Famagusta

Famagusta

Maybe you think the only place where there are ghost towns is in the American Wild West. Well, did you know there is one in Cyprus too? Though this may be about to change soon...

It is true, big parts of Famagusta are completely deserted. During the 1974 Cyprus War, the Greek-Cypriot inhabitants of Famagusta's Varosha district fled the city and to the South of the country before the Turkish tanks arrived. The Turkish army then sealed off that entire district. That means everything there is still the way it was in 1974 - the perfect time warp - and this includes the clothes in the people's wardrobes. Some of them would be extremely fashionable now, with all those 70's-retro fashion trends of today...

At the moment it is rumoured that some movement has come into the Cyprus situation (the European Union plays a big role in this). Will the country soon be reunited? Or will at least Famagusta allow its Greek inhabitants to return? Anything seems possible at the moment. And if this really happens, then property prices in Famagusta will soon be going through the roof, that much is certain.

Famagusta used to Cyprus's main seaside resort. And all that infrastructure is of course still there - and untouched. So of course, the city has some huge potential, though at the moment this is still sleeping. There are other reasons why Famagusta may have a glorious future ahead of it: It has Cyprus's deepest harbour - which now is closed. Before the war, it was of major importance for the country's foreign trade. All this might soon continue.

Of course, the Turkish part of Famagusta never got deserted by its inhabitants. That place, which includes the city's walled old town, is now more vibrant than ever (current population: 35 thousand). The world-famous Eastern Mediterranean University is located there with its lively student community. Famagusta is an ancient city, and many of the old buildings and monuments are still with us. For once, there is a significant amount of Roman ruins, though they are in surprisingly good shape: A spectacular amphitheatre, a gymnasium, baths, and royal tombs are the stone witnesses of the Roman Empire, for which Famagusta was an important harbour city. Then there are several magnificent Christian places of worship, including a monastery and the splendid church of St. Barnabas - though none of them are currently used for their religious purposes. There is a great citadel overlooking Famagusta harbour. People call it "Othello's Tower", referring to that great Shakespear play.


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Famagusta, Cyprus

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