Varosha CyprusIn the early 1970’s Varosha, Cyprus was one of the Mediterranean’s most glamorous and popular tourist destinations. An upscale quarter in Famagusta Bay, its bright blue waters and beautiful sandy beaches were draws for such celebrities as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, and Brigitte Bardot among others.

Population eventually grew to about 39,000, but by the end of 1974 the town would be conquered by Turkish troops, fenced off completely, and be left with a population of zero.

Today the former millionaire’s playground resort still stands vacant and fenced off, guarded by Turkish soldiers and unlikely to re-open anytime soon.


Varosha, Cyprus

Varosha Famagusta Cyprus mapThe island of Cyprus has been the subject of a constant tug-of-war battle between Greece and Turkey for centuries.

Until recently, both Greek and Turkish Cypriots had managed to coexist on the island – albeit not always peacefully.

But in August of 1974, the Turkish military seized the predominantly Greek Varosha quarter of Famagusta and changed the course of the island’s history forever.

Residents – fearing being slaughtered by the advancing tanks – fled the city with only the clothes on their backs, leaving all possessions behind. Other sections of Varosha Cyprus were bombed by the Turkish air force, destroying many buildings.

Once the Turks gained control of the area they fenced it off, and have since refused admittance to visitors and former residents.

(click thumbnails to enlarge)


Varosha Cyprus Left to Rot

Varosha Cyprus abandoned new carsHomes still have closets full of clothes, cabinets full of dishes, and there is even a car dealership still stocked with ‘brand new’ 1974 model-year cars.

Dozens of hotels along the coastline sit empty with broken windows exposing fully-furnished rooms to the elements.

Countless cars sit collecting dust in garages. There is even a construction crane still towering above the skyline, the hotel it was constructing also frozen in time and never finished.

So why is the area still barricaded and patrolled by Turkish troops? Varosha is protected by a 1984 UN Security Council resolution that states the empty town can only be resettled by its original inhabitants.

This resolution has prevented Turkish authorities from re-opening Varosha as they are in no hurry to return it to the Greeks.

Some speculate Turkey is holding Varosha as a bargaining chip for future concessions from Greece.


Until Turkey relinquishes Varosha, it will continue to be battered by the elements and slowly crumble over time. Turkish troops still patrol the region and trespassers are imprisoned or executed.

Varosha CyprusTroops are authorized to use lethal force, so enter at your own risk.

No official visits have been granted into Varosha, Cyprus. Most of the photographs we have are from bold photographers brave enough to jump the fence and risk personal harm eluding Turkish troops in order to snap pictures.

 Varosha Cyprus Varosha Cyprus


The Future

Varosha CyprusThe future is not bright for Varosha, Cyprus; the entire city is beyond repair. Experts have pointed out forty years of unmaintained exposure to the elements has taken its toll on the structures.

Engineers assert the city would have to be completely torn down and rebuilt as nearly all of the buildings are unsafe and have major structural damage.

Varosha CyprusRoads are cracked with overgrowth, water pipes underground have disintegrated, the sewage system has crumbled, and the power grid infrastructure is now antiquated.

Rebuilding Varosha would require a complete razing. Perhaps that is a contributing factor to why, at this point, there is no rush for a resolution.


Video footage of Varosha Cyprus during the Turkish invasion (warning: graphic): click here

Video footage of Varosha Cyprus right after the Turkish attack (again, graphic):  click here

Video footage of a more recent visit to Varosha Cyprus after it was deserted: click here …and part two: click here

Varosha Cyprus

Varosha Cyprus in its heyday:

Before and after: Varosha Cyprus before & after *

Visitors are not allowed in Varosha, Cyprus

Varosha Cyprus *

near Varosha Cyprus is Nicosia International Airport, now a UN buffer zone:


Varosha Cyprus coastline **


  1. Hey good news is if they let us in to vacation, there will be no one around us at all and no one to talk to or see us lol

    • It would be kind of interesting to walk through the streets, after they’ve been vacant for so long. Perhaps they can do a study of what happens when man leaves a city untouched for centuries…

      • read the chapter on Varosha in Alan Weissmans book ‘The world without us’ Rodney-it gives a good description….

  2. It amazes me that this can happen and continue to be unresolved for nothing more than sheer

    bloody mindedness and political veiws

  3. Great compilation! However, there is a Turkish casino inside Varosha and a UN post. I can also tell that merely all of the houses have been looted by the Turkish troops over the years. Hence, the statement, dishes are still standing where they’ve been left is true for the 70ies, but nowadays only things that can not be cashed are still in Varosha.

  4. i went here via boat when visiting Cypress, obviously they could only get so close but it was really eirely creepy. There wasnt just one crane but around 5 or 6 i could count, shame on Turkey for being stuborn – they should do the decent thing and hand it back immediately.

  5. It is meant to re open on the 1st July 2012, the houses are to be reclaimed by the rightful owners only, the only down side is turkey want it to be under TC administration. I don’t think that the GC will go with that ( who can blame them) so it may stay closed
    Only time will tell.
    All I can say on the matter is give varosha back to the Greek people as turkey never wanted it in the first place, they were told to take it by the USA

  6. It is meant to re open on the 1st July 2012, the houses are to be reclaimed by the rightful owners only, the only down side is turkey want it to be under TC administration. I don’t think that the GC will go with that ( who can blame them) so it may stay closed
    Only time will tell.

    All I can say on the matter is give varosha back to the Greek people as turkey never wanted it in the first place, they were told to take it by another high powered country

  7. My wife and I used to visit Famagusta in the early 70s while living in Nicosia…it is a real shame what the Turks can do….

    • There are villages where all the Turkish men and boys were slaughtered. Remember Srebrenitza?? Please read the real history instead of propaganda. The Turks have always maintained a dignified silence over what really happened.Sadly.

      • Michael C-we know that terrible atrocities have been commited in Cyprus in the past by BOTH sides and don’t deny it but this still does not excuse Varosha being kept hostage by the Turkish Army,which is what the situation here is?Two wrongs NEVER made a right and that applies everywhere!

      • Well done your right about that the Turks aren’t entirely to blame and nor are the Greeks. The deaths of the Cypriot people’s Turks and Greeks can be rested on the shoulders of a certain noble peace prize winner. I lived there for 5 years and have friends on both sides of the island.

        • Sorry but it has been officially observed and documented by the U.N. that the Turkish Army looted Varosha systematically in the summer of 1975……Ask Turkish Cypriots and many will admit it too!

    • Rich, the only dog in the world is you. You do not even have any idea
      regarding what Turkish Army did in Cyprus.

