2003.
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