Visit Osman Ağa Kültür Evi outside Iskele for a true Cypriot experience. The cultural centre with related restaurant is nestled in a lush oasis with historic olive trees and grapevines climbing along the walls. Osman Ağa has taken advantage of the culture and tradition in a way that tourists and local visitors can enjoy the natural heritage of Cyprus from an overall perspective. We met with Emine and Osman Sütcü, mother and son who together run Osman Ağa Kültür Evi.
– It is our duty to inspire and make the youger generation aware of our values, to get them to take care of our culture and history, says Osman.
They show us around in the large restaurant where long tables are lined up. Stone walls are decorated with traditional Cypriot objects, for example a 150 year old wooden door. Emine says that the stone floor tiles are taken from old houses in the neighbourhood. In the garden outside the waiters are preparing for the evening where several large groups of people are expected to dine. Osman Ağa Kültür Evi is a popular place for weddings and other large parties. Buses with tourists who want to get a cultural dose of Cyprus arrive here often. There is live music night time Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday the restaurant open early for breakfast at 11 AM.
The restaurant picks both inspiration and ingredients from the cypriot countryside with a wide menu that meets all expectations. Starters are hot and cold meze such as hummus, tahini, yogurt, olives, grilled halloumi cheese, meatballs, grilled mushrooms, chips and pastarami. On the main menu there are Oven Kebab, Lamb Shish, Chicken Shish, Lamb Chops and Full Mixed Kebab. The restaurant also has an à la carte menu with various dishes. Osman says that guests usually sit there and hang out late into the night, in the garden, it is an almost magical atmosphere.
The cultural centre has its own museum with antique cypriot items. Guests and visitors can admire preserved objects like ancient bronze dish, clay pots, agricultural implements and furniture that is exhibited here. A portrait of Emines father, Osman Civisilli, hangs above the sofa, who during the conflict carried out a duty for the Turkish Cypriot community, as the same time he was a founding member of parliament and the deputy. The cultural centre is named after him. Each week they arrange music classes where participants will learn to play the piano, violin and guitar, and on Wednesdays they host wood carving classes, which is old traditional crafts.