Most accounts establish a connection between the site and the death of Umm Haram during the first Arab raids on Cyprus under the Caliph Muawiyah between 647 and 649, which were later pursued throughout the Umayyad and the Abbasid periods. According to these accounts, Umm Haram, being of very old age, had fallen from her mule and had died during a siege of Larnaca. She was later buried where she died. According to Shia belief, her grave lies within Jannatul Baqi cemetery in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
During the Ottoman administration of Cyprus, a mosque complex was built in stages around the tomb. The tomb was discovered in the 18th century by the dervish called Sheikh Hasan, who also built the first structure here. Dervish Hasan managed to convince the administrative and religious authorities of the site's sacred nature and with the permission he received, he built the shrine around the tomb in 1760 and had it decorated. The wooden fences around the tomb would have been built by the 19th-century Ottoman governor in Cyprus, Seyyid Elhac Mehmed Agha, which were replaced by fences in bronze and two doors by his successor Acem Ali Agha.
In another account, Giovanni Mariti, who visited Cyprus between 1760–1767, wrote that the shrine was built by the Cyprus governor he names as Ali Agha. According to Mariti, until 1760 they used the stones of a standing church in a ruined village nearby as construction materials. In another source, it is mentioned that the construction of the mosque was initiated by the Cyprus governor Seyyid Mehmed Emin Efendi in classical Ottoman style, and it was completed in November 1817.
The ancillary buildings have been repaired in 2004, and the mosque and the minaret are currently being restored. Both of these initiatives have been carried out with support from the Bi-communal Development Programme, which is funded from USAID and UNDP, and implemented through UNOPS.
Goddess of love, blow us kisses! Cyprus is home to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Love, who arose from the sea as a full-grown (and lovely) woman and sailed to shore in a seashell. It's also the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea with its geological origins in the fiery heat of volcanic eruption. The history of Cyprus begins as far back as the Neolithic Age of 7000 BC. Relics exist showing settlements to the north and south coastlines. The first Greeks came to the island around 1400 BC, Mycenaean merchants who brought Hellenistic influences with them. Between the time of the Greeks and the arrival of the Romans, Cyprus was conquered by Assyria, Egypt and Persia. Alexander the Great claimed Cyprus for his empire as of 333 BC, and it became part of the Roman Empire in 58 BC. It became the first country to be governed by a Christian when St. Paul experienced conversion there. After the fall of Rome Cyprus was annexed into the Byzantine Empire, with Constantinople for its capital. This situation lasted until Richard the Lion-Hearted arrived in 1191 on a Holy Crusade, conquered the island and sold it to the Templars. Since they were basically wiped out at the start of the 14th century, Cyprus turned to Catholic feudal control and stayed that way until 1571, when the Ottoman Empire invaded and took reign. With this came the expulsion of Catholicism, introduction of Islam and the return of Greek Orthodoxy. The Ottomans kept power until the end of WWI, when Britain assumed administrative duties over the island. As of 1925 it was declared a Crown colony, and in 1955 there began an armed rebellion against British rule. The Republic of Cyprus was granted independence by the British in 1960. It joined the European Union in 2004 although dispute remains over who controls it. Right now there are four sectors. The biggest one belongs to the Republic of Cyprus; Turkish Cypriots occupies one third of the island (to the North), the United Nations has control of the border between these two, and Britain hold two sovereign naval base areas. I'm not sure Aphrodite would approve of all these squabbles. Then again, she did have that brawl with Persephone over who got to live with Adonis the heartbreaker... Text by Steve Smith