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Berengaria: The 'House of the Gods' from its glory days to its desolation

The Berengaria, which bears a name of royal references (after all, this was the name of the wife of Richard the Lionheart, whom he married during his short rule on the island), has attracted a series of prominent guests. With the leaders of countries, international stars and even kings, such as Farouk of Egypt, expressing their admiration for the hotel, it was no surprise that it eventually became known as “the hotel of the kings”.

The hotel began operations in the beginning of the 1930s, and was built stone by stone by residents of the area – and not only - and it was featured as the "house of the gods" in advertisements of that era. The altitude, its idyllic location in the Prodromos forest, its imposing size, luxury, and the magnitude of the structure, even the fact that it appears to be a crown on the hill upon which it was built, may explain why even today, despite its decline, this title is justified.

The majesty of the hotel began to appear even in the first images of its construction in 1929, which are reminiscent to that of the mythical "Tower of Babel", with dozens of people appearing to climb on the scaffolding, carrying building materials.

 

In the mid-1980s, the hotel was shut down, following the death of the original owner, Ioannis Kokkalos, which left the hotel with a large debt. The desolation and abandonment of the Berengaria resulted in a series of plundering attacks by people who would invade the space to take its furniture, as well as part of its archives, such as the visitors’ books. Once it had lost all the elements of its prior luxury and brilliance, its bulky size was the only reminder left of its former glory days. 

After its desolation, many hoped for Berengeria hotel to reopen, a wish shared especially by residents of the area. However, as it passed through various owners over time, the hotel was never able to sustain any real development on the road to regeneration. Now, with parts of its outer walls collapsed, its image is far from the memories of those who witnessed its grandeur in the early 20th Century, thus feeding the many myths and urban legends about the place being haunted, though this is, of course, far from true.

Get a 3D, virtual reality tour in the deserted hotel, as it is now, with a click here.

Photos: Andreas Droussiotis, Lemesou Mnimes

* NOTE: The articles of the Project "History of Limassol" present information that has emerged from historical research thus far. Any new data is embedded into the articles, once it has been confirmed.

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