The first casino in Cyprus operated in our village, Kritou Terra. It was housed in a building which had been constructed between the years 1860 and 1870, and which is located east of the school. The casino began operating during the Turkish occupation, in particular in 1878, and stopped operating at the beginning of the 20th century. The maintenance of the building has been undertaken by the Department of Antiquities.     

This pioneering idea at the time belonged to our fellow villager, Savvas Makrides, who also managed the operation of the casino. Describing this special venture, the following words were written about Makrides: “He dared to do the unthinkable for the time by bringing women from Turkey, Syria and Lebanon, who did belly dancing at the casino while the customers were playing cards and gambling in general”.  

As it is distinctively mentioned, the visitors of the casino were mainly Turks, as well as the “elite of the Middle East”. Among those who added a special glamour to the casino with their presence was the king of Egypt, Namouk.

What is one worth noticing are the frescos on the internal walls of the casino, whose themes are inspired by history and tradition. One of the frescos depicts scenes from the arrest of the Greek Revolution hero, Athanasios Diakos. In particular, one can notice the arrest of the hero and two armed Turkish soldiers. Depicted on the other fresco is the well-known popular hero, Koutalianos, and this fresco was made in his honour when he visited the community in 1896.  


Savvas Arkadiou, 
Dr Christou G. Aristeidou