Fears about the dilapidation of Lefkoşa's city centre Selimiye Mosque were reignited by pictures published of an olive sapling growing out of a buttress of the 800-year-old stone building.
It is believed to have germinated from a stone probably carried there by a bird, and has not become visible after growing to a height of about one metre.
Media reports said the sapling needed to be uprooted before it grew bigger and potentially caused cracks and even the collapse of the Lusignan-era stonework.
A call also went out for the mosque's roof and walls to be cleared of vegetation – said to be a problem common to all of the capital's historic buildings.
Officials have already given the green light to a “complete restoration” of the crumbling Selimiye Mosque.
The former Cathedral of St Sophia is one of the island's most famous buildings -- a 13th century gothic church within the capital's historical walls, it was transformed into a mosque by the Ottomans when they conquered the island in 1571.
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