Wednesday, 11 May 2016 17:42

Limassol’s bustling nightlife not a joy for all

Saripolou Square on a weekend night Saripolou Square on a weekend night

Downtown Limassol, especially the area around Saripolou Square, has become a hub of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Most every night sees the streets fill with revellers – more so on weekends.

In an effort to revive the centre of Limassol, the government gave incentives to homeowners to restore their downtown properties. The incentives also encouraged business owners, many of them now bar owners. The entertainment business has been flourishing; along with ‘snack bars’, many music bars and nightclubs have opened in the old town. Around 30 establishments operate in the Saripolou Square area – leaving the area’s residents in despair.

Residents’ rights
Three years ago, the Association of Residents and Friends of the Historical Centre of Limassol was formed to unite citizens and protect their quality of life as well as preserve the area’s buildings and culture. Other objectives include ensuring the centre remains inhabited, despite the uncontrolled developments, as well as promoting a harmonious coexistence between residents and local businesses. The group now has several hundred members.

“We are not against bars,” says one association member, “but things have clearly gone overboard and the balance has been lost. We are unable to sleep at night and our own home entrances and driveways are frequently blocked by parked cars. “Many of us have spent a lot of money to restore our homes, following all rules and regulations for listed buildings, but our quality of life is deteriorating.”

Many tenants move out of the area, but homeowners have little choice. Some predict that if things continue at this rate, the centre of Limassol will soon be a ghost town during the day and a centre of discothéques at night.

“The police are clearly not in a position to keep things under control,” explains another member. “They will come if called — if they have staff available — but a simple reprimand will not change the situation.

“We even contacted a similar association in Athens’ Plaka area who were able to manage the problem with political support – the ministries pushed for regulations that allowed everyone to co-exist. As is often the case, there is a lack of vision here. No one is thinking of bringing more variety for positive long term results. Everyone is looking for short-term benefits!”

Health services at work
The Limassol Municipality says it is trying to allow business owners to make a living while assuring that residents can sleep at night: a tough call. One measure to help the situation is a device bar owners need to install which will automatically switch off the music if it goes beyond a certain number of decibels.

Municipality staff check music licences, soundproofing and musical installations when an establishment is first opened. They also take measures of noise levels on weekends to make sure regulations are followed. A new law has just been voted in, stipulating fines of up to €2,000 and six months in jail in case of infraction.

“We are calling on citizens to cooperate and follow rules and regulations,” says the Head of Municipal Health Services, Demetris Theoti. “We want business owners to have an income and residents to be able to sleep.”

Legal and illegal
“What noise?” laughs one bar employee, “The whole place is noisy! Who will come and do something? This is not France or Germany where regulations are followed, this is Cyprus!”
Some bar owners who do operate within the law say they find it disheartening to see others blatantly disregard all rules and give the whole place a bad name.

“We spend a lot of money to get all licences, set up everything according to rules and switch off the music at the required time, while some just operate illegally and create trouble for all of us,” says one of them.

Until there is a stricter enforcement of rules, the battle seems set to continue.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of May 5, 2016 


Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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