Ottoman Library



This house on Kamil Pasa street belonged to Bafi Mufti Haci Ali Rıfkı Efendi and his wife Ayse Hanımefedi. During the British period Muftu Hacı Ali Rıfkı Efendi served as a man of religion but was also a leader in the shaping of the Turkish Cypriot identity. He defended the Turkish Cypriots’ rights against Greek Cypriot offenses. He was also a founding member and served as President of Turkish Cypriots’ Education Council until 1909. The House was passed on from Hacı Ali Rıfkı Efendi to his son Muftuzade Hacı Hafız Şefik Efendi and his wife Hacı Ayşe Hanım. Like his father, he was also a man of religion memorizing the Quran at the age of seven. Considered a trustworth man by Turkish Cypriots, Sefik Efendi  hostes important statesmen of the Ottoman Empire at his house. The Last Grand Vizier (Ottoman prime minister) Kamil Pasa was one of them who after 1912 returned to his homeland of Cyprus and stayed as a guest at this house for a few months. Hacı Hafız Şefik Efend also gave free lessons at this house and after his death the house was passed on to his ony child, Akıle Hanım. Akıle Hanım gave birth to three children from his marriage to Judge Hıfzı Bey. They were named Aye Süreyya Hıfzı, Mehmet Şefik Hıfzı and Mehmet Sami Hıfzı. Ayşe Süreyya andMehmet Şefik Hıfzı never married and lived in this house until their death. Mehmet Şefik died in 1997 and Ayşe Süreyya in 2007 and the house passed on to Akıle Hıfzı Kader. At present its being used as the American University of Cyprus Rector building and the AUC Ottoman Empire.



The Ottoman Library was founded as an hommage to the islands three-century-long Ottoman past from 1571 to 1878 and to consolidate the architectural and cultural reflections of the Turkish Cypriot identity. AUC also aims to revive the Nicosia Arabahmet neighborhood by foundng the library. This house beloning to the Rıfkızade family, reinvented as an Ottoman Library, opened its doors to the public and researches in an attempt to revive its old fuction. The house once served as an inn for mportant statesmen and alsa a place where cultural councils were held. Now it be a much frequented place by thse who are interesed in art, history, architecture, cuture and literature. The library consists of objects and old writing Ottoman books and documents from XIX. and early XX. century. AUC Ottoman Library Library will not only be a place consisting of rare books but will also serve as where Ottoman Turkish art will be practiced and displayed. It also aims to serve as a cultural bridge between Cyprus and the rest of the world