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The Silence of Ottoman Cartographer Piri Reis Concerning the Tomb of Hala Sultan in Larnaca

Abstract

The well-known Ottoman cartographer Piri Reis, who was active around 1520, left us quite an analytical description of the coasts of Cyprus, which was then under Venetian rule. His writings make no reference to Umm Hizam, who was in fact a relative of the Prophet Mohammed. This saintly woman died in Cyprus, having followed the Arabian armies which had attempted to conquer Cyprus in 647. Today, her tomb, known as the tomb of Hala Sultan, is a major Muslim pilgrimage. But in Piri Reis's time, it had been neglected and forgotten. However, when Cyprus became an Ottoman territory in 1571, the need arose for the island to have its own saints and pilgrimages; hence Umm Hizam was brought back from the history of the past.

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