Haydar Pasha Mosque (St Catherine's Church) in Nicosia, North Cyprus.
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North Cyprus > North Cyprus Guide > Nicosia > Sights > Haydar Pasha Mosque (St Catherine's Church)
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Haydar Pasha Mosque
(St Catherine's Church)

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The Church of St Catherine was built in the late fourteenth century, but like the larger St Sophia Cathedral, it appears it wasn’t quite finished. To the north of the apse is a strange room which rises the entire height of the church, possibly the foundations for a tower that was never completed. However, the elegant Gothic windows and warm yellow sandstone used to build the church make it a very pretty building to visit on your North Cyprus holiday.

Minarets and Carvings at St Catherine’s, North Nicosia

Like so many churches in Nicosia, the Ottomans converted the church for use as a mosque, and added a minaret to the original building. Interestingly, they did not use the tower base, but instead put the minaret on the southwest corner, a rather odd position. A few stone carvings in the church also survived the Ottoman’s conversion process mosque, and these remain some of the few surviving Gothic carvings in North Cyprus; a lovely ornamental poppy, for example, is carved over the south door.

Windows and Gargoyles at the Haydar Pasha Mosque, North Nicosia

As with St Sophia Cathedral, it’s well worth looking up at the carved stone gargoyles, their gaping mouths designed to carry water away from the roof and sandstone walls. The prize features of the building are the tall, arcaded windows, so tall in fact that the walls needed strengthening with extra buttresses to support them. The west façade has a Catherine window, shaped like the wheel on which the saint was martyred.

The building changed use in 1994, from a marriage registration office to an elegant private art gallery, and sympathetic restoration ensures that this pretty building has a positive future ahead of it. It’s free to walk around the art gallery too, so you can admire the elegant fan vaulted ceiling in this airy and enchanting building. So, if you like art and fine buildings, make sure the Haydar Pasha Mosque is on your Northern Cyprus holiday list of "must-sees"!