Stroll through the serene environment of this historic Islamic complex that was constructed in the 1700s to pay tribute to Muhammad’s foster mother.
The Hala Sultan Tekke is a spiritual complex on the banks of an enormous salt lake near Larnaca. Learn about the intriguing Islamic legend surrounding the religious institution, which includes a mosque, mausoleum and cemetery.
It is said that Byzantine forces attacked Umm Haram, the prophet Muhammad’s foster mother and wife of a high ranking officer, who fell from her mule and broke her neck. The Hala Sultan Tekke was built around her grave and is considered one of the most important holy spots in Islam. Despite its Islamic roots, the complex is open to people of all faiths.
Read the Ottoman inscription above the entrance that pays tribute to a former governor. Note the guesthouses on the left and right as you enter. Marvel at the 18th-century mosque and its large dome, with yellow-stone bricks and an elegant balcony. Gaze up at the tall minaret.Learn about the site’s rich past, which extends into prehistory, when it was used as a cemetery. See the tomb of Umm Haram behind one of the mosque’s walls. You’ll also see tombs of several other notable people, including two sheikhs. Look at the octagonal fountain from the turn of the 19th century.
Capture photos of the gorgeous lake and try to spot a gathering of pink flamingoes. Enjoy the stunning view of the mountains beyond the lake. This area is fairly dry in the summer, but full of water in the winter. Walk over the dry, salty ground and take photos of the religious buildings from a distance.
The complex opens daily from morning until late afternoon. Make sure to bring sufficient water, as there are very few shops and restaurants in the area.
The Hala Sultan Tekke is based on the other side of the immense Larnaca Salt Lake from the city of Larnaca. The journey by taxi should take about 15 minutes to cover the 4-mile (6.5-kilometer) distance. The impressive mosque is one of the first sites you will see as you leave Larnaca International Airport.