In the Persian language, a ‘khan’ is an inn surrounding an inner courtyard where caravans of travellers stop for the night
In the Persian language, a ‘khan’ is an inn surrounding an inner courtyard where caravans of travellers stop for the night and get essential services. Khans were found throughout the Middle East, including in Pafos, where the complex that came to be known as Ibrahim’s Khan was built during the Ottoman era. The structure, built in 1860, provided stables for travelling animals on the ground floor and sleeping rooms for people upstairs; amenities included a coffee shop, a canteen, a grocery store, and a farrier’s shop for shoeing animals. Ibrahim’s Khan fell into disuse in the 1950s, but it has recently been reimagined as a cultural and arts centre. In anticipation of Pafos 2017: European Capital of Culture, the municipality worked with architects and builders to restore and adapt the stone structure. Now the former stables house workshops for artisans. Woodcarvers, jewellers, and manufacturers of carob and olive oil products are present; you can see them at work and buy their wares. In the centre of the courtyard is Honey, a restaurant serving regional cuisine. In the back of the complex, an outdoor performance area is sited next to the structure housing the Creative Writing Centre. Nearby is the Mosaic Experience, where you can take a four-hour class in the art every Thursday. Climb the central stairs (or take the elevator) and find a gallery for contemporary art. Once a place of hospitality for travellers, Ibrahim’s Khan is now a symbol of cultural diversity and a hub of creativity and community.