Features of the first Internet cafe in Cyprus

It was August 31, 1995, when Christodoulos Protopapas for the first time organized a business that provides the inhabitants of the island with Internet services that were obscure at that time, which opened a “pandora’s box” on the island.

In 1996, Zotos Sazeidis opened the first Internet cafe in Nicosia, which turned out to be the first version of Tinder for Cyprus.

Zotos Sazeidis is the founder of the most famous flea market on the island, as well as the creator of the first Cypriot Internet cafe.

Zotos was born and raised in Nicosia in the Trahona area in the 60s. At the age of 14, due to the Turkish occupation, the family left home and changed their place of residence. He graduated from the Pancyprian gymnasium and began working at his father’s factory.

In 1993, I discovered the Greek bars “oρθάδικο”. They were very different from the classic taverns. In such bars, people were crammed to the brim, there were no chairs in them and everyone listened to music standing up and drank. It was very unusual for Cyprus. As a result, I decided to open a similar bar in the place where the theater used to be. From 1969 to 1993, the room was abandoned, I renovated it and named the place the Teatro Club. Unfortunately, the business did not go and I was forced to close the institution after 8 months.
In 1996, he purchased 30 computers and refocused his business under the concept of an Internet cafe.

While I was working at my father’s factory, I often went on business trips. For the first time I saw a computer and an Internet cafe format in the USA. It was then that I had the idea to open something similar in Cyprus. And without hesitation, I named my cafe Theatro Cyber Cafe.

It was the first such institution not only in Cyprus, but throughout the Middle East. At that time there was only one provider, which was called Spidernet. The first visitors were foreign journalists who knew how to use the Internet. Computers were only in expensive hotels and to get access to them, you had to pay a lot of money.

At first I thought that correspondents and scientists would become my clients, however, after a while it turned out that regular visitors are young people who will sit at computers all the time.

The cafe was open from 10 am to 12 am. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday we worked without breaks. In the morning, journalists came to “work”, and then the users of “irka” (slang. mIRC) pulled up and the most interesting thing began.

In addition to computers, there were board games, backgammon, a bar with a cafeteria, many came just to chat and drink coffee. The cafe worked until 2001, unfortunately, then it had to be closed, as the owner became catastrophically short of time.

But it was a time when you can remember a bunch of funny episodes.

One guy met a Greek woman from Canada at mIRC, she came to him in Cyprus and stayed on the island, eventually they got married. With the help of mIRC, a couple from Pakistan met, the guy lived in Nicosia, and the girl in Sweden. One character met a girl from Australia, corresponded with her for a long time and, in the end, it turned out that it was his own sister. He was beside himself with rage.

Now an Internet cafe is an endangered species. Fortunately, progress does not stand still and smartphones with personal laptops have replaced such a wonderful thing as Internet cafes.