Photo: Facebook/Limassol Marina
The tiny island country of Cyprus is in the spotlight this week for a surprise bailout plan that was specifically designed to tax deposits held by Russian gangsters and oligarchs.You see, wealthy Russians love the country’s lax citizenship requirements, which provides an easy way to get black money into the European Union.
But that can’t be all that Russians love about Cyprus, right?
The Mediterranean nation is home to more than 10,000 Russians, notably in the coastal city of Limassol, which is home to several Russian schools, Russian-language newspapers, and boutiques that sell some of the world’s best mink coats.
Limassol's tourist strip, which faces the water, has stores that cater to the Russians, selling everything from kefir (a Russian yogurt drink) to Russian beer.
It's clear that the Russians are big buyers here when you see the large billboards advertising sea view villas and apartments — in Russian.
Russians have been buying property in luxury sea view high-rises and private residential gated communities with private pools and central heating.
Luxury car rental agencies have popped up, leasing out Ferraris, Mercedes, and Porsches, mainly to Russian tourists.
Yet there are modern shops that cater to the Russian tourists and expats. Incredibly, there are high-end fur shops, like Avanti Furs, that sell fur coats to people — even in the tropical Mediterranean climate.
On weekends, Russians flock to Debenhams, a high-end British department store with a branch in Limassol.
For those who don't own property, there are luxury hotels like the Le Méridien Limassol Spa & Resort. It's considered one of the best resorts on the island.
This is still very much a beach resort town, and Russians love Lady's Mile Beach, outside the city centre.
There's also Governor's Beach just outside Limassol, a long sandy beach with craggy peaks and many beach-side fish restaurants.
There are several Russian restaurants here, including a branch of Taras Bulba, where you can get Russian food and beer, like Baltika.
There's a Cypriot-Russian Festival each June on the Limassol seafront, which features shows, concerts, and performances by Russian artists and groups.
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