A visit to the remote Mavi Köşk, or “The Blue House,” is like stepping back in time. Built it 1957 in the middle of nowhere near the coast of Northern Cyprus, the retro-chic villa is still furnished as it was in the 1970s when the owner is rumored to have escaped capture by fleeing through a hidden tunnel behind his bed.
Now a museum, Mavi Köşk feels more like snooping around in someone’s home. Though its history is a blurry mix of myth and truth, it’s believed the house was built by a Paulo Paolides, a Greek Cypriot who was rumored to work for the Italian mafia smuggling guns into Cyprus, and the decor is a glimpse into the glamorous if eccentric lifestyle of the supposed mobster.
As the name suggests, there is a clear blue theme throughout the multicolor home, with bright blue furniture, carpets, walls, and entire blue rooms. The house is full of perfectly kitsch features, such as the sunken blue “milk pool” in the living area and the iguana skin-covered drinks cabinet.
Upstairs, you can visit the balcony where Paolides would supposedly throw an apple during parties and invite whoever caught the fruit to spend the evening with him. You can also take in the spectacular view, which stretches as far as the coast of Turkey on a clear day.
Paolides lived in the Blue House until 1974 when he fled during the Turkish invasion. The Turkish army took control of the residence, which was later opened to the public as a museum.