October 2, 2022

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 John Aziz Kent imagethe 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.”

6 thoughts on “The Gamblers Inn or Kumarcılar Han, Lefkosa is opening

  1. Dear Chris Elliott my friend,

    It takes writers like you to recognise the importance for the Tourism of North Cyprus of historical buildings like the Kumarcilar Han that are unique.

    Thank you it made my 35 years of fighting to restore it worthwhile and I am a very happy man.

    1. Thank you John,

      What we have done is very small but if more people talked positively about the heritage of North and South Cyprus and be willing to share, then the problems of yesteryear could become just that, a bad memory replaced by a positive and friendly future.

      Sadly even now this is looking unlikely with the Greek Cypriot Football Federation (KOP) threatening to severely punish members of the federation travelling from Ercan airport either in groups or individually will be fined 10,000 Euros for the first offence and in the event of a recurrence their membership will be terminated.

  2. Well done John Aziz Kent you have done it again. This is a beautiful feather in your cap our friend. We love what you do and forever indebted for your foresight in Cyprus our otherland. Thanks Cyprus Scene Chris and Margaret for bringing the good news keep on the good work guys.

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