Saint Mamas Church and Icon Museum

Saint Mamas Church and Icon Museum

Saint Mamas Church and Icon Museum
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Duration: 1-2 hours
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4.0 of 5 bubbles25 reviews
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nsander219
Chelmsford, UK640 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
This is kept permanently locked with the keys held in the museum next door. A lovely building which has survived the various invasions. A very clean area around the cloisters sets it off nicely. Beyond the church construction it is utilised as an ikon museum. It is interesting to compare this to the collection at St Barnabas further to the East. Patron Saint of Tax Evasion is a new one on me.
Written 24 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Keith70
Worksop, UK693 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2019 • Couples
When we arrived the church was locked so we visited the museum next door who provided someone to open the church.
The icos are beautiful as is the church. We visited by car and parked in the museum car park which is only a short walk away. The church has cloisters which offer shade if you are stood outside the church.The building is impressive enough and well maintained.
Whilst the Icon collection is not as extensive as the collection in the Church and Monastery of St Barnabas it is still a very magnificent collection of religious Icons, it's certainly worth taking your time to visit and take a look at skilled art and craftwork dating back to the 16th century.
Written 22 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Caroline H
Chichester, UK2,015 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Couples
St Mamas, is one of the most beautiful and best kept of Orthodox churches that are preserved as Icon Museums. Built on the site of an Aphrodite temple, it was constructed during the 18th century AD, on the site of an early Byzantine church, and is maintained by the Antiquities Department of North Cyprus.

We visited Guzelyurt to see this church while on holiday in Northern Cyprus. There is a car park near by but it is possible to park in front of the church with shops, cafes and toilets nearby. We parked near the Baklava shop – delicious – many variations.

A reasonable entrance fee covers both the church and the adjacent Guzelyurt Museum of Archaeology.

There was a helpful custodian who gave us an insight into the church and showed us the 'hole in the tomb'.

The church has a central nave, apse, and two side aisles A dome rises above the nave at the altar end. Columns are decorated with carvings, vine leaves and some rather heavy looking faces.
There are two marble pillars on either side of the Holy Door .
There is a magnificent crystal chandelier that hangs in the centre of the apse with hundreds of droplets.

This is but one of several churches on the island dedicated to St. Mamas around whom many legends have arisen.

One legend was that Mamas was a young holy man who lived in a cave outside the town limits during the Roman occupation. This was a time when all citizens were required to pay taxes. Mamas pleaded poverty and said he had nothing but the clothes he wore and the food given to him by charitable people from the town for whom he prayed in return.
The Roman authorities arrested him as his plea was not accepted.
On the way to town Mamas saw a lamb being attacked by by a lion. Mamas scooped up the lamb, jumped onto the lion's back and continued on his way to face his punishment. The court was astonished by what had taken place and decided he must be a truly holy man. His punishment was withdrawn and exemption from paying taxes, granted. So, Mamas became the patron saint of tax avoiders!

The other legend says Mamas was killed somewhere in Anatolia and was placed by his family in a stone coffin, aided by Jesus Christ! The coffin was said to have been swept away into the sea and washed up on the shores of Guzelyurt Bay.
A local farmer, harnessed it to two oxen and pulled it along as far as they could manage. A church was then built around it.

The marble sarcophagus of St. Mamas can be found, forming part of the north wall of the church. The lid of the tomb has been pierced, allegedly by someone who thought the tomb contained treasure. The hole created, now oozes a liquid that is said to have curative properties. Around the tomb you can see votive offerings in the shape of ears and tongues because St. Mamas is not only the Patron Saint of tax avoiders, but also those suffering with ear, nose and throat infections!

We enjoyed our visit to St Mamas, as also the Archaelogy Museum.

The Monastery buildings you see are now used for business purposes.
Written 27 May 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SMH739
Islamabad, Pakistan419 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Business
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus population is majority Muslims, thus to find an ancient Church of Byzantine period, well preserved was a major surprise.
A visit to the adjoining icon museum is a must.
Written 27 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JRiddingtonY
Barnstaple, UK97 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017
We were on a car tour around North Cyprus and suddenly we came to Guzelyurt, which I had not recognised by its Turkish moniker. The St Mamas Monastery Church is the most obvious landmark and as a retired ENT surgeon, I wondered whether it would be the same St Mamas, whose icon I had always kept in my consulting room, having been assured by a Cypriot that he was the patron saint of earache!
I went in the Monaster and was not disappointed; his shrine with votive ear offerings was ther, but MUCH BETTER THAN THAT, there was a lid on his actual shrine where ancint holy oiul could be put on one's index finger before inserting into the affected ear.
The ancient jewels in the museum were stunning!
Written 3 March 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jollyrobert
Bridgend, UK951 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017 • Couples
The story goes that Mamas, a poor 12th century hermit, was arrested by troops sent to bring him to the capital to be punished for refusing to pay his taxes. As the captive was being taken back, he came across a lion about to kill a lamb. Mamas grabbed hold of the lamb, and jumping onto the lion's back rode the lion into the capital. The authorities were apparently so impressed with this sight, that they excused Mamas from his duty to pay his taxes and released him. St Mamas is now the patron saint of tax avoiders, which in the light of Greek's history and traditions seems mightily appropriate. The church interior is awesome, and is the site of much pilgrimage, with many worshippers pushing their way forwards to the iconostatis , carved in wood and painted blue, with a sarcophagus containing 2 holes from which a balm oozes, reputedly to cure eye and ear diseases, as well as calming stormy seas!
Written 15 May 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Morten P
Copenhagen, Denmark461 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
Very nice little church.
Don't come in the tourist season and bypass the set up market, too much "bazaar" in the vendors.
And the same with the so-called holy spring, no queue culture.
Written 23 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patricia G
Worcester, UK1,197 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019

Guzelyurt's showpiece is the attractive old monastery of St Mamas, which has been turned into an incon museum since 1974. The legend of St Mamas, the patron saint of tax avoiders, and his curious encounter with a lion is spread through a number of Cyprus churches bearing his name. But it is in this one his tomb can be found. And the richly-decorated interior, with its many icons gathered from other religious establishments on the island, is startlingly sumptuous, even though the building is small. The courtyard area is surrounded on two sides by attractive arched walkways.
Next door is the Archeological Museum, which has interesting artefacts unearthed at nearby Soli. Worth visiting
Written 11 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bob M
Birmingham, UK1,625 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Couples
This is an interesting church with many icons, strange wax figurines and a fantastic archbishop’s chair. It sems that St Mamas was into tax evasion….
Written 12 December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Loobeloo999
Derby, UK374 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Couples
7 tl entrance fee for the two sites: A museum & the church.
A Greek Orthodox Church full of icons & exceedingly ornate. Spectacular chandelier on a par with those at Versailles, giving out a beautiful quality of light.
Park your car at the Museum of Nature Antiquity next door. Ask for access to the church & they will take you over there & open it for you. Museum is worth a look especially if you know your birds.
Written 27 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Saint Mamas Church and Icon Museum - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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