Buyuk Han (Great Inn)

Posted in Places to See


This traditional-style inn was constructed in 1572 by Muzaffer Pasha, the first Ottoman Governor of Cyprus.  Buyukhan is a very beautiful stone building with two storeys built around a central courtyard. Of the 67 rooms, those on the upper floor were originally used as lodging for travelers. These are independent of each other and feature individual fireplaces with octagonal chimneys. The rooms on the ground floor were used as shops, storerooms and offices. Stables for the travelers horses, mules, donkeys and camels were located on the outside of the building. In the interior courtyard there is octagonal mosque (masjid) used for prayers, with a fountain below. Unusually, the inn has two entrances, the main entrance to the inn is in Asmaaltı Street (in the east), however there is also one in the west.

Since the beginning of  old colonial days, the British used the inn as Nicosia Central Prison until 1895. It then became a residence for poor families until 1963, when some unsuccessful restoration attempts were carried out.  In 1995, an extensive restoration project was initiated. The restoration project was completed in 2003 and the inn became one of the greatest contributions to the social and cultural life in the northern part of Nicosia Downtown.

With its great historical and architectural value Buyukhan also performs an important role in the cultural and social life of the old city. Today, “Great Inn”, which is also used as an information centre, is a home of many small antiques/ craft shops and arts galleries, where visitors can find all manner of traditional Cypriot souvenirs and handicrafts. Small scale performances and cultural activities are also taking place in this inn. In addition, it has an authentic Turkish Cypriot coffee shop, and a café/restaurant where fresh local cuisine is served, and a wine bar where homemade wine is served occasionally with live music.