Gamblers Inn (Kumarcilar Han) in Nicosia, North Cyprus.
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Gamblers Inn (Kumarcilar Han)


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The Gamblers Inn, or Kumarcilar Han was built around 1600 as a hotel for travellers. Like all caravanserais (inns for travellers), you entered via a gateway right into the heart of the inn, a large courtyard. Here, merchants would arrive with their camels, donkeys or horses after a long journey in the Cyprus sun.

The Kumarcilar Han in old Nicosia, Northern Cyprus

On arriving at the Gamblers Inn, the tired merchants would first tend to their animals, feeding them, and stabling them in the ground floor stables provided. Then, they would either cook their meal in the courtyard, or retire to the rooms above and order in some food before retiring for a good night’s rest. (Great hospitality in North Cyprus hotels is nothing new!) Everything they needed would have been on site, from food vendors, to a blacksmith for running repairs.

The Gamblers Inn in Nicosia North Cyprus Today

Today, the Gamblers Inn is somewhat neglected, although you can see the courtyard if you look through the grill in the front door. You can also see the distinctive pointed arches of the lower levels, and the square topped column of the upper level, where the bedrooms were. The outside is occupied by shops, including a well-known teahouse, so you can still stop for refreshment at the inn, like generations of travellers before you.

Just down the road is the more accessible Büyük Han, or Great Inn. These Turkish inns used to be very common in Cyprus, but most have been destroyed or altered, so these two are the best preserved now on the island. (Older guide books may refer to the Gamblers Inn as the Kourmardjilar Khan.) Both inns are well worth seeing on your North Cyprus holiday.