  8. This article is so biased it takes my breath away!!!! Firstly the Turkish army did not invade Cyprus and steal Varosha – they intervened to stop the Greek Cypriot terrorist organisation EOKA from slaughtering innocent Turkish Cypriot people. The problems did not begin in 1974 as this article implies, systematic genocide had been taking place in Cyprus against the Turkish Cypriots since 1960 when the British withdrew their control and Cyprus became independant. The Turkish intervention was a direct retaliation to a military cue by the Greek army who were determined to wipe out the Turkish Cypriot community! People should read the true history of what happened in Cyprus before making judgements. I am lucky enough to live on this beautiful island and it makes me very sad to still see it as a divided community after all these years, but just to set the record straight – it was the GREEK CYPRIOTS, not the Turkish Cypriots who voted against the Annan plan, which would have restored Varosha back to them. They were not prepared to compromise, they still want the whole island to themselves, the bigotry being all on their side and there will never be a settlement here until they acknowledge the fact that the Turkish Cypriots have as much right to Cyprus as they do.
    Turkish Cypriots have lived under the shadow of embargos for over 40 years because the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus is not recognised as a legal country, but in spite of the fact that they were forced out of their homes in the south and settled into enclaves with nothing, they have restored their lives and I am proud to live amongst them. They are caring gentle people who just want to be seen as part of the world community. However, that is unlikely to happen while ever the Greek Cypriot propaganda machine is able to convince the world through articles such as this one, that the Turks are murdering dogs who stole their island! Not true!!! Read the true, unbiased history !!!

      • Here here Hopkic and as if Varosha was a threat to the Turkish Army?????? We all know that TC’s were also displaced but then how does that give Turkey the right to import mainland people from Turkey as well as numerous others. What gives them the right to vandalise churchyards and graves????? Admittedly i would suggest the young men in the Turkish Army are far different from the scum in 74 but even so,no excuse for idiscriminate killing of civilians and bombing hotels.

      • Were there only innocent holiday makers in Famagusta, it’s name is no longer Famagusta, it’s Magosa.

    • I did not know the history that you have highlighted. I was guilty of being pro Greek until now but you have certainly opened my eyes to things I was unaware of and encouraged me me seek the facts rather than be told propaganda. I will study this issue with an open mind. I’ve visited many places in Greece and turkey I find both nations and their citizens hospitable and worthy patriots. Unfortunately we live in a world where no nation, culture or society is completely free from wrong doers. I’ll continue to judge individuals on their merit and to avoid generalisation of nations. Thanks again for your enlightening info.

    • Pam wrote: Firstly the Turkish army did not invade Cyprus and steal Varosha – they intervened to stop the Greek Cypriot terrorist organisation EOKA from slaughtering innocent Turkish Cypriot people.

      Hi Pam… Interesting. How do you explain the poster the Turkish government designed to support and advertise their ‘intervention’?

      Just in case you are not familiar with it you can see it on

    • Hey, Pam Schofield, i guess you forgot to mention the most important part of all which is that the Turkish invasion and occupation and the self-declaration of independence of the TRNC have been condemned by several United Nations Resolutions. The Security Council reaffirms this every year. So before you get into making false claims about the good intentions of the Turkish government that has slaughter so many innocent families, I suggest you get your head off of your rear end, and do some more research, because if there is a biased point here, then that is certainly yours.

    • Pam Schofield: you are vermin, nothing more, nothing less. You are criminal living on stolen land in the occupied areas attempting to justify your criminal activity. You, and people like you, take up fanatic Turkish nationalist positions in your attempts to justify your criminal activity.

      The narrative of ‘systematic genocide’ is so laughable that it is not even brought up in serious circles (indeed, the only genocide which has ever occurred on Cyprus is that against the Greeks of Cyprus – and it is ongoing). International law does, however, declare the so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ illegal along with the Turkish policy of colonising the occupied areas with Turkish settlers to change the demographics of the island in Turkey’s favour. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus was the culmination of two decades of Turkish aggression and violence on Cyprus, consistently aimed at one thing and one thing alone: the partitioning of Cyprus.

      • Tim,whilst i understand your anger and i partly agree with what you say,let us not forget both sides have commited atrcities in the past but this indeed does not give Turkey the right to do what they did in 74.I was lucky enough to experience Famagusta in 73

  9. I do agree with the comments wrote by Pam.however this does not excuse the systematic looting of Varosha by the Turkish Army and the subsequent decay of the area. I stayed in an apartment block in 1973 next to the sandy beach hotel which is where the turkish army reside today. i remember how it was and even today it would be the best resort in Cyprus had it been maitained.

    • The Turkish army didn’t loot varosha it was the local people of several nationalities the governors shut the place down to stop it from happening. Reading some of the posts here makes it clear there is still a lot of confusion as to what happened and why. Look to other countries round the world that have had a specific agency destabilise them and puppets set up to rule usually with disastrous results and you will find the truth, Cambodia, chile, Iraq to mention a few.

  10. Written by a non-journalist I guess by the inaccuracies: ‘Turkish troops still routinely patrol the region and trespassers are imprisoned or executed; troops are authorized to use lethal force’ … executed? lethal? Oh come on, this is so untrue as to be fiction. If people refuse to accept the non admission signs and enter the area then they deserve to be imprisoned overnight or fined.
    And if the statement of ‘have since refused admittance to anyone except the Turkish military’ were true why have we the photos in the piece and so many Youtube films of recent visits to the Ghost Town?
    I am afraid that it is not down simply to a Turkish Invasion or Peace Mission to rescue the Turkish speaking population – but really down to the inability of the two island peoples to live together and share the governing of the Island.
    All the years spent in UN supported discussions have so far still not led to a ‘coming together’ … and [in my view] the Annan Plan was a good offer.
    People who used to visit Varosha/Maras that I have talked to complain that there was a mid afternoon artificial sunset for those on the beach as the sun passed behind the tops of the multi-storey hotels. It was, apparently, not all ‘heaven on earth’.

  11. Simply more of the usual Greek Cypriot fed propogada which is lapped up by the media and politicians. No mention of the attempted Genocide by the GC’s as detailed in Makarios’s akritas plan!!!!!!!!!.

    • When you admit your government slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, the amount in Cyprus will be insignificant. EOKA fought for freedom the wrong way, and some Greek Cypriots were killed for opposing it as well. If you knew your history you’d know this. Remember. You have 40000 turkish troops in Cyprus. We have an army of 12000.

