By Chris Elliott….
With so much news and memories arriving on the publishing desk of cyprusscene.com we were delighted to hear from our good friend, John Aziz Kent about the progress of the refurbishing of the Gamblers Inn or Kumarcılar Han in Lefkosa which is close to the Buyuk Han.
John is a retired businessman and Hotelier who on returning from the UK many years ago was the first Turkish Cypriot to build an hotel click here, The Celebrity in Lapta followed later by the Chateau Lambousa hotel and holiday villas.
Such is John’s love of his homeland and its heritage that he purchased the ruins of the Gamblers Inn or Kumarcılar Han in Lefkosa 35 years ago and has been seeking support from successive TRNC governments to have this restored. This he finally achieved with a restoration grant of over £1,000,000 from the Turkish Embassy plus his own investment and that of the TRNC government who will manage the building for the next 10 years before control of the building reverts back to John Aziz Kent.
John is very grateful for the tremendous help and support given by the TRNC Minister of Tourism and Environment, Fikri Ataoğlu and his Undersecretary, Ismet Esenyel, without whose assistance this project could not have been completed.
John who is the Honorary President of the TRNC Hoteliers Association and has for many years been lobbying the government and other organisations to promote Cyprus heritage as a way to increase the numbers of tourists arriving in Northern Cyprus by offering them many cultural and historical events and places to visit.
During this past week John has visited the Kumarcılar Han and said. “When I visited the Kumarcılar Han with some friends I was truly amazed at this final stage of preparations to open it as many people had rented some of the ancient rooms and were setting up their businesses there and we were delighted to be offered coffee in the cafe that will be opening. Although it’s not officially opened I saw many tourists arriving to be greeted by a doorman who let them enter and look around at this lovingly restored Ottoman gem of Cyprus past.”
John said “After waiting all these years I am now delighted to see a dream fulfilled at long last and I would also like to thank my new friends Eren and Sermen Erdogan who run the Facebook page FROZEN CYPRIOTS click here through which its 6,541 worldwide members are discovering and sharing photographs of our marvellous Cyprus heritage for future generations to enjoy.”