Heidi Trautmann

Fireworks over Le Chateau Lambousa - Celebrating the re-birth of Aziz Kent’s hotel

By Heidi Trautmann


The Kingdom of Lambousa, old settlement of the Spartans, built after the Trojan war, followed by the Phoenicians under Persian rule, it is said - but findings were made from 3000 years BC -  and under the Romans it became one of the eleven city kingdoms. The glorious past of the area around Lapta was acting witness in the act of re-opening the beautiful hotel once built by Aziz Kent in 1990.

We were welcomed by the Project Manager Ismet Esenyel and passing a row of knights and guards of honour we were handed over to a beautiful, elegant young lady who led us to our table, one of the hundreds of white tables arranged around the pool – with reflections of lanterns and the full moon in its blue surface and with the façade of the hotel as scenery for the celebration performances to come. In the west the sun had just left the day with a rim of orange and turquoise leaving the palm trees as black silhouettes adding to the romantic atmosphere. A huge stage was erected in front of the hotel building.

We settled down and enjoyed the elegant atmosphere reminding me of similar evenings at the Governor’s palace in Luanda/Angola fifty years ago, only the music was different. We nibbled from the plate of delicious antipasti and tasted some wine brought by a friendly young woman; we learnt that she is a student from Kirgistan for a three months summer business and management course and the English language at the GAU and she would look after us. Looking around we realised that most of the staff seemed to come from Turkic countries, but they hardly spoke Turkish.

At our table and at the table right next to us we found my colleagues of Cyprus Observer and other media, our contributor Viola Edwards and her family from Venezuela, Chris Elliott and Margaret Sheard who are running the successful website Cyprusscene and who have been regularly accompanying the activities of the Girne American University and especially the story of the re-birth of the hotel. I found familiar faces from Image Group, the advertising company whose staff has been working hard on all the advertisement activities for the hotel and the opening evening as such; and there was a new face, Olga from Moscow, the new editor of the Russian Observer.


The ceremony of welcome started with a speech by Serhat Akpinar, chancellor and founder of the Girne American University, proudly recounting the story of the project, introducing the founder of the hotel Aziz Kent who must be very happy to see his dream project revamped and in new shape. He had been trying to keep the hotel alive by accepting activities on his property such as the late Lambousa Theatre and Choir, afternoon Dance School activities, other theatre groups and for the last years on weekends the Flea market which has gained a good reputation across the island; the market had to be moved to the area behind the parking place. He must have realised that once such a place is deserted it would fall to ruins in no time. Serhat Akpinar recognised the charme and value of the place and so he took it upon himself to bring the hotel to life again. Chris Elliot and Margaret Shearer have interviewed Aziz Kent and Serhat Akpinar on the project and have regularly visited the site of construction, so the readers will find the background story on their website http://cyprusscene.com


We were led right into the past with a love story of the past, with scenes of the Middle Ages, knights in armor delivering fights with the sword, wooing their ladies, a performance by a Belarus Theatre Group, followed by an act of the Beyazgül (White Rose), a ghost of the past who is believed to still appear at the place where the love story occurred between her and the Consul of the Netherlands in the 17th century.

Meanwhile music was all over us, in the truest sense of the word, like one of the knights’ attacks, so we could hardly hear our own words; the guests of honour sitting right in front of the stage must have suffered dearly for their privilege.


The re-birth was confirmed by a magnificent firework display right above our heads. May it be a happy and successful life for this venerable reborn hotel and may many guests have a happy sojourn. 



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