Historical Places in Lapta

Mosques

a) Haydarpaşa Mehmet Bey Mosque (Lower Mosque)

Lower Lapta – (In the south) this structure, constructed of stone blocks, in the Old Turkish Quarter, and is planned in square form. There is no main congregation area. The top of the structure, which sits upon an octagonal rim, is covered by a dome and each of its four corners, by smaller half domes. The outer construction is supported with pillars. From the outside the low arches with their iron railings and from the inside, the timber winged windows provide ample light to the mosque, it is interesting to note the date of 1287 (of the Hicri – Muslim calendar) 1870 above one of the iron railings, which is thought to have some connection to the dates of when the mosque was built or repaired. In the north-eastern corner and set apart from the mosque, there is a single-balconied minaret made of stone blocks. There is a stone engraved with the date 1911 at the entrance door of the minaret. In the courtyard there are three graves without inscriptions, one of which whose is unidentified, with the other two belonging to Hacı Hüseyin of Diyarbakır and Mustafa Karakadı. According to rumours in the past, the grave belonging to the grandson of Küçük Mehmet and a mass grave were said to be located here.

b) Seyit Mehmet Ağa Mosque (Upper Mosque)

Seyit Mehmet Ağa Mosque is known as the Upper Lapta Mosque because it is situated in upper Lapta. Constructed from stone blocks it is planned in rectangular form, and stretches from the east to the west. Even though it may not have an inscription, it is believed to have been built sometime in the middle of the 17th Century. In front of the main congregational area in the north are three arched spaces with another two on both sides; two rectangular pillars on each side of it sit upon double centred arches, which hold up the slanted timber ceiling of the main congregational area. It is possible to enter the mosque from here through the door of the low arch, which is seen to support the two arches on the roof of the mosque that stretch from north to south. Opposite the entrance door of the altar, on the southern wall, there is an engraved wooden pulpit, which is on the right hand side of the altar. The original minaret of the mosque was totally destroyed in 1974, but in 1976 the Pious Foundation, without considering its original features constructed a new one in concrete. The Upper Lapta Mosque is one of our religious structures that have been damaged as a result of the many Greek Cypriot attacks of the past.

Churches and Chapels

Churches

1  a)Ayios Minas Church:

Saint Minas Church, built in 1843, is a building, which has two passageways, which are divided by heavy pillars. There is a large early 18th Century icon there, depicting Saint Minas on a horse.

Ayios Minas parish church lies in the east of the town. The church was erected in 1843. Ayios Minas was born in Egypt. He was a soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. He converted to Christianity. Subsequently he followed the monastic life. He outspokenly preached the Christian faith. For this reason he was brutally tortured by the pagans who in the end decapitated him. His remains were buried in Lake Mareotidha in Egypt, where Arkadhios constructed a magnificent temple. In this same parish high up on an imposing rock lies the Chapel of Ayios Yeorghios Spiliotis – St George the Caveman.

b) Apostle Loukas Church - 1850

c) Ayios Theodoros Church:

Saint Theordoros Church was built in 1834. There are two giant white pillars in its courtyard embossed with Byzantine crosses. In the 17th Century gallery, there are two pairs of finely painted holy doors.

d) Timiou Prodromou Church - 1750

e) Ayia Anastasia Church

Saint Anastasia, is a modern church that has an extravagant number of icons adorning its walls. There are three large icons dating back to 1772, which previously belonged to the old church. Here, there is a well-preserved Bemada, (The area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir; often enclosed by a lattice or railing), and a boundary stone made of limestone, and a Seleukion grave stone, embossed and decorated with grape vine branches. The imposing parish church of Ayia Anastasia, constructed at the end of the 19th century lies at the summit of the citadel of ancient Lapithos. Ayia Anastasia Farmakolytria lived during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. She was born into a pagan family. Her parents incarcerated her along with her husband. After their death she was released, distributed her wealth to the poor and preached Christianity. She was tortured and in the end decapitated. Her corpse was thrown into the fire and finally into the sea. Patriarch Leontios A’ brought her remains to Constantinople. He ordered the erection of a church dedicated to Ayia Anastasia. She is celebrated on 22 December every year. Ayia Anastasia parish boasts also a chapel dedicated to Ayia Evdokia, the wise and benevolent saint.

f) SAINT PARASKEVI CHURCH:

Saint Paraskevi Church was built next to the remains of an older church in 1892; many icons leftover from the old church can be found in the church. The most interesting of these is a tall panel depicting Saint Paraskevi donated to the church by someone named Michael in 1701. Among the others, there is one that portrays Saint Pantelemon, a late 18th century rococo frame and a small disc.

The church of Ayia Paraskevi at the centre of the town was built in 1892. It is situated at the highest point of Lapithos. The most recent church of all five, Ayia Paraskevi boasts a tuneful bell in an impressively high belfry. The tunes coming out of this bell could be heard all over Lapithos. Saint Paraskevi lived in Rome in the second century A.D. She was executed by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (161-180 A.D.). Saint Paraskevi is a very popular saint in Greece. Thus many churches in the Greek world are dedicated to her. She is celebrated on 26 July. Ayia Paraskevi parish boasts also three chapels: Ayios Andronicos, Ayios Kournountas and Archangel.