  12. Peopl people at the end of the day,atrocities were commited by both greeks and turks alike but as painful as history is i think there needs to be a way of looking forward. My view is that the Annan plan was an ideal opportunity to save Famagusta and prior to this i think the TC’S should have ran the area after 74 rather than let it decay. It should have been under UN control until as such times an agreement could be met. The facts are though that the Turkish Army was only supposed to advance as far as the old city walls but as soon as it became apparent that the GC’S had fled,the Turkish Army advanced taking over the whole of Varosha including private houses. I think at this point the UN and the British forces should have stepped in to protect all property. If you delv a bit further then you will find out that the British Government at the time was ready to send a task force to fend off the Turkish invasion but this was halted by the good old US of A. I think the greeks.turks,british and americans are all guilty of letting the Varosha area become the sorry state that it is today.

  13. You can visit the site we started about Varosha on a former resident,I have to say that no way can it now ever be re-inhabited and will have to be completely rebuilt-and there is no denying that Turkey and the Turkish Army command are responsible for allowing it to deteriorate into this state!By classifying it as a ‘military area’ this means that access is barred to everyone except those with permits from the military and tresspassers are arrested,tried and fined,but not shot admittedly!Even the Turkish Cypriots who live in Famagusta think that it should be returned to its original owners because they know this would create jobs and progress for everyone,as well as a big step towards confidence building which is needed to solve the Cyprus question……Turkeys refusal to allow this unless all their other demands on Cyprus are met first is a reflection of the mentality prevailing among the leadership of that country,which still aspires to join the E.U!So sorry Pam but it has nothing to do with past atrocities among the two communities here at all and as the Turkish Cypriots will tell you themselves,they have no control over Varosha or many other things in Northern Cyprus where they are already outnumbered by mainland settlers!In the 21st century and in a Commonwealth state and E.U. member the continuation of Varoshas plight is an affront to decency and human values but of course the Cypriots,both North and South have no power against the might of larger countries,especially when they are backed by the most powerful ones on earth…..
    After so many years,Varosha has become a symbol of the stupidity and injustice which prevails on our planet in so many places.

  14. Why should it be handed back? The Geek Cypriots have spent the last 50 years forcing their propoganda on to the World about how hard done by they are when they were the originators of the problem and continue to push the embargos on the north of the Island. Recently a Turkish womens volleyball team was attacked when visiting Greek Cyprus as was a Turkish singer. i’m afraid that things cut both ways and until the Geek Cyrpriots cease their endless whining and allow trade in the north to open up Varosha should remain as it is..Tit for Tat comes to mind and the GC’s had their chance with the Annan Plan which THEY rejected!!!!!!!

    • Graeme,I’m sorry that you see the situation this way and would kindly point out that the majority of Turkish Cypriots would not agree with you either-in fact,there is even a signature group of intellectuals and other Turkish Cypriot people from Famagusta who are openly campaigning for Varosha to be returned to its inhabitants,and also for the operation of Famagusta port under interim E.U. control for direct international trade,which the Greek-Cypriots accept as well:recent reports say that even Eroglu has not refused to discuss the idea,something he always did until now?So maybe there is some light at the end of a very dark tunnel….Meanwhile,have you ever been to Varosha and seen the state it is in?There is no justification for allowing such a tragic and stupid situation to continue and I’m sure you know this?It is also a sad fact that Varosha was looted by the Turkish Army immediately after they captured it in August 1974 on a haphazard basis and then systematically in the summer of 1975 and millions of pounds worth of moveable property were then sold off or kept by those involved!The U.N. have detailed reports from the SWEDCON observers who manned outposts in the closed area of Varosha at that time-nowadays it is the Slovaks who have the job.In the 1980’s when I managed to make two short escorted visits with the Austrians who were then responsible,I saw for myself the reality and it was heartbreaking then-over two decades later,conditions there are obviously much worse.If you live in the north or have good contacts there,I would suggest you try to get permission for a visit yourself via the Turkish authorities and you will then be able to reflect and post again about how you feel?Concerning the Annan Plan,I know a number of Greek-Cypriots who voted ýes’ but if you have the time and interest to read it,you will see that there were no guarantees that it would be implimented and this is what caused the most concern to people on the Grek-Cypriot side, especially as the exisiting government would have been dissolved immediately it came into force,while the territory would only be returned in stages and even Varosha was not until 100 days later-judging from Turkeys record previously when they did not impliment the 1975 Vienna Agreement which was supposed to guarantee the Greek-Cypriots in the Karpas the right to stay there in conditions of security,only to co-erce most of them out the following year,can you really blame people for having serious doubts?Even more so when it was later revealed that Turkey only accepted the Annan Plan knowing that it contained provisions which made it impossible for the Greek-Cypriots to and further more,that the military elite were planning a coup against Erdogans government if the Annan Plan had been ratified by both sides?This is not mere propaganda by the Greek-Cypriots but is widely known in Turkey and Northern Cyprus….. and on a closing note for now,harping on about the past does not inspire confidence to build a better future.Also visit the site on return to Varosha and see for yourself the evidence we have collected about Varosha since 1974,with the help of some very kind and sympathetic Turks and Turkish Cypriots who are equally distraught about its situation.Do feel free to post openly and frankly-this is what the forum is for.

      • Bravo!!!!! Well said Martin. I echo many of your sentiments and it really is a crime to let this paradise continue to decay. Although i was only 11 when i stayed there,i have some very vivid sharp memories of how it used to be. As far as im concerned there is no excuse the Turkish Army can use for bombimg and looting Varosha. Such a great pity that the Yanks stopped our Callaghan goevernment who was ready to send us brits to stop the Turks from invading. However i do believe that the Greek Cypriots are cutting off their noses so to speak. Aplace of interest is ‘Anita’s View Point’ which is in a village called Dherynia which ia very close to the boder with Varosha. There you will find very enlightening information and Anita (besides very good looking) is a former resident of Varosha.

  15. Thanks Mike!Actually since April 2003 anyone can now cross the border at Ay Nic and drive a few miles into Famagusta(watch for the Turkish speed cameras though!) past the walls and port and then park next to the ruins of the Salamina Tower Hotel where fence is(this is the one which collapsed in the 1974 air raids and is shown on the video clips)-from there you can walk along the beach as far as the fence where the Phaliron restaurant ruins are and look along the coastline past all the hotels,even with binoculars if you wish but no photos are allowed and the guard on the roof will shout at you if you try to use a camera!Along the beach about half a mile is the hotel Sandy Beach where you can see Turkish Military personnel and their families swimming in summer as they use it and the adjacent area as a holiday billet!There are some very good photos of it on the return to Varosha site and as you can see it is in good condition and the beach photos could almost have been taken pre 1974……..To get permission to go in there is virtually impossible and only if you are high-ranking British Military or U.N. and get invited by Turkish Military staff,or senior diplomats who apparently are allowed two visits during their period of service in Cyprus.Most of the rest of the closed area is not permanently inhabited,except for some vital pumping and electricity installations,banks and churches and foreign consular buildings which have guards.The regular patrols and U.N. observers who man several points use specified access routes which are clear from the Google earth aerial photos where the asphalt is clearly in good maintenance and not overgrown.Away from the seafront area,the perimeter fence is not apparently well guarded and in quieter,back-street areas people have made clandestine visits…….I know of several who have been in and out but don’t want to compromise anyone by writing more openly on this forum so will keep this for private correspondance with those who want to know more.General advice,it is very risky,firstly because the Turkish Army class it as a grade ‘A’ military zone with severe penalties for tresspassers and secondly because many buildings are now unsafe if entered and may also contain some nasty wildlife such as rats and snakes etc. as well as unexploded ordnance from 1974 which has still not been cleared!

