Residing in the centre of Güzelyurt is St. Mamas monastery. The monastery’s was originally built by the Byzantine’s and its architecture has been modified over the centuries that followed. Among other things, the large dome arrived afterwards.
It is said that Mama was a Christian saint from Anatolia who was killed because of his religious beliefs. It is said that his family was helped by Jesus Christ to place Mamas body in a coffin which was then buried in the sea. The tide carried the coffin away which eventually ended in Cyprus, more specifically in Güzelyurt. A man found the coffin on the beach and enlisted the help of his sons to move it. They tied a rope around the chest and with the help of two oxen tried to move it from the beach. The coffin was much heavier than they thought, and it required a lot of work to move it. With great effort, they managed to finally tow it away. When they could no longer move the coffin any further they put it down and built the monastery around it.
St. Mamas grave is situated to the left of the church’s entrance and is surrounded by offerings, many in the form of wax ears. It is said that during the Ottoman rule it was believed that there were treasures hidden in the coffin, so holes were drilled in it. Through the holes oozed a kind of nectar which continued to do so at irregular intervals for a long time afterwards. This nectar was said to provide protection against earache. Also surrounding the coffin are small wax dolls that have been left as offerings.
The church is also filled with beautiful icons, chandeliers and a pulpit.
When we visited the Church on Sunday it was full of tourists. Many come from Southern Cyprus to see the beautiful church, they kiss images of the saints and make the sign of the cross. This is a special place for them.
It costs 7 TL to enter the church and you buy your tickets at the building next to the museum of nature and archaeology.