Hala Sultan Tekke

Discover one of the most important Islamic monuments in the world at Hala Sultan Tekke. This historic mosque is located 3km west of Larnaca on the road to Kiti, on the main Salt Lake. After the Arab armies successfully landed in Larnaca in 648AD, the Holy Helper of Mohamed, Umm Haram, died when she fell off her mule and is believed to have been buried on this site. One of the most revered places in the Muslim world, it is used to this day for religious purposes. Conservation works aimed at preserving the monument, have been conducted since 1967, involving the structure, masonry, and other artistic elements.

Steeped in history

See this holy site for yourself and discover its fascinating history. It consists of a mausoleum, a mosque, a cemetery, and living quarters for men and women. Umm Haram's grave is thought to have been identified by the Ottomans after they invaded Cyprus in 1571. There have been several building phases over the centuries, the first involving the erection of the mausoleum over Umm Haram's grave in 1760. The mosque, built in the classical Ottoman style, belongs to the second building phase and was completed in 1817. The convent was founded in the third phase, in 1813, and the drinking fountain in 1830. The portico in front of the mosque's north façade is a later addition. Archaeological investigation of the area has revealed that the west bank of the Salt Lake was occupied from the Late Bronze Age to the Hellenistic times. In particular, a Late Bronze Age cemetery that belonged to the inhabitants of an important urban center was excavated by Swedish architects. A surface survey indicated that the settlement extended several meters around the area of the mosque. The monument of Hala Sultan Tekke is a superb example of Ottoman architecture and preserves fine examples of calligraphy from various periods that have to be seen.

Ecologically important wetland

The Hala Sultan Tekke is surrounded by the coastal salt lake complex, which covers an area of about 1,761 hectares and consists of four main lakes. The wetland includes many saline-resistant plants on the shores of the lakes and in the areas between the lakes and the sea. They are an important overwintering and stopover area for birds and other species. The lakes of the Larnaca Salt Lake complex are interrelated lakes and they vary ecologically. It is one of the two main wetlands of international ecological significance in Cyprus and is a designated Special Area of Conservation. Apart from their natural significance, the lakes played an important role in the local economy throughout history as they were exploited for their salt from the Roman times to the 19th century. No visit to the mosque would be complete without exploring these incredible wetlands.