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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 47

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city was taken, the church being destined to be the principal mosque, and first profaned by Mustafa Pasha who went there on September 15, 1570,'to say his prayers. The outside of the fabric has suffered no change, except that the bell towers have been from the middle upwards completed in a different fashion, and most of the coats of arms of Christian families which adorned the walls have been defaced. I happened to find myself at this spot about noon on a Friday just as the Governor of the island was going to prayer. He arrived on horseback accompanied by four or five principal Turks, and all his court on foot. Quite close to the said mosque there is another beautiful building which was dedicated to St Nicholas, bishop, as one sees from a figure of the said saint in bas-relief still remaining over the door. This church also had three aisles, and columns on which are painted various saints, much damaged. The place is now called Bezesten, a kind of market, where all kinds of goods are sold. It is the business resort of the chief merchants of Nicosia, Turks, Greeks and Armenians. If this church has not been profaned by being made a mosque, it has had no better fate in becoming a fair. Two hundred paces away stands on an open place the church of St Catherine, which was once a convent of nuns, now a mosque. The convent covered much ground, the church is rather beautiful than large. The palace of the Muhassil or Governor of the island is called the Serai. Over the gate is boldly carved in stone a lion, the arms of Venice. Within is a spacious courtyard, with apartments round it and stables below. The building is Gothic and was the palace in the time of the Christian Kings, but the place has undergone so many changes at the caprice of successive Pashas and Governors that nothing remains to call for notice. In the adjoining square is a fountain of Turkish work, supplied, like all those in the city, with excellent water. The Bazar or market is spacious and well found in food vi] of the Island and Kingdom of Cyprus 43

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