VAROSHA, frozen in time
"From the fence blocking access to the Varosha shoreline, the apartment blocks, restaurants and hotels by the sea ..... are nothing but decaying concrete skeletons, massive urban tombstones resolutely resisting the passing of time "
Famagusta or Ammochostos, which literally means 'buried in the sand' in Greek, is located on the east coast of Cyprus.
Thanks precisely to its golden sandy beach, Famagusta was a world-famous holiday resort from 1960 to 1974.
In particular, Varosha, which is a coastline district south of the city, attracted the international jet-set as well as many Hollywood stars, including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch, Paul Newman and Brigitte Bardot. Many still remember it as a hub of art and intellectual activity and describe it as the French Riviera of Cyprus'.
The first phase of the war took place on 20 July 1974, when Turkish soldiers, supported by the Turkish air force and navy, invaded the northern coast of the Republic of Cyprus and was completed almost a month later when in just two days 40,000 Turkish soldiers occupied a large part of the Mesaoria plain, the town of Famagusta, the Karpasia peninsula and a large part of the Morfou region, leaving more than 4,000 dead and 1,619 missing. More than 200,000 people were forced to flee their homes and became refugees in their homeland.
Even today, Varosha, is still referred to as the Ghost City, remains under the control of the Turkish central government, which does not allow the return of its legitimate inhabitants. Since last October 2022, together with the municipality of Famagusta, the Turkish government has decided to reopen a small part of it to the public, creating much curiosity on the part of foreign observers in particular, but at the same time great concern and indignation on the part of the Greek Cypriots who fled their homes in that distant August of 1974 and who already in 1984 rejected in a referendum the proposal made by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Atta Annan to return the legitimate inhabitants to Varosha.