St. Mamas Monastery is the third most important place of worship for the Greek Orthodox in North Cyprus after St. Barnabas tomb at Famagusta and Apostolos Andreas Monastery at Karpaz. Most of the compound dates from the 18th century but its Iconostasis is a gorgeous sample of artful wood carving of the 16th century. A splendid crystal chandelier surprises every visitor upon entry through the side entrance and its plain outer façade gives not hint of its splendid interior.
Story: St. Mamas is shown as a relief on the outside of the church as well as on several icons in the interior of the church. Local legend has it that St. Mamas, a devout Byzantine hermit who refused to pay tax since he had no income other than alms and lived in a cave, was ordered to be arrested by the local Governor. As he was escorted into custody the group encountered a lion about to devour a lamb along the roadside. The saint commanded the lion to stop, picked up the lamb, mounted the lions back and rode on the back of the lion into town. Upon seeing this, the Governor exempted the saint from taxes thereafter; hence he became the patron saint of tax-evaders and animals.