    • Martin,most of what you have said,i am well aware of but i would welcome an email from you to where i hope we could exchange numbers and have a good old chinwag about this?????

  16. Martin, thanks so much for your insight here. I was eight years old at the time of the turkish invasion in 1974, and lived on Hespirides Street in Varosha, Famagusta. Those dark days are still vivid in my memory, as are the wonderful memories of a childhood growing up in that beautiful place prior to the war. I sincerely hope that all of us can return one day, regardless of the hate and politics and propaganda. Regards, Dave.

    • Thanks for your comments and recollections.Even if by some unlikely miracle Varosha is ever returned,it will sadly have to be demolished and totally rebuilt,just as this report rightly says.It will never be the same again,not only because of the buildings but because many of the people who used to live there have died since 1974 and their descendants have never known life in the town.Morale in Cyprus is very low among most people at the moment anyway,mainly due to the economic situation here and prospects are for worse to come,at least for the next few years.The Cyprus question has been sidelined because of this,at least until after the election next February and meanwhile,Turkey are in no mood for a deal anyway with the leader in the north saying again only yesterday that he sees no prospects of a solution even after the election because minority nationalist parties will be in the new government on this side which oppose any compromise on the lines which have been discussed:he says that the talks are dead anyway and it’s time for the north to upgrade its status and get some kind of recognition which will at least allow them direct trade links etc.
      A pretty grim prospect for everyone I’m very sorry to say…..

  17. Thanks again for the comment Martin. It’s great for people who may not know about the background to this tragic story to come on to this site and gain an insight into the issues behind it. Yes, the economic situation in Cyprus is bleak at the moment, with the Cypriot banks loans to Greece tying the island in with the Greek economy, plus the general economic climate worldwide. In these circumstances, even if Varosha were opened up tomorrow, there would be little money in the pot for reconstruction from within Cyprus anyway, and I don’t even want to think about where the money would come from otherwise. Added to this of course, the carrot of EU membership and especially future entry into the eurozone, has lost much of it’s sparkle as a bargaining chip with the Turkish government for now. However, I will always hold out hope that one day the political will can exist that will unite Cyprus once again in peace and prosperity for all it’s inhabitants, and that one day Varosha will rise from the rubble in one form or another and reclaim it’s former glory. Call me a dreamer, but I would love to walk again on that beach and in that vibrant town where I spent so much of my childhood. Regards, Dave

    • Thanks for your interesting reply Dave and I fully share your sentiments.Actually,the U.S. have been discreetly promoting the idea of an OPEC area in the East Med. recently which would include Cyprus,Israel,Egypt,Turkey Greece and Lebanon who would all co-operate mutually to share their oil and gas resources etc.The principle is that this way all the outstanding political differences between them-Cyprus and Turkey being a very good example,would be resolved as part of this process,creating a win-win situation for everyone that would have a positive effect on the whole region,including the Middle East with the Palestinians etc.Quite frankly it is the best suggestion anyone has come up with for decades and is probably the only way out of the problems which have plagued this area for so long!The Americans also warned that the alternative is the increasing risk of potential conflicts over long-standing differences which would be disastrous for everyone ,even more so with Syria in such a terrible mess etc…interestingly enough,quite recently when Christophias promoted his idea of Varosha being returned again,in exchange for opening the port under E.U. control and allowing Turkey to open some more accession chapters in the E.U. negotiations,the Turkish Cypriot side suggested they form a joint committee to discuss how the revenue expected from off-shore gas etc. could be shared between the two sides on the island,in exchange for which they would make some serious moves on Varosha……Christophias has also said several times that the Turkish Cypriots could benefit enormously from a solution to the Cyprus problem in this way,so maybe there is hope after all at the end of so much gloom and despair?Of course it is ultimately up to Turkey,who have become increasingly verbally belligerent since July when Cyprus started chairing the E.U, but the positive ramifications of such a deal here would extend far beyond the limits of the island..dare we put any faith in it?

      • Thanks for the reply Martin, that’s fascinating. ‘Oil brings peace to Middle East’ would be a jaw dropping headline for sure! I had heard that there had been natural gas reserves discovered by Cyprus. However, Turkey’s prime minister’s reaction (calling it ‘oil exploration madness’) wasn’t particularly encouraging in terms of negotiation and cooperation. You are right though, an eastern Med OPEC would be a fantastic opportunity to bring peace and prosperity to the eastern Mediterranean, so let’s hope that cool heads can prevail on all sides. Unfortunately, history shows us that those who lust after power are invariably those least suited to wield it, and that those who shout the loudest get heard above the voices of the more reasonable! It’s a pity that so often the shouters are the only ones who want the job. Having said that, the merits of this plan are obvious, so it would take some very entrenched views to dismiss it. The vast majority of people in the region just want peace. With some forward thinking, and some serious walking on eggshells, there might just be a faint light at the end of the tunnel. For the sake of us all, I just hope that those involved give it their best shot. Regards, Dave

  18. Well Mr Martin i am back in October after a 2 and a half year break and guess where i will be visiting 😉 I do have an interesting video clip of the Turkish Army driving in the closed area but as you dont use Facebook,the attachment is too large to email to you…..

    • Thanks Mike-good to hear from you again!Do let me know when you are back in Cyprus as it would be nice to meet up.I joined facebook last week actually so maybe you could try sending it?
      Cheers for now and all the best,

  19. Hope to see PEACE in Cyprus . I’m currently living in Famagusta and not allowed to be in Varosho as the same others. but I know a place close to Varosho Which has a great view to the city . Even after almost 40 years Varosha is still more beautiful and modern than other parts of Famagusta . Varosha is nice even from behind of fences but i wish to walk in to the streets and beaches and also see the wonderful churches of the city.

