Cyprus Legends: The Abandoned "Berengaria" | Cyprus Inform
About Cyprus

Cyprus legends: the abandoned “Berengaria”

Заброшенный отель «Беренгария»

An abandoned hotel in Cyprus

the Majestic Hotel "Berengaria"Ghosts lurking in the darkness of the castle, amusing the guests, stories of the local residents about the terrible events that took place nearby, a place overgrown with legends … Do you think that we are talking about France, the United Kingdom and Romania? Do you think that we will tell you a story about one of the European castles? Not at all. We are talking about Cyprus.

Today we will introduce you to Berengaria hotel, one of the most unusual and interesting places in Cyprus. The abandoned “Berengaria” hotel is located in the Troodos Mountains near Prodromos village.

History of Berengaria hotel

aerial view of the hotelOnce, this was the most luxurious hotel in Cyprus, a royal one in the full meaning of the word. Even its name reveals luxury, a name given to the hotel in honor of Queen Berengaria, wife of Richard the Lionheart, who were married  in the Limassol castle.

Local residents were honored to supply foods to the kitchen of the hotel, and winemakers competed for the right to submit their nectar to the royal table. After all, the hotel served as a haven for the royal and other titled guests.

Here, they used to go down to dinner in  velvet gloves, and the stairs and halls still keep the hotel’s former greatness. It seems that we are talking about the “Titanic”, which sank in the deep sea, but its legends are still alive. So what caused the “flood” of this magnificent mountain hotel?

Its owner – a resident of Prodromos village – built it in 1930. “Berengaria” was the first major hotel in Cyprus. Realizing that holidays in the mountains was gaining popularity among the English, he gathered the available funds, borrowed some money from friends and invested in the construction of a luxury hotel that was developing quickly.

In the middle of the twentieth century (50’s-70’s) Berengaria hotel was at its peak. Locals came here for the weekend, and hundreds of Europeans fled here from the hot beaches of the island.

the "Berengaria" hotelTo go to the hotel just for the day was not good idea: it was necessary to spend 2-3 hours on the way on the village’s bus in order to get to the hotel. You understand that it wasn’t the most pleasant journey…

The hotel is full of echoes of greatness, you can feel the past here and imagine the pictures: the leisurely breakfast on the huge terrace overlooking the magnificent views of the Troodos mountains, swimming in the infinity pool, having lunch and relaxing with a book in hand, talking during the traditional «five o ‘clock tea», dinner, which brought together the most famous and rich people from all over Europe, musical evenings … During that period, the best musicians played here.

A legend about abandoned hotel

the "Berengaria" hotelWhat happened then? Why is this beautiful hotel in poor condition and its walls are decorated with inscriptions in different languages? Now the hotel evokes unpleasant thoughts about the impermanence of life, especially when the wind is howling in the bare corridors of the castle. Like the skeleton of a prehistoric animal, “Berengaria” silently stands in Troodos.

According to legend, the owner of the hotel had three sons. Before his death, he bequeathed them to share all available property in three equally parts, so the same “fate” awaited the hotel. The father believed that sons would not quarrel, because they would be doing business together.

And this is how it was for a few years. But then feuds about profit-sharing from the hotel arose. During these disputes the hotel was forgotten … Nobody wanted to invest in the reconstruction, to deal with the utmost serious affairs.

Subsequently, all three of them died under mysterious circumstances. For example, the eldest of the brothers, they say, threw himself over the bridge, when faced with serious financial difficulties. Locals also believe that his father avenged him and his beloved “Berengaria” brothers for their unfulfilled promise.

The hotel has been abandoned for more than 30 years. During this time, the locals took from it everything that could have at least some benefit in a village household.

Is the legend true? Do locals hear terrible howls and the rustle of heavy velvet robes? Do not be scared, it’s really an interesting place and still makes a strong impression on its visitors. Prodromos villagers say that guests are not threatened. Its owners, in spite of everything, have the habit of greeting travelers with the traditional Cypriot hospitality. In addition, at the abandoned hotel, you can even find a couple of “Love Trees”.

An unpredictable future

the "Berengaria" hotelExperienced tourists who want to wander through the ruins, often come to the hotel. Those who want to walk up the stairs, where once Winston Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough and the King of Egypt Farouk I stepped…

The list is endless. In addition, Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann even stayed at the hotel for a long time.

Will the hotel have another chance? Several years ago, a German construction company received permission for the reconstruction of the hotel.

Now work has been suspended for unknown reasons… Perhaps, as the time passes, the great queen “Berengaria” will once again open its doors to welcome guests from around the world and the sumptuous balls will be held here afresh. The Prodromos villagers could anew hear the music, see bright lights, and be proud that they have one of the best hotels in Cyprus. Who knows?