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“Old Port Center” Souvenir and Gift Shop in Limassol
“Old Port Center” Souvenir and Gift Shop in Limassol
Daria Saulskaia
Author: Daria Saulskaia
Translation: Jordan Worsley
Photo: Daria Saulskaia

Located in the historical part of Limassol, “Old Port Centre” is one of the largest souvenir shops in the city. Here you can choose a gift to match every taste, witness the process of treating sea sponges, and feast on some frozen yoghurt in the cafe.

The Old Port Center features three halls: the first displays sponges, shells, corals, hand-made soap, natural cosmetics and decorations. In the second room, you can see statuettes, elegant kitchen utensils, traditional Cypriot lace, wine and zivania, as well as sweets and olive oil. The third hall houses copies of famous icons in Cyprus, paintings and ceramics.

The shop’s history — as is often the case in Cyprus — is the story of the owner’s family, who were sponge fishers in the late 19th century. The grandfather and founder of the business, Stilanos Moraris, lived on the island of Symi, not far from Rhodes, where he hunted sponges throughout the entire Mediterranean. The business was passed from father to son, and Stilanos Moraris’ son, who moved to Famagousta after the Second World War, continued the family business. In 1974, the tradition was then passed to the next generation — his son Grigoris Andreas. Having moved to Limassol, he expanded the business and built his own sponge processing factory, where they are prepared for sale. The sponges arrive at the shop ready to be used, but you can observe the process of how they are bleached in one of the shop’s halls.