    • Thank you for your kind words about my childhood home Hadi. Wish you could have seen it before ’74, it was beautiful. There will be peace one day. The next time you go to that viewpoint over Varosha, please give it a wave from me! Regards, Dave

    • Thanks for your posting Hadi and nice to know that you are interested in Varosha.If you live in Famagusta and are Turkish Cypriot,maybe you can find ways to meet some people who are allowed into Maras?There are civilians who perform various duties such as maintenance and collecting rubbish and also some taxi drivers have permits to go in and take people from the Ordu evleri-maybe they can take you as an invited guest if you know someone from the Turkish Army who stays there?
      I would also be very interested to know from which point you can see into the centre of Maras because I tried many times but there are no tall buildings which overlook it?You can see the buildings along the beach from the seaside near Palm Beach Hotel but not into the town centre.

  20. Just returned from Cyprus and witnessed these sad scenes, what a waste. Surely in this day and age something could be done to used Varosha again but hen again tourists are paying a lot to see it in it’s present state.

    • Varosha is a potential museum of what Cyprus was like in 1974…..and a colossal monument to the stupidity and injustice of international politics,not to mention sheer bloody-mindedness and a tool for psychological torture which Turkey is using against the Greek-Cypriots!The tragedy of it all is that after so many years the place is now a ruin which will have to be demolished whenever something happens about its fate… David Carter wrote in his book the Cyprus Tapes after his two-hour priveledged visit in 1983,’as time passes Varosha becomes more and more inaccessible to both sides in this interminable and tangled dispute..’

      • Thanks for taking an interest in Varosha Graham. Just thought I’d clear up one misconception though, Varosha would be worth far more to tourism and commerce if it was opened up rather than in it’s present state, not to mention revenue from the deep water port of Famagusta, which would benefit the whole (hopefully re-united) island. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Cyprus. Quick note to Martin. Not sure if you missed my reply to your post about an eastern Mediterranean OPEC. It posted above a later exchange. No problem if you read it, but didn’t want you to think I wasn’t interested in the post! Also, I see you joined Facebook recently. You might like to check out a recently created Facebook page. If you type ‘Varosha what they don’t want you to see’ into a search and look for the facebook page, you should find it. There’s some very interesting photo sets on there. Regards, Dave.

  21. Thanks Dave, it wasn’t a misconception and of course I realise that the Cypriots are trying to make the most out of a bad situation.Verosha is set in a beautiful area and visitors should be allowed to enjoy what it has to offer again. I also travelled along thew green line and saw the devastation at Ahkna and also the look out posts of Turkey, Cyprus and the UN, each waiting for the other to do something. I fear it’s going to be a long wait!!!

  22. Thanks for the reply Graham. Absolutely no offence meant there by the way. Just wanted to make the point that there was far more to Varosha than just the seaside hotels that people can see from the viewpoints. It also had a thriving commercial heart too. The atmosphere at the border is tense isn’t it? You’re right, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be solved any time soon. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Cyprus though, it’s a beautiful country isn’t it?

    • No Dave, no offence taken. I must admit I fell in love with the country and the people. I was told that I would return once I had visited and I’m sure i will.

    • Dave you are quite right..what makes a place is the people and the community more than anything else and since 1974 the Greek-Cypriot community of Varosha has effectively ceased to exist as a unit:perhaps this is the biggest tragedy of all and one which can never be replaced,even if we got the place back and reconstructed the whole town-so many people from the old days are no longer in this world and the inevitable natural process of time is ever relentless as I know from personal experience with my now aged in-laws for example,both now well into their 80’s.Ever since the immediate aftermath of the 74 war people such as former President Clerides and many others warned that the Greek-Cypriots needed to go for a solution as quickly as possible,before the situation on the ground became not just gradually tolerated,but also silently acknowledged as the status-quo at home and internationally…..this is of course exactly what has happened and Turkey have taken full advantage of the fact that time is on their side,not that of the Greek-Cypriots!To make it even worse,there are more than a few Greek Cypriots who are quite happy with the status-quo,rather than risking a deal with the Turkish side which they fear might not work anyway.This is particularly convenient to say if you have done very nicely since 1974 on this side and seen your property increase a hundred fold in value etc!The sad reality is the number of people on this side who want to return to the north is now a minority of the total-probably less than one third anyway,and this is getting less all the time for the reasons I have said earlier-don’t forget that anyone much under 10 years old in 1974 has very little memory of life there-sobering and depressing reality!Sometimes we are really beginning to ask ourselves if it is better to leave Cyprus,rather than torture ourselves by thinking about a solution that will probably never happen?

  23. Thanks for the replies. Sounds like the place got to you Graham. I’m not surprised! Martin, you’re right there. Things change, and people have moved on and made a new life. You have to of course. My family is a case in point. My parents passed away a few years back, and my brother (who was almost 14 at the time of the invasion) now lives in New York and is a U.S. citizen. As for me, I am very much rooted in England now. Although I am divorced from their mother so they don’t live with me, I have two beautiful children, and moving away from them would be unthinkable. I also have my own well established business (I’m a musician and own a music studio, which is a job I love), and couldn’t leave that either. However, I left a part of me in Varosha. Although I was only eight at the time of the invasion, my memories of the first place I can remember as home are still vivid. Playing in the disused orange groves, my friends, shooting at cans with my catapult (the Greek style with no frame. You could take your thumb off if you weren’t careful, and I still have a scar to prove it!), running outside when it rained as it was such a novelty, and of course the beach. And then there’s the smells which bring it all back. The smell of barbecued corn on the cob from the street vendors, of lemon and orange trees, of two stroke fuel from the boats on the beach, and of course the heady scent of jasmine at the cafe we often went to in the evening. I would dearly love to return. Only the other day my brother sent me a link to a band doing the kind of music we used to listen to in Cyprus as children, and we often share the memories. I would love to take my children around that town one day, even if it is radically different after re-construction. My daughter’s comment the other day when I showed her the pictures of how it used to be said it all; “Daddy, if I lived there, I would never leave”. Regards, Dave.

  24. I left Famagusta 40 years ago after a wonderful time there as a teen. I returned 20 years ago to the North side to get access to Salamis,Bogas and Kyrenia which were the places of my youth. I though time had stood still! I returned last month to the South after another 20 years to reminis at my schools,and although the airport at Larnaca was to modern day standards the rest of the ‘South’ was as the North was all those years ago. It was hard to accept that Cyprus is a major holiday desination and villa ownership for Brits as the infrastructure is so antiquated. I dont think either side have faired well in the last 40 years and the world is passing Cyprus by!
    Our car hire company made going to Famagusta sound like a bad idea so we took a bus tour around the perimeter fence of Varosha and into the Old city. It is so sad to see the decline and know that no one is trying to fix it. For a modern world to accept a scar on the land such as this gives no hope that mankind will ever change.

