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Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
 
 
 
 
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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 31

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a small Gothic building with a porch supported by six columns of different marbles. The vault within rests on four pillars, which form three aisles : between the pillars are set little columns with their bases and capitals, well preserved but so daubed with whitewash that one cannot see of what stone or marble they are. On the left as you leave the mosque is a minaret built on the foundations of the old bell tower. This is a kind of tower, from which the Turks call the faithful to prayer. A garden adjoins the mosque, and within the same enclosure are buried the more distinguished Turks who die in the city. Every mosque has its Imam, or Curate, who is bound to attend at the mosque at the hours of prayer. He is permitted to read the Qur'an and teach the people. The Muezzin are officials of lower rank, whose duty is to mount the minaret and call the people to prayer. They begin their call on the south side, then turn successively to the east, north and west. They shout as loudly as they can, stopping their ears with their fingers : the call is in Arabic, and invokes the names of God and Mohammad. The Turks are bound to pray five times a day, at the dawn, at midday, at three o'clock, at sunset, and lastly at midnight. On Friday, their day of rest, they say a sixth prayer some hours after sunrise. Busy people omit to pray at some of these hours, and observe one or two only. Before prayer they wash very carefully their hands and feet and other parts of the body, and every place where they pray, be it in the open field, they hold to be sacred. When they begin to pray they kneel on a carpet or mat, or their own garment, having first made certain genuflexions, and with the face turned to the south they begin their prayer with great com-posure. In a quarter of an hour or little more, it is over. They turn the face towards the south to look towards Mecca, the country of their prophet, for thence, they say, came their salvation. CH. iv] Of the City of Larnaca 27

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