Famagusta and the lost city of Varosha - Historical Tours

The term ‘Lost City’ is intensely exciting and evokes memories of Pompeii, Atlantis and the like. This 4VIP tour in Cyprus is full of surprises and amazing stories that will stretch your examination to its limit. On this excursion, we will first start with the city of Famagusta, which has that infinitesimal element of mystery that attracts curious visitors. Famagusta is the de jure capital of the Famagusta District of the Republic of Cyprus. Just east of Nicosia, this city has started to develop and there is a general belief that it may finally be on its way to recapturing its past glory and once again become a world-class tourist destination. It possesses the deepest harbor of the island, though not in use today. Turkey calls it the capital of Gazimağusa District of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is a bit of an anomaly since it is not recognised by any country in the world other than Turkey. This one political peccadillo has held up Turkey’s admission to the EU for ages. To deepen the mystique, Famagusta has within its ramparts a surreal and beautiful ghost township called Varosha, frozen in time for 40 years now. This is definitely one of the many places to see in Cyprus.

The town had been completely evacuated by its Greek Cypriot population who fled before the invading army after the town had been bombed by the Turkish air-force. Unlike other parts of occupied Cyprus, the town of Famagusta was sealed off by the Turkish army immediately after being captured and no one was allowed to enter that part of the town - not even journalists. The term ‘ghost town’ was coined later by Swedish journalist Jan-Olof Bengtsson, who visited the Swedish UN battalion in Famagusta port and saw the sealed off part of the town from the battalion's observation post. The many formalities for crossing the border were relaxed over the years, but you must have your passport handy.

Varosha had regal status in the 1960s as the Middle East's Riviera, with its crescent shaped white sand beach that lured 10,000 tourists at a time from all over the world. Movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Brigitte Bardot and high flying pop groups were regular visitors. The now decrepit Argo Hotel on JFK Avenue was always booked full. Varosha was also a posh residential area, mainly occupied by Greek Cypriots. But after the Turkish invasion of 1974, all Greek Cypriots were driven off and Varosha, with its four star category, was fenced off and left to decay. People who had to leave Varosha still fantasize romantic memories. They talk about it being the hub of art and intellectual activity. Returning to visit the ghost city depresses them no end.

Famagusta has a fascinating history, having been the residence of Mycenaean Greeks in the Bronze Age, followed by the Assyrian, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Arab caliphates, the French Lusignan dynasty, the Venetians, the Ottomans and the British. A once crowded historical centre area thronged by tourists is gradually recovering from the mist of anonymity. The old city centre is surrounded by Venetian fortifications, which you can explore and acquaint yourself with the city centre, letting your imagination do the rest. The walled-in sections of Famagusta contain many unique buildings well worth a sightseeing tour of Cyprus. The city is also home to the Eastern Mediterranean University. Surprisingly, Famagusta has a vibrant nightlife. But then, Cypriots are a fun loving people.

The French Lusignan dynasty ruled as Kings of Cyprus from 1190 to 1489 AD and had brought with them the latest French taste in architecture, notably developments in Gothic architecture. The Lusignans would be crowned as Kings of Cyprus in the St. Sophia Cathedral, now Selimiye Mosque in Nicosia, and then crowned as Kings of Jerusalem in the St. Nicolas Cathedral in Famagusta. Built between circa 1298 and 1400, it was consecrated as a Christian cathedral in 1328. The Cathedral was later known as the Ayasofya (Saint Sophia) Mosque of Magusa. Its one of the places you must see in Cyprus.

Turkey has launched a proposal to utilise Famagusta’s harbour. They claim that Shipyard Famagusta Cyprus is perfectly positioned to provide services for vessels operating in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as being very close to the major east west trade routes. They aim to provide ship owner, operators and managers with high quality service experience. They offer short lead times, with dedicated technical teams to work to ensure your vessel suffers minimal downtime, but also meets the required standards needed to help keep you seaworthy. Year round sun allows their technical teams to carry out high quality painting work all year round. The success of this venture is not yet known. Many mysteries surrounded by this place and 4VIP tour recommending to you to do this fascinated excursion in Cyprus.

Do please carry your passports along as FOREIGN PASSPORTS ARE OBLIGATORY IN TRNC!

Private car with driver for 3 hours
120 euro

Additional hour
25 euro

Cost based on 2-4 Person

Private minibus with driver for 3 hours
220 euro

Additional hour
35 euro

Cost based on 5-8 Person

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