  25. I did not read all comments, because they are big. Anyway when I was “googling” on the WWW about this issue, I reached the Annan Plan in the Wikipedia . As anyone can see, the Supporters of this Plan are top political responsible. Against are “law men” (a lot of times they are complicated!) and other not enough relevant, on political terms. Read that page and make your conclusions. On the referendum the TC accept the Plan and the GC did not!

    • I know what you mean but unfortunately it was not that simple……if the plan had gone through the Turkish side would have got what they wanted immediately,but would only have returned territory and withdrawn their army from Cyprus gradually.Worse still,nobody was prepared to guarantee that Turkey would keep to their side of the bargain-with their previous record on not honouring agreements they had signed about Cyprus,such as the Vienna one in 1975,this understandably made the Greek-Cypriots very uneasy and had a lot to do with their ‘No’vote……once Turkey had managed to get the Greek-Cypriots to agree to transfer all remaining Turkish Cypriots in the south after 1974 to the north in Early 1975,they renegated on their part of the deal which was to guarantee that all remaining Greek-Cypriots in the north could stay there in conditions of security-instead they began systematically pressuring them to leave and filled up their villages with settlers from the mainland as part of a deliberate plan to colonise the north!What would you have done?

      • So Martin, you insist that United Nations, European Union, United States, England, Germany, Czech Republic, etc,etc are wrong and that people like you, and “not political” individuals are right? There is a “de facto” problem (History does not comeback!), there is a Solution at the most high level (United Nations), and you don’t accept it … only because of mistrusting Turkey? Sorry, I have no further arguments, once I trust those institutions! Anyway thanks by your explanation!

        • The main intention of the big powers you named was to get rid of the Cyprus problem in almost any possible way before the island joined the E.U. and whether or not the kind of solution found was workable etc. was not their main concern.The biggest flaw with what happened in 2004 was that the solution put to a referendum was not the result of a mutual compromise agreement between the two sides here,as it was supposed to be before a referendum was called……instead people felt that it was being forced upon them before the isalnd joined the E.U. regardless of whether it would work or not.In this very strategic region of the world,outside powers have interests which far outweigh what the Cypriots want and Turkey is inevitably much more important than they are,as you can see now with the siituation in Syria etc?Left to their own devices,the Cypriots on both sides could work out a compromise acceptable to the majority of people here on the internal issues and then get international consensus on providing guarantees etc but Turkey has other strategic aims which include keeping their foothold here…….maybe this could be exchanged for a deal on sharing the off-shore gas deposits in the region with a long term sharing agreement between all the countries,Greece,Turkey,Israel,Lebanon and Egypt as well as Cyprus included,something which is being quietly proposed on the sidelines?Peace and prosperity rather than conflict…dare we hope?

  26. Shame and shame………… Greek propaganda worldwide tells that North Cyprus was invaded by Turks………… Shame!
    Turkish Cipriot people which were living in Cyprus were constantlly killet for about 9 years by Greeks with the only purpose to cancell all of them from Cyprus. Thanks to God, finally after years and years of unusefull ONU relationship, Turkey intervention saved lives of the remaining Turkish Cipriots.
    Please read the book and watch pictures of an English man who lived there for many years: “Genocide Files”, by Scott Gibbons…… and now Greek Cypriots are crying??

    • While I have never suggested that the Cyprus situation is one-sided,your comments do nothing towards solving this unacceptable situation Marilena and even more,do not excuse the way the Turkish Army have allowed Varosha to be destroyed beyond repair during so many years of neglect……The vast majority of people here on both sides just want and end to this crazy situation!..

      • Unfortunately Martin there are too many people like Marilena that want to let the years pass by blaming one and other,hence the reasons a solution has yet to be found. For me,i’ll be landing on Wednesday 17th October with a planned visit to Varosha on the 20th.

        • Good to know you are coming this week and planning to go over there again…..from my latest info. virtually nothing has changed ccg. the use of Varosha by the Turks for quyite a long time.Do let us know what you see and if you are planning to come to Paphos be sure to let me know so we can meet up.

    • Marilena I am wondering if you know where Cyprus is or of you ever lived there!!!! Your comments are a total joke!!!

  27. Nice pictures great article.

    Have recently been to Cyprus and read up on how Famagusta came about.It is my opinion that both the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots were played against each other( Uk arming Turks CIA involvment) by the United States,UK,and Turkey,for nothing more than keeping the country divided to use as a startegic outpost on the Mediterranean.there was much to be gained by keeping the Country divided.Very sad that all these so called friends of Cyprus were so duplicitous and had ulterior motives,they never want a unified Cyprus and the conflict was planned and orhestrated well in advance

  28. mike :
    Deary me David. You need to brush up on your research i’m afraid.

    I need to brush up on nothing.It is my opinion,and i base this on what i have reasearched.There is much information now in the public domain to show the UK armed the Turkish Cypriots.Also that the CIA were heavily involved.People like you like to fan the flames blaming one side or another to suite your agenda.

  29. The fact is that dredging up events from 40 years ago is not really solving anything. That Varosha is an open wound and a tragedy is not Greek Cypriot propaganda, it’s a three dimensional fact that you can take a bus ride to go and see. With respect, cries of shame and conspiracy theories are not that helpful. In common with many who still remember Varosha, I was a child when we had to flee. I have never harmed, armed, or oppressed anyone. I just want to see my childhood home again. And surely, that’s the point?

  30. Infact David you are at a disadvantage. Both myself and Martin Standage have stayed in one of those hotels before the war broke out and my Father was in Cyprus in the late 50’s. You are mis informed and clearly swayed by propaganda.If you were to look a little further you would see how wrong you are. As for fan the flames,why would i do that when i have stayed in a paradise that was ruined by an illeagal invading Turkish Army???? You are yet another person who reads a few articles then decides they know the whole history from a single visit. Both sides are very guilty of their atrocities but one fact remains that there is no getting away from. The town of Varosha was looted by the Turkish Army and left to decay for nearly 40 yrs. I have film of inside one of the hotels there taken a few years ago. Everything is still in there including 70’s furniture and surprisingly in good condition. I also have many photographs which i have managed to get from Turkish soldiers who have served in the closed area. If you are on facebook then you are welcome to email me at with your details and i will be happy to open your eyes a little on facebook with the material i have. Thats of course if you are really interested. You would be well listening to both myself and Martin as we can enlighten you as to the real situation rather than you embark on these assumptions. The choice is yours.

  31. This place looks amazing, thanks for sharing it.

    I am left with an uncontrollable desire to go and climb over the fence… does anybody reading this have any idea exactly how dangerous the place is? Some sources seem to say that the Turkish guards are authorised to use lethal force, but I haven’t read any actual accounts of them doing so.

