St. Sophia Cathedral, Nicosia, Cyprus
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Panoramic photo by Ergec Senturk EXPERT Taken 13:20, 22/02/2009 - Views loading...

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St. Sophia Cathedral, Nicosia, Cyprus

The World > Europe > Cyprus > Nicosia

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This ancient church is the chief mosque in the northern state of Cyprus, and the great festivals of Bayram and other Moslem gatherings are conducted here. It was formerly the cathedral of St. Sophia which was built in the period 1209 A.D. to 1228, over the ruins of a previous building. Only recently, in 1976, have the ruins of the ancient building before 1200 A.D. been discovered, on the southern side. In style of architecture, St. Sophia resembles the famous mediaeval cathedrals of France.

The church was severely damaged by earthquakes in 1491, 1547 and 1735 A.D. and yet, as we see it today, the cathedral has survived. What is the reason for this? One would expect such high buildings to be razed to the ground during those severe earthquakes that occurred some centuries ago, for in those days, reinforced concrete and steel girders were unknown. The builders of ancient Gothic cathedrals always strived to make them as high as possible, to reach "up to heaven" and so inspire both awe and solemnity. The problem was how to do this, and, at the same time ensure that the walls would not collapse. This was done by building stone pillars outside to support the walls which are known as buttresses. If you live in a "posh" villa in Cyprus, your walls should be supported at the corners by buttresses. If there are none, then get out of the house quickly in the next earthquake.

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Nearby images in Nicosia

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A: St. Sophia Cathedral

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This panorama was taken in Nicosia

This is an overview of Nicosia

Nicosia, known locally as Lefkosia (Greek: Λευκωσία, Turkish: Lefkoşa), is the capital and largest city of Cyprus. It is located on the River Pedieos and situated almost in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. Nicosia is the capital of the Nicosia District. Following the intercommunal violence of the 1960s, the capital was divided between the island's Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in the south and north respectively. An attempted coup to unite the island with Greece in 1974 led to a Turkish invasion, leaving the capital divided since then, with Turkish Cypriots claiming the north as the capital of their own state, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (recognised only by Turkey). On 3 April 2008, as part of efforts to reunify the island, a symbolic wall dividing the two communities at Ledra Street was opened. South of the Green Line, the population of the city is 270,000 (late 2004), while a further 84,893 live in the north.[1] Nicosia is important commercially with many shops, two modern shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment. The city is a trade centre and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Copper mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the University of Cyprus (UCY) and four other universities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicosia

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