The operation of a café at Hala Sultan Tekke, a mosque in Larnaka district, on the south coast, is done with respect to the area and the monument and under strict conditions, Mayor of Larnaka Andreas Vyras told the Cyprus News Agency.
He said that the Head of the Turkish Cypriot Properties Management Service gave a license for a café to be located next to the mosque, but strict conditions apply.
Replying to a question the Mayor said that the space will function as an information point for the monument and will have a cafe-restaurant license, not a tavern, with fixed opening hours. He said that barbecuing and live music are strictly prohibited. Vyras said that the cafeteria will operate in the winter months until 18.00 and in the summer months until 20.30.
He explained that the operator of the space has a contract with the Custodian of Turkish Cypriot Properties and through the Ministry of the Interior an application was sent to the Municipality of Larnaka for the issuing of a planning and building permit.
Vyras said that the area is a Natura site and because it is adjacent to the mosque, conditions apply by the Departments of Environment and Antiquities.
He also said that the cafeteria’s operating license is issued for a year. According to the Mayor, the building used to function as a tavern and after its abandonment for years, stray cats now found refuge there.
Vyras said that the Department of Antiquities is promoting Hala Sultan Mosque and the Aliki Salt Lake to enter UNESCO World Heritage List, and this is another reason for the increased attention to all activities in the area.
The monument is located on the west bank of the Salt Lake and was erected over different phases, commencing from 1760 and completed in 1817. It is an important Islamic monument, one of the most revered sites in the Muslim world and it is used to this day for religious purposes.
Source: Cyprus News Agency