Hala Sultan Tekke
Hala Sultan Tekke or, the Mosque of Umm Haram, lies approximately 6 km southwest of Larnaka. Umm Haram (Hala Sultan) was the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s wet nurse and wife of Ubada bin al-Samit, one of the highest ranking officers of Moawia. The mosque was built over a tomb which, according to tradition, belongs to Umm Haram. The term tekke (convent) applies to a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood (“tariqa”) and may have referred to an earlier feature of the location. The present-day complex is open to all and does not belong to a single religious movement. Hala Sultan Tekke is a listed Ancient Monument and lies in a tranquil setting on the west bank of the Larnaca Salt Lake, which appears to be an important site also in prehistory.
The mosque’s architecture
This mosque exemplifies Ottoman architecture. The Hala Sultan Tekke complex consists of a mosque, a mausoleum, one minaret, a cemetery and living quarters for men and women. Radar surveys conducted in 2010-2012 have demonstrated that the city was one of the largest in the Late Bronze Age (approx. 1600-1100 BC), possible as large as 50 hectares. Another archaeological investigation conducted by the Department of Antiquities, under the women’s quarter of Hala Sultan Tekke, have revealed building remains dated to the late Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods (6th – 1st century BC).
Many sources, including the United Nations Development Programme, refer to the Hala Sultan Tekke as the third holiest place for Muslims in the world. Others describe the sight as fourth most important. You might be surprised by the number of cats living there. They are friendly and like to play and be fed. The magnificent salt lakes, the intriguing historical building and the cats make this a perfect, family-friendly day out in Larnaca. This site is accessible daily from 8.30am until 5pm in the winter and 7.30pm in the summer. No payment is required but visitors are expected to dress appropriately.