Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Desolation in the Lands of the Kings

By Bejay Browne

To say it is a misnomer would be an understatement. The Land of the Kings apartment complex on Tombs of the Kings road in Paphos, an ideal holiday spot just over 20 years ago is today a desolate eyesore sticking out like a sore thumb in an important tourist location.

As upgrading work gets underway along the busy tourist hub, questions are being raised about the future of the complex, which comprises 122 apartments and 11 shops.

Officials and residents say that the Land of the Kings projects a shabby image for the area, made worse because it is situated directly opposite the entrance to the Tomb of the Kings, a protected UNESCO site. This was once a thriving, bustling and successful holiday complex, used by a number of different holiday companies.

Thomson and other tour operators used to promote the venue, and it was used as a destination for holidaymakers between 1985- 2007.

In a video by Thomson.co.uk which is still available to view online at trip advisor, the complex is barely recognisable as it stands today.

(Video http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g190372-i16965422-Cyprus.html)

feature bejay - The swimming pool filled with weedsSince its heyday, it has become run down. Many apartments and shops have lain empty, the swimming pool has been abandoned and instead of a fence, the building is circled by chicken wire revealing piles of rubbish, including unwanted furniture and unsightly graffiti. There is an unpleasant smell.

A spokesman for Paphos municipality told the Sunday Mail that the Land of the Kings was built in the early 1980s and was a remarkable project for its time.

“There were restaurants, shops and apartments that were operating very successfully. However, several problems led the ‘Land of the Kings’ into gradual desolation,” he said.

According to Tasos Coucounis, a lawyer representing a number of buyers of the apartments, the flats are no longer being rented out as holiday apartments, but a number are now being rented out as residential flats.

Coucounis told the Sunday Mail that the buyers bought their flats in the 1980s and after 30 years of fighting for their title deeds, they had only been issued lately.

feature bejay - the rundown flats at Land of Kings“The [original] owners of the flats appointed a management company to organise it into tourist apartments and look after the contracts. It started as a holiday venue in 1985 and this was the case until 2007,” he said.

Coucounis said problems arose when the registered owner of the land, who had also retained some of the apartments, did not want to continue using the management company and wanted his flats back.

“This led to the other apartments no longer being rented out, an inevitable result,” he added. “The owners are very unhappy about the situation, but their main concern was the title deeds. Title deeds are a huge problem in Cyprus.”

The lawyer said the main concern for his clients was to get ownership. “Once they get this, hopefully they can sit down and think about how to improve their flats,” he said.

Amongst the backdrop of dilapidation, one small corner of the complex looks clean, tidy and well cared for. This is where a Romanian couple and their family have lived for the last six months. Their small garden area is well tended and they have been growing all sorts of fresh produce in a bid to eat fresh, organic food.

Gheorghe Strugariu is 45, and lives in the ground floor apartment with wife of 18 years, and two teenage girls aged 15 and 16.They have lived in Cyprus for eight years and came to Paphos for a better life, they said.

“We are from a town in Romania and came here because we wanted to earn some money The rent here is cheap and we can afford it, which is why we moved to live here,” he said.

The family moved to the Land of Kings in April and are growing tomatoes, peppers and cabbages in an area around their apartment.

“We have made it all clean here and can eat healthy, fresh food. Nobody else tidies up the place. The other areas are in a bad state, in some place they have water coming in inside and it’s dirty and shabby and it smells.”

The couple pay €260 a month for their apartment, Strugariu is a construction worker, but has been looking for work for a year. His wife is a cleaner at the nearby Elysium Hotel.

“It’s ok living here. We used to live close by. We have electricity and water, we keep it clean and it’s not too much money.”feature bejay - Front of tomb of kings

Paphos Municipality said that both they and the mayor of Paphos, Phedonos Phedonas, are well aware of the situation at the complex but as an authority, pointed out there was little they could do to intervene and tidy the place up as it is a private property and they cannot take action without the owner’s permission.

“However, legal issues that existed concerning the title deeds have been solved recently and it is expected that owners will improve the current situation in order to exploit the project commercially as it used to be,” a spokesman said.

He added that although they often hear people complaining about the mess at the complex, they haven’t received any formal written complaints so far.

“We had some complaints in the past but they were concerning the restaurant that used to operate there and not the entire complex,” he noted.

Described on a holiday site, almost a decade ago, the project sounded like an ideal destination, and a far cry from the image it presents today.

“The spacious Land of the Kings is set amidst abundant greenery in an ideal location just across the road from the famous Tombs of the Kings. Many shops, bars and restaurants can be found within easy walking distance from the complex and a ten minute taxi ride will take you into the heart of the lively centre of the resort.”

Related Posts

EU green lights grants for cheesemakers

Elias Hazou

Larnaca municipality continues mosquito control programme

Doctors warned to prepare for monkeypox

Staff Reporter

Cyprus experiencing economic imbalances says European Commission

Kyriacos Nicolaou

Cyprus lavender healing hurts both past and present

Alix Norman

Make art, not war exhibition in support of Ukraine

Staff Reporter

7 comments

Comments are closed.