The City of Nicosia (Lefkoşa), Cyprus  -


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Nicosia, Cyprus

Kumarcılar Hanı (Gamblers' Inn) 

Great Khan (Inn), Nicosia, North Cyprus

A few hundred metres north of the BŁyŁk Khan and in the same street is the Kumarcılar Khan and dates from about 1570 A.D. There are numerous shops and coffee bars which give a fine convivial atmosphere to the place; an ideal place for tourists to saunte r and imbibe an old time memory.

The entrance to the Khan used to have the well known Asmalti kahvehanesi and this view seems to be the most popular subject for visiting artists.

It was the custom in the Middle Ages for merchants to group themselves together in their respective trades, e.g. leather, cloth, jewellery, spices and household utensils. Also, merchants from some distant town would always favour a certain khan which eventually assumed the name of that town.

The Kumarcılar Khan, however, means the inn of gamblers. The inn is is currently under restoration, and what better place could there be to house the Department of Antiquities for the Northern State of Cyprus. Photo above shows the interior courtyard and it demonstrates how beautiful a building can be, without the elaborate carving in mediaeval Gothic buildings of western Europe. This forecourt is the Muslim equivalent of the cloisters of Bellapais abbey.

The visitor will notice, as is usual in these old buildings, fragments of Roman objects and carvings around the old stables. An old Roman hand flour mill can be seen in the forecourt, of which there are quite a number in Kyrenia. The Department of Antiquities has been rejuvenated, and is now very busy restoring those places that will attract tourists, especially that fine old entrance of the inn, now camouflaged by a clutter of small shops.



  • Dreghorn, W., The Antiquities of Turkish Nicosia, Rustem Publishers, Nicosia.



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