    What’s the worst that could happen to a ‘stupid lost tourist’ found deep inside the secure zone with a camera?

    I wonder…

    • Damon I strongly advise not to attempt crossing the fence. If you do then as a tourist you will be jailed and not released until a heavy fine is paid.

      • Thanks for the response. I would consider paying a heavy fine for a look around inside anyway, but I’m not so much up for getting shot. Either way, I’m speaking hypothetically here – I’m a long way from Cyprus.

  32. Darmon,I now how you feel and have done it twice on the quiet, a number of years ago.To be honest I was too scared to go very far out of fear of getting caught more than anything else….you must bear in mind that the Turkish Army consider Varosha to be a grade 1 Military area and their laws apply there:this means that unlawful entry is regarded as a serious offence punishable by a heavy fine and/or even imprisonment!The Turkish Cypriot authorities and municipality also have no rights of entry,which is granted only on rare exceptions to anyone else such as diplomats and very rarely journalists from Turkish news agencies.On only about half a dozen occasions since 1974 have foreigners been allowed in under escort-one time a BBC camera crew were allowed to film for two hours and some extracts were later shown on Cyprus t.v. but I have been unable to trace the film via the BBC archives.Another foreigner is David Carter who wrote about his two hour experience afterwards in a chapter of his book ‘The Cyprus Tapes’ but that was back in 1983.Leaving all that aside,due to its state of decay,many buildings in Varosha are now too dangerous to enter anyway-see the chapter in the book ‘The world without us’ by Alan Weisman, where he explains that mould has infiltrated most of the concrete structures,the newest of which date from the early 1970’s-to such an extent that they can no longer be renovated,meaning only demolition is an option!
    A crazy and ridiculous situation of course-and who do you blame for it???Better still,how can we end it???

    • Hi Martin, I’m with you completely on this one… and I’m fascinated to hear that you’ve seen inside yourself. Clearly, as you say, it would be madness to go messing with the Turkish military when they consider this site so important to protect.

      Strange that even the BBC appear to have failed at getting their footage out, though I will look out for the David Carter book you mentioned.

      And yes – concrete, when not properly cared for, soon becomes a deathtrap – so perhaps in some ways the military cordon is for the best!

      Funniliy enough though, I was actually speaking to a Russian friend last night, who spent two years living on Cyprus. He and a few friends managed to have a quick look around inside Famagusta a few years back he said, though they were only inside the compound for around half an hour before hearing a vehicle approach, and deciding to get the hell out of there!

      • Hi Damon,

        I am one of the lucky ones to have stayed in Varosha in 1973. Strangely enough the Turkish Army still use a few hotels which are in good condition and one of them is the one i stayed in. I have actually managed to get through facebook many photos and a couple of short videos inside the closed area of Varosha. If you are on Facebook or would like me to send them via email then please let me know.



  33. This is such a fascinating series of events and the way Varosha has been left the way it has makes it so absorbing. I like many others would very much like to have a peek inside but I accept that in reality the risk is too great.
    The irony is that if the issues and differences were to be resolved and the area redeveloped then it would no longer be interesting.

    Whilst it is a great shame to say the very least, hopefully it will serve as a reminder and example of the futility and hopelessness of war.

  34. Ever since I returned to live in Cyprus in 1979 there has been speculation that Varosha was ‘about to be returned’ etc etc and theU.N. even had signs prepared in three languages then because they were so certain…….but……….as I have always maintained,Turkey uses it as their most valuable bargaining chip which will only be used in either the event of an overall solution to the Cyprus question along the lines they want,and which for the forseeable future no Greek-Cypriot politician would dare to even suggest considering,or in exchange for something very substantial such as permission for direct flights internationally from Ercan airport,perhaps under E.U. control-there could be room for a deal this way and it is quite likely that the issue will come up again after next months elections,probably linked to the question of prospecting for off-shore gas and oil in a way which would benefit all sides,and which I have described before on this forum-there is considerable international pressure on the sidelines which just might suceed?
    Even if such a miracle occurs-and Cyprus is desperately in need of one right now!-there will be enormous logistical problems about Varosha,not least on how to prevent thousands of its former inhabitants from trying to gain access once they know theTurkish Army have pulled-out????The place is still full of not just risks from unexploded ordnance from 1974,but also many curios which although they might seem rubbish to most other people,would be poignant curios to those who owned them,and who may since have passed-away but would be treasured by their chidren etc??Accepting the reality that most buildings will have to be demolished is not something that I would envy the authorities having to impose on people either!These are just a few of the preliminary problems….

  35. I find all of this fascinating and sad in equal measure. My folks used to live on Glinka street in Varosha. My Dad was in the army there. The whole story interests me so much that I’m writing a novel about it. I’m trying to write a balanced account but I’m sure I’ll end up insulting someone! If anyone can give me some eye witness accounts (either pre invasion or now that it’s a ghost town) I’d really appreciate it. The only way I’ll be stepping into Varosha is through the eyes of my heroine. Any insights you can give me please email

  36. This is really fascinating, You are an excessively professional blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post.

  37. I feel such a desperate need to return and walk around the Famagusta I knew in the late 1960’s. Why, oh why should this beautiful area have been left to decay?

  38. a correction: the site is not guarded by turkish soldiers, it’s been guarded with UN soldiers. only there is a small turkish military base in it but it has only social facilities, not military stuff.

    • Sorry Berk but you are wrong.The UN are allowed by the Turkish Army to patrol but its current inhabitants are the Turkish Army and have been since 74. Did you ever have the pleasure to stay there prior to this????

  39. I don’t believe it would have to be torn down. Pipes in the ground would not disintegrate, concrete does not have to be ‘Maintained”. Yes, the roads would have to be repaved and the buildings that are broken open would have to be repaired or demolished, but the rest of it would only have
    to be cleaned up.

    • Sorry Anthony but I’m afraid you are wrong on this point-if you read the chapter in Alan Weismanns book ‘The World without us’ he explains how mold has infiltrated the buildings to such an extent that they cannot be made inhabitable again and for this reason alone demolition is now inevitable. Bear in mind also that even the newest buildings there date from the early 1970’s using the now outdated technology of those days and the remaining infra-structure is also totally ruined ,including the sewage system which had just been competed in 1974.But in any case there is a prototype plan drawn up by international contributors which envisages a unique eco city which will draw international support and interest, based on renewable energy sources and buildings designed with environmental concerns……far better than those ugly concrete high-rises which ruined much of the sea-front area and should never have been allowed in the first place!

  40. Such a shame, it looks like a beautiful place. Politics aside, because there is always truth and lies on all sides, it is sad when any building, land is left to decay when it could be used not just as a rich people’s playground but as homes, and nurturing centers for all.

