Blue House, Blue Villa, Blue Pavilion or Blue Mansion;-take your choice, the Turkish word ‘köşk’ pronounced ‘keushk’ translates in many ways. Like its name too, no-one really knows the true story of the man who built it, Paolo Pavlides…or was it Byron Pavlides – different sources mention different people.
The twisted and convoluted tale of the mysteries of the building itself are no different:-are there several secret passages leading who knows where? Was there really a golden key found in a safe that unlocks something hitherto undiscovered? Did Sophia Loren really bathe in the supposed ‘milk bath’?
The reason we will probably never know the answers to these and other riddles is because, in truth, it’s all too unimportant to warrant serious investigation. Nobody really cares and the myths and legends are quite enjoyable enough on their own. This is what we do know though:
The villa was built in and around 1957 by Byron (or was it Paulo) Pavlides on a hilltop vantage point overlooking the north-western coastline. The legend has it that the spot was carefully chosen so that this ‘greatest arms merchant of the Middle-East’ as some sources have him, could watch as his arms shipments were smuggled in by boat.
The more prosaic truth is that the Pavlides family were the main agents in Cyprus for several car dealership franchises and that Byron was just one of the more eccentric sons of this family.
The villa was built with all mod-cons and with little expense spared. The gardens were beautifully landscaped and have spectacular views, as do the upstairs bedrooms. And there really is a secret escape tunnel leading from the main bedroom.
Clearly he liked the colour blue, for that is the basic colour scheme throughout the villa. Much of the furniture seems quite hideous today and its classical formality conflicts with the laid back charm of the villa and gardens. One piece not to be missed is the iguana skin covered drinks cabinet!
Perhaps more than anything, today the villa works best as a time capsule of 1970s Mediterranean/Cypriot kitsch. This was what the rich aspired to back then; this was what the best that money can buy got you fifty years ago.