Famagusta is located on the east coast of Cyprus and was once the hotspot in the Mediterranean for tourists. The long stretches of pale sand and glistening turquoise waters made it ‘the place to be’ in the 1970s with thousands of visitors annually.
Famagusta was home to a population of 40,000 and was the centre for culture, art, theatre and music on the island. Following this, the district of Famagusta also handled more than 80% of the island’s cargo, majority of which was tonnage of citrus fruit from local orchards.
The town boasted some of the most beautiful beaches on the island with crystal clear waters to rival that of other towns. Famagusta was also the holiday destination of choice for the Hollywood film stars such as Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Following this, Cyprus is also the birthplace of Angie Bowie, the ex-wife of the late David Bowie, who was on one of the last planes out of the airport in Nicosia following the Turkish invasion.
Unfortunately, Famagusta, as the hotspot, drastically changed following the 1974 Turkish Invasion as the city was bombarded.
Greek Cypriots fled their homes in fear on foot, in cars, on buses with no belongings but what they were wearing. Following their evacuation, the refugees anticipated help from another country but nobody came.
And so, the city of Famagusta became a symbol for the island’s division.
Following this, a part of Famagusta still remains completely sealed off guarded by Turkish troops, of which there are 40,000 left in the North of Cyprus as of today. This is known as Varosha which is 20% of Famagusta and was the prime hotspot for tourists.
The ghost town is fenced off with the abandoned hotels still standing. The troops guarding the sites have forbidden photography and trespassers risk death. Moreover, refugees of Varosha can be seen pinning flowers and letters to the barbed wire.
Not to be missed:
The ruins of the Ancient kingdom of Salamis is situated 9km north of Famagusta on the coastal side of the Famagusta-Boğaz Hwy, one of Cyprus’ premier archaeological sites.
According to history, Salamis was founded approximately around 1180 BC by Teukros (Teucer), son of Telamon, King of Salamina, on the Greek mainland. Teukros, brother of the hero, Ajax, was unable to return from the Trojan War after the failing to avenge his brother’s death.