Varosha, Cyprus - The Traveller


Post Top Ad

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Varosha, Cyprus


Varosha – Most Famous Tourist Destination in the World

Varosha town, a southern section of the Cypriot city of Famagusta was the most famous tourist destination in the 1970s and to cater to the tourists, which was increasing, several new high rise buildings as well as hotel had been constructed. Varosha was not only the popular tourist destination in Cyprus but between 1970 and 1974, it was also one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world.

Varosha was once an active town with tourist swarming the beaches and the shores of Varosha in Cyprus were graced by famous film stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot. However, in 1974, the town had been invaded by Turkish troops and the population which was once 40,000, disappeared to nothing and the resorts that stand there have a desolate look where hotels appear with broken windows that line the beach.

There are signs around the place prohibiting photographs and videos with the Turkish soldiers guarding the place. Prior to the division of Cyprus in 1974, Varosha a resort in Famagusta was very prosperous and the rich as well as the poor were drawn by some of the best beaches on the island. Besides Brigitte Bardot, Richard Burton dropped by and the Argo Hotel on JFK Avenue was Elizabeth Taylor’s favourite spot.

Turkey Invaded Cyprus – Occupied Northern Third of Island

Vasia Markides, a 34 year old American Greek-Cypriot whose mother had grown up there informs that anyone who comes from Varosha has a romanticised conception of it and talks about it being the hub of art and intellectual activity.

 They describe it as the French Riviera of Cyprus. However, forty years ago after several years of inter-ethnic violence ending in a revolution which was inspired by the ruling military regime of Greece, Turkey invaded Cyprus occupying the northern third of the island. With the advancement of the troops in Varosha, the inhabitants of a Greek-Cypriot community fled expecting to return when the situation would calm down.

But the resort seemed to be fenced off by the Turkish military and it has been a ghost town since then. UN resolutions called for the handover of Varosha to UN control in 1984 and prohibit any effortto resettle it by anyone other than those who had been forced out.

Travel Restrictions Relieved – 2003

One of them had been Markides’ mother Emily who had just got married and all her wedding presents were still in the attic when the home was abandoned. Other narrates stories of pots left cooking on stoves and lives stopped mid-way.

 Travel restrictions were relieved for the first time in 2003, permitting Cypriots on both sides to cross the UN Buffer Zone which is commonly known as the `Green Line’. Vasia Markides narrates of the day when she had returned to peek across the wire at her ancestral home for the first time that the picture in her mind was like a paradise but felt like some sort of post-apocalyptic nightmare and nature taking over.

Prickly pear bushes had overrun the total six square kilometres with trees that had sprouted through living rooms. It is a ghost town. One will find signs across the fence cautioning tourist that photos and movies are forbidden and trespassers with the risk of death. Exiled inhabitants tend to regularly pin love letters and flowers to the barbed wire around the place.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.