The Dominican Monastery of Agios Nicholaos – Hiougkar Tzamisi (the Mosque of “Igemonas”)

At Splantzia square dominates the Dominican Monastery of Agios Nicholaos, which was turned into a mosque in honor of Sultan Ibrahim (Chiougkiar Hassan – the mosque of the ruler) during the Turkish occupation. It is the only temple in Greece that has both a bell tower and a minaret.

It was built around 1320 by the Dominican fraternity of Candia. The architectural style (basilica) of the Dominican Monastery of Agios Nicholaos is mastered after the Central Monastery of St. Peter’s.

During the Turkish occupation, the Dominican Monastery of Agios Nicholaos was the Chiougkar Hassan – the main mosque of the city. The Monastery holds the sacred sword of the Turkish dervish, who, after entering the city, went to the bell tower and turned his sword around, pointing at the four points of the horizon and calling all believers to pray, with the phrase: “There is only one God and his prophet Muhammad”. After this ritual, the catholic monastery could be converted into a mosque.

During the entire period of the Ottoman rule and by the end of 1912, the sword remained in the Dominican Monastery of Aghios Nicholaos, until the population exchange of 1923, when the Muslims left and took it with them.

In 1928, the mosque came to the property of the Orthodox Christians and was converted into a Christian church dedicated to Saint Nicholas.

The original bell tower of the Dominican Monastery of Agios Nicholaos was located to the northeast of the church, but today it is no longer standing. To the west of the church you will see the atrium of the fenced yard of the Dominican Monastery of Agios Nicholaos, which used to be the cemetery of the noblemen during the Venetian and the Turkish rules.

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