* In addition to the locals, Greek Cypriots and tourists visiting Northern Cyprus take a stroll through the old streets and visit the Inns with their unique historic atmosphere, while also taking the opportunity to spend their holidays and weekends.
Mine AVKIRAN NUR
One of the historical sites of Nicosia, Buyuk Han (The Great Inn) and Kumarcilar Hani (Gamblers’ Inn) are frequented by locals and tourists, especially on weekends.
Tourists who are fascinated by The Great Inn and Gamblers’ Inn learn about the history of the places, take photos to bring back home and have a break at the cafes and restaurants.
Also, the local Turkish and Greek Cypriot regulars of The Great Inn’s cafes meet and chat every weekend, who also take pictures to share on social media.
The inns and bazaar are crowded on the weekends
The large number of visitors to the area spend time at Arasta Bazaar and at the cafes of Gamblers’ Inn located in Asmaalti Square.
The checkpoint itself right next to the Arasta Bazaar is the main source of the crowd in the area. Also Greek Cypriots enjoy walking around in North Nicosia by crossing the Lokmacı Checkpoint.
As well as people passing from the south to the north, there is also an increase in the number of people passing from the north to the south
The locals aren’t shopping in Arasta
While the local shop owners of Arasta are not happy about the lack of interest from the native Turkish Cypriots, they are pleased with the frequent visits from Greek Cypriots and tourists.
The shop owner named Şakir Yaşuzakaf stated that his revenue mainly comes from the tourists from the other side of the border. He says “I sell underwear products and I have many Greek Cypriot customers as well as German, Georgian, Russian and British tourists who find that the prices are cheap compared to their own. Meanwhile the number of Turkish Cypriot customers I have is close to none.”
The jeweler Murat İnce Kalan pointed out that Arasta is a perfect reflection of Northern Cyprus, and that the region should be given more attention. Kalan says “neither the government nor the municipality give enough attention to the area. Sometimes the shop owners have to collect their own garbage. Our business is good thanks to the tourists. But tourists are not shopping. Our local people do not stop by this area due to parking problems. Business fluctuates between periods. For example, recently, we have started to experience stagnations in sales due to high gold prices. The fact that most of the apparel products are fake is making the Greek Cypriots who are shopping here to be caught by customs officers, because they don’t allow fake products. Some of our customers are having to actually wear the products they buy to pass to the other side”
Local shop owners happy with Greek Cypriot customers
Salih Doktoroglu, another shop owner in Arasta Bazaar also complains that sales are mediocre, and adds: “The shoppers are mainly Greek Cypriots and tourists from Norway, Denmark and Finland. A 10 Euro T-shirt is quite cheap for the tourists, however if we wait for the locals to shop here we will go hungry. Unfortunately they prefer to pass over to the Greek side or go shopping in other stores in Taskinkoy”
Bandabulya, the historical bazaar of Nicosia, is not attractive to shoppers either. Instead, the local shopkeepers complain about the lack of sales despite seemingly large numbers of visitors.