Limassol is the second biggest urban setting in the island nation of Cyprus. Covering an area of 34.87 square kilometres, it is the capital of the eponymous district and serves as home to 154,000 people.
The city is located between Amathus and Kourion, two of the most historic Cypriot city-kingdoms. In 1911, King Richard the Lionheart destroyed Amathus and its downfall led to the emergence of Limassol. It now boasts several wonderful attractions like the centuries-old Lemesos Medieval Castle, Prokymea Sculpture Park, Limassol Archaeological Museum, Fasouri Watermania, Grand Mosque, Kourion Theatre, and St. Nicholas of the Cats.
There is no official red-light district in Limassol, but a high concentration of bars and clubs can be found in "Heroes' Square" which is also known as Platia Iroon. This makes the area an RLD of some sort. In addition, the beach road in the city is literally dotted with brothels and cabarets where trafficked women are being sold by the hour.
History of the RLD
The history of the red-light district is as old as the city of Limassol itself. The sex workers are predominantly Cypriot women and they have designated areas where clients can have sexual intercourse with them. This so-called ‘traditional prostitution’ began to lose steam during the 1980’s because the young Cypriot women didn’t take the place of the aging prostitutes. This led to the wide-scale importation of young women from various countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America and in the Arab world. This came to be known as ‘imported prostitution’ which remains rampant to date.
How to Find the RLD
Heroes’ Square is located at the heart of Limassol, in the area that’s previously known as Kkesogloydkia. It is where the Rialto Theatre is located and the area is illuminated by Venetian lamps. It is easily accessible by cab from virtually any part of the city.
Stay Safe in the RLD
It is said that the RLD is the centre of all organized crime in Cyprus and suffers from the dire consequences of this. Tourists and travellers are therefore advised to be more cautious of crime than elsewhere in the city. Take extra care of personal security and precious belongings. Refrain from sightseeing alone and don’t accept drinks from strangers, particularly in Ayia Napa, because there have been several occasions of muggings.
Many of the cabarets and brothels have known connections to crime syndicates. This is quite unfortunate because while Cyprus is remarkably safe and peaceful, a number of tourists have reportedly been drugged and/or robbed while visiting one of these venues. There also sporadic residual acts of aggression towards people of Turkish descent or appearance, so people of such origin are advised not to disclose it.
Limassol is a relatively small urban conurbation but it has a surprisingly dynamic adult entertainment industry. Its second name is ‘sex town’ likely because it hosts more than 35 cabarets, dozens of sex bars and countless of other sensual opportunities. Prostitutes are mostly found in strip clubs like Plenty, Mirage, Silk & Velvet. Note, however, that strip clubs and cabarets are not exactly what their names imply because most of them also operate as brothels. Some do offer strip tease shows, but the majority of the girls only come to work to find clients.
Brothels are also often called ‘nightclubs’ many of which are situated next to major highways or smaller main roads. If you are looking for these places, they are hard to miss because of the dazzling neon colours on the huge sign boards next to the road. Such signs typically have a silhouette of a naked woman in the logo.
There are usually a group of men waiting for potential customers outside the venues. They are actually doing business there so you can approach them and ask about prices and other details before you go in. Try to request if you can see some of the ladies before paying the entrance fee or making any other deals. It is also a good idea to ask how many working girls are available and from which countries they come from. The hourly rate is anywhere between 120 and 250 Turkish liras.
Prostitutes hang out in the bars and clubs at Heroes’ Square.
Prostitution is legal so long as the girl or woman is under the age of 21. It is the act of pimping and the ownership of a brothel that are prohibited by authorities. The law states that any individual who procures a girl to have sexual intercourse with another person to become a prostitute is guilty of a misdemeanour.
The law that regulates the hiring of women at cabarets and nightclubs provides penalties for both women and their employers who earn a living from prostitution. A landmark case was documented in 2006 when the first prostitution-related imprisonment was ordered by the Nicosia District Court in the area governed by Turkish Cypriots. The manager of Mexico nightclub, identified as Mesut Kilicarslan, pled no contest to the charges against him. He was sentenced to 15 days in prison for profiting from prostitution. By the end of the same year, three more suspects were also sentenced to prison for the same charge.
As for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, members may face legal hurdles not encountered by non-LGBT residents. Ever since Cyprus applied for membership to the European Union (EU), the government had to make changes in human rights legislation, including those pertaining to gender identity and sexual orientation. Today, male and female same-sex sexual activities are considered legal, while civil unions were legalized back in December 2015.
Limassol is a fantastic city located by the Mediterranean Sea. A welcoming weather and a picturesque sea promenade provide a perfect setting for revellers the world over. The vibrant nightlife won’t disappoint party lovers, as the city offers a variety of choices, catering to everyone at its numerous bars, cafes, clubs, and pubs.
Check out Breeze, a chic bar/café located on the beachfront and offers a wide selection of cocktails to enjoy. During weekends, it features the finest chilled out music, but the beat is pumped up during weekends. Sesto Senso is another good place to visit as it is considered as one of Limassol’s most stylish and upmarket clubs. It is almost always packed so try to make a reservation, especially if you intend to drop by on Friday or Saturday.
For those looking for more reasonably priced drinks, the latest music hits, and superb ambiance, Rumours Bar is the place to go. You can stay inside and dance the night away or go outside and enjoy your drinks on the cosy couches. Another venue that offers great food and drinks at reasonable prices is Welcome Inn Irish Bar. It’s popular for its gastronomic delights and a nice and fresh setting.
Limassol is widely regarded as the gay and lesbian centre of Cyprus. It is also known as the home to a large number of Greek Cypriot gays. The city has the largest gay subcultures and one of the highest concentrations of gay bars in both Cyprus and Greece. However, as a tourist city, Limassol has a high concentration of foreign visitors so its gay bars tend to be more geared towards gay European tourists.
General Attitude Towards Gays
Limassol is a gay-friendly city as the local culture has embraced the lifestyle, not only of gays but also members of the LGBT community in general. Gays are free to roam around without any fear of discrimination or acts of targeted hostility.
Most cafes, clubs, and restaurants are not exclusively gay but they are definitely gay-friendly. A common place where gays congregate is Saripolou Square because of its numerous bars that offer enjoyable night outs, while alternative bars and cafes throughout the old section of the city are open to diversity. The only place that offers an exclusively gay nightlife is the Thermos Spa and Elysium Bar Complex which is located 20 minutes by car from the city centre.
Gay Prostitution in Limassol
There are no specific venues for gay prostitution but you can go online to find gay escorts.
Just like gay prostitutes, there are no specific places in Limassol for transsexual prostitutes, but they do advertise their services online.