The Juice Bar at the Bandabuliya, Girne

While in Girne recently and having done quite a lot of walking around I was feeling a bit thirsty so was looking for somewhere to have a cool drink and sit and rest my aching feet and legs.  Approaching the Bandabuliya in Girne there was a lovely sight of a table bearing all manner of fresh fruit and many people sitting under the trees with interesting glasses of juice on their tables.

This was The Juice Bar which I must confess I didn’t know existed although it has been at the Bandabuliya since it opened in 2006.  I looked at the boards showing the numerous types of juices available, including Orange & Ginger, Orange & Pineapple, Orange & Grapefruit and even Orange & Carrot.   I decided to opt for Orange & Pineapple and it arrived in a tall glass and was delicious.

Soner Savci was born in Dulwich (London) of Turkish Cypriot parents and he came to North Cyprus in 2004.   He has been running The Juice Bar inside the Bandabuliya since 2006 and decided to move outside during the now bearable months which, judging by the number of customers, was a very good decision.  Soner told me that he also attends the Wednesday Market every week and he has been at many of the Festivals held during the year.

The origins of the “old bazaar” go back to the Lusignan period and in those times it was more of an open market area where people could sell their goods.  In 1891, during the British period, the Authorities decided to construct a Municipal Market Building.   The Municipal Bazaar was the main market to meet the needs of the locals for many years but with the advent of modern supermarkets the Bazaar lost most of its customers.

In 2004 the Municipality of Kyrenia decided to renovate the building and convert it into a tourist attraction with cafes, bars, restaurants, and souvenir, handicraft and jewellery shops.   One of the most important attractions was the model of the Sunken Kyrenia Ship, which has recently been moved to a new site at the front of the Amphitheatre.

Unfortunately, there are now a lot of units not occupied in the Bandabuliya so there is not a great deal to attract people to this place of Kyrenia history.  The café is still there after 40+ years and Soner is battling on with his bar and his juices, there is also Arif the Fishmonger alongside the Bandabuliya who has been there for many years.   It would be such a shame to see this piece of history vanish as so many other interesting places have disappeared.   The Bandabuliya needs visitors which in turn will encourage more people to open up the shops and make this the busy market it used to be.

So why not visit the Bandabuliya, just turn right by the Round Tower as you head down the High Street, it is just a short distance on the left hand side, and there you can sit under the trees and enjoy one of Soner’s delicious fresh fruit juices.