Chapel.

a) Panayias Airkotissas Chapel & Cemetary 
(AYIOS THEODOROS)

Saint Theodhoros came from Irakleia in Pontos, Northern Asia Minor. He was an Army Commander. In his expeditions he was always mounted. The congregation of Ayios Theodhoros kept also another two chapels: Panayia Kriniotissa in a craggy spot southwards and Ayia Marina on the grounds of the parish’s threshing floors.

Within a distance of two kilometres east of the church of Ayios Theodhoros lies the church of Apostolos Loukas – Apostle Luke. In between these two parishes lies the Turkish quarter of the town. The Chapel of Saint Mamas, whose holiday is 2nd September, is found in the parish of Apostolos Loukas. Saint Mamas is known as the patron of flocks. Turkish shepherds from the Turkish quarter were also praying for help in St Mamas Chapel whenever their flocks suffered from epidemics.

b) Ayias Marinas Chapel

Legend has it that Ayios Theodhoros Church was a chapel in a cemetery. Later the cemetery was transferred to an Airkotissa site. Contributions from the faithful made possible the construction of new church in 1843. An olive press was also installed which proved to be of great use. In the church’s interior old Byzantine books and icons were kept.

c) Ayios Mamas Cemetery Chapel 
(Ayios Loukas)

d) AYIOS GEORGIOS CHAPEL 
(AYIA PARASKEVI)

e) AGIOS KOURNOUTAS CHAPEL 
(AYIA PARASKEVI)

The church of Ayia Paraskevi at the centre of the town was built in 1892. It is situated at the highest point of Lapithos. The most recent church of all five, Ayia Paraskevi boasts a tuneful bell in an impressively high belfry. The tunes coming out of this bell could be heard all over Lapithos. Saint Paraskevi lived in Rome in the second century A.D. She was executed by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (161-180 A.D.). Saint Paraskevi is a very popular saint in Greece. Thus many churches in the Greek world are dedicated to her. She is celebrated on 26 July. Ayia Paraskevi parish boasts also three chapels: Ayios Andronicos, Ayios Kournountas and Archangel.

ARCHAGGELOS CEMETARY CHAPEL 
(AYIA PARASKEVI)

AYIA EUDOKIA CEMETARY COUNTRY CHAPEL 
(AYIAS ANASTASIAS)

AGIOS ANDRONIKOS COUNTRY CHAPEL 
(AYIA PARASKEVI)

3- Springs and Water Mills:

a)Başpınar

b)Adrikos Pınarı

c)Koufi Petra Pınarı

d)Drakontas Pınarı

e)Kaplani Değirmeni

g)Agathokleous Değirmeni

f)Kouzoumbanai Su Değirmeni

j)Kefalovrysos Değirmeni

AHIROPIETOS MONASTERY

The monastery, which is situated west of the Lambousa Ruins, is renowned as one of the most important historical structures in Cyprus. The word Ahkiropletos means ‘built untouched by human hand’. According to legend, the whole building was brought over by the Virgin Mary from Anatolia in one night as it was under threat of being destroyed and trashed by pagans.

The miracle creating ‘sacred handkerchief of Saint Veronica’ was inscribed in an icon in the church. Alongside this, according to an old Cypriot legend, Jesus’ Shroud was also housed here. The Shroud was transported by the palace prince and was handed over to Turin Cathedral where it is found today. Whatever its history may be, the church has been, up until today, one of the oldest structures found in the country

ST. EVALIOS CHURCH

St.Evalios Church can be found at the centre of the Lambousa ruins. Evalios was one of the first settlements of the ‘Sea of Laphites’. But this structure, belonging to the 15th century, has fortunately been preserved in a good state. The most attractive characteristic of its interior are the separate grey cipollino marble columns which serve to hold up the passage in the large central area of the church. The three columns have been painstakingly and carefully sculptured to match the circumference of the fourth one, also the upper part of this structure has been embossed with a Byzantine Cross. This church is situated on the coast, north east of the Ahkiropietos Monastery. Its architectural characteristics are a combination of Gothic and Byzantine styles.  The existing church, belonging to the Early Christian period, is believed to have been built over the remnants of a large church (presumed to belong to XV-XIV A.D centuries). One of the columns of the arch (4 in number) belonging to the old structure is inscribed with a Byzantine Cross. Studies during the excavation of the church revealed remnants of three mosaic ground coverings on top of each other that belonged to three different periods. Supported by this information, the church is believed to have overhauled three times and dated back to, in sequential order, VI, XI and XVI A.D.

FISH POOLS

One of the places that attracts most interest at the Lambousa ruins are the fish pools carved out of the rocks found on the coast which are believed to belong to the Roman period. The biggest of them (27 by 14 metres) particularly attracts the attention of visitors. The people of Lambousa, who earned their livelihoods from trading and chiefly from fishing during the Roman period, most probably bred fish or kept the live fish they had caught, in these pools. They found it necessary to undertake this sort of practice in order to sell fish in a fresh state. It can be seen that water circulation has been provided to keep the fish alive.  The façade and sides have canals that can be opened and closed with wooden hatches. When fresh water was needed in the fish pools the stale water was emptied into the sea through canals and replaced by fresh water by using this system. It is also known that these pools, which are known widely as the ‘Fish Pools’ have also, though rarely, been called the ‘Queens baths’.

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