After a super vegetarian breakfast consisting of salad, olives, cheeses, egg and melon at our lovely hotel we spend the morning and early afternoon exploring Nicosia. The northern side of the city is much less developed and on our first day ,quiet as it is a Sunday so few shops are open. Our hotel is located not far from the city walls near the Kyrenia Gate which we pass on our way to Ataturk Square and then along the main street to a square where the Gothic cathedral church of St Sophia is located, since the 1570s it has been the Mosque of Selimiye. The exterior is s stark mix of Christian and Islamic architecture; Gothic arches which are richly carved, but then with twin minarets; incongruous! This continues inside; the soaring Gothic architecture contrasts with the very plain decoration, white walls with Islamic additions such as mihrabs to indicate the direction of Mecca. It is carpeted and there are separate areas for men and women. It is strange to see and quite an emotional experience.
Explore the streets around the area and see some interesting buildings, such as the Haydarpasa Mosque, what was once St Catherine’s church.