    • Martin for the first time i disagree.I think Varosha should be rebuilt to the same specification as before albeit up to date electrics etc.The German wiped out 85% of Warsaw and the poles did not rebuild it with the same buildings as before.As you know the area where the Sandy beach Hotel is still looks good even to this day.Ok a lick of paint wouldnt go amiss.Carla you have only seen the tip of the iceberg.If you have further interest and you use facebook then please let me know.

      • Mike many of those seafront high-rise buildings are ugly and the truth is that they should not have been allowed in the first place! People from Famagusta admit this and say that they had negative comments about how the buildings caste a shadow across the beach in the afternoons etc… any case, apart from the area around the Sandy beach Hotel which is in use by the Turkish Army all the rest has rotted and is infested with mould, as Alan Weismann comments in his book and this is virtually impossible to remove anyway, apart from enormous cost it would involve. There is a special plan to build a unique eco-city in Varosha which has attracted international interest from experts in this field and would offer Cyprus an opportunity to do something really worthwhile which it could be proud of! As for Warsaw, Gdansk etc. I admit that they have built impressive replicas of medieval towns to replace those destroyed but they were of historical value while most of Varosha is not and was built during the 20th C., even though we are sentimentally attached to it for obvious reasons??To lose such an opportunity would be another big mistake and Cyprus has already made enough, as we all know! Anyway, we are probably still a long way from any such developments so let’s not jump the gun!

  41. Hi all. We stayed in Ayia Napa in 1986 and had to be taken over the border into Famagusta by the then Mayor to visit has family. He was actually working at the hotel that we were staying at as a night porter and we met him on our first night as we arrived at 3 am and he had to give us our keys! Famagusta is a beautiful place and the people were wonderfully friendly. It is so wrong that the people who were born there and have grown up there still have to put up with the rules and regulations from time gone by. It is about time that the people of Famagusta had a say in their future.

  42. This website ( is my kind f website.
    Articles and photos with a mixture of nostalgia and awe is what this website is all about…
    Wonderful !!

  43. Beware the beastly Turk, for he is the Devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours (Varosha). Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.

  44. In south-east Cyprus for a fortnight. We took a tour with a guy who’d lived near Dyrenia looking over Varosha, till1974. I’d not realised how much of the “forbidden zone” was rather fine (British) colonial style housing (alongside the western boundary). Some of those houses would be worth restoring – and perhaps would have survived better than the concrete hotels. My question was why the Turkish side didn’t just run it as a resort. One answer: it’s a bargaining chip for the north (but an increasingly less valuable one as time goes it – rebuilding would be far more expensive than on a “greenfield site”), but the other answer is that by not doing that, the Turkish side makes clear that the invasion was not to grab Greek areas. (A different issue to the population movements from Greeks stuck within Turkish areas in 1974 and vice versa.) Talk about “two sides” to every issue.

  45. This is not the first city ever been destroyed by the turks and their shortsiding gor seeing the future…dectatorships and false sense of ownership is to blame for the destructiob they have done since 1600 AD until present day…

  46. I think Cyprus has many problems to deal with, along with the rest of the world. Their economy has collapsed and property prices are on the floor. There will always be conflicting views, and I have read and heard both sides. I have visited both sides also, and the South has clearly moved much quicker in terms of infrastructure using EU money to put modern roads and airports in, while the North feels more like a farming community. GCs and TCs visit each others territories with little or few problems. Politicians will always look for points to argue as this is their nature. There is truth in both sides arguments but if you keep going on about what is in the past you will never move forward. If everyone were to keep going on about the past the Brits would surely all have been murdered years ago with our history of building the British Empire. Today is the first day of the rest of your lives, that’s where you start and work out a way forward.

  47. Moving forward is always a better way, The past just can not be changed, only now and the future. We need to remember the past and do our best not to repeat it regardless of who you are and who did what. I always try to learn from others mistakes so as not to repeat them and I don’t know of any culture that has not made some at some time in the past. I have read much on Varosha as it grabbed my interest several months ago and I am not going to wade into the political aspects of it because as long as there is finger pointing by anyone, there never seems to be anyone coming up with solutions to the problem and movement forward. Biggest lesson I get from this.

    Varosha was and in a way even in its current situation a beautiful place in the world. Yes it has shades of the past and corrosion going on, but the fountains, architecture (not really talking about the high rises on the beach) Arches…then the beach, nature and sparkling water… It would be a wonderful thing to see it be a bustling, busy, and colorful attraction in what ever form as it once was. I have heard much about those saying much could be restored, unfortunately, little will be able to be restored. As a one time contractor involved in new construction, remodeling, and disaster restoration it does not take very long for mold to take hold. Especially in a moist, warm not ventilated environement. I have seen properties vacant for only a few months have major mold and there are many types (Black mold being one) that are known killers and health hazards. While windows are broken now and I’m sure some were then, mold was there within the first year I am sure if the buildings were not kept in use. Now almost 40 years later? You can forget it. I have seen houses torn down due to mold infestation from only a few weeks (one rental that was vacant for a month with a busted water heater comes to mind) It was condemned by the health department. Then you have cracked foundations from bombing in some areas I’m sure and just plain old exposure. If and When this place can be rebuilt, look for big money development companies to come in a build much the same when it comes to highrise resorts unless there is a lot of control by government in charge to thwart it, thing is, that those big companies are about the only ones that can raise that kind of capital to take on such a project and then once again, prices will be to where only the well off can really enjoy it. It will however create jobs during the rebuild and help the economy for a long time to come.

    I hate what I have said, but reality is sometimes a hard thing to swallow. I hope something can come of the area and that it can be beautiful afterwards, but…well…time will tell.

    • This is exactly what Alan Weissman wrote about Varosha in his book ‘The world without us’ but sadly very few of the Greek-Cypriots who hope to return are aware of and still have visions of renovating their old properties and moving back in again.The point abut big developers etc. is also very valid-they still continue to ruin Cyprus in the same way as they spoiled Famagusta seafront in the 1970’s!!

  48. What a spitefull people are the Turks, what have they done to the 1100 people missing since they invaded,and they want to join the eu,they must be joking

  49. Robert mccarthy :
    What a spitefull people are the Turks, what have they done to the 1100 people missing since they invaded,and they want to join the eu,they must be joking

    I’m not sure that’s helpful… It’s estimated that 1500 Greek Cypriots are missing and 500 Turkish Cypriots (and GCs outnumbered TCs by about 4 to 1 in 1974 so proportionately there’s not much difference). I presume the work begun a few years ago to identify remains is still ongoing:
    “The team carrying out this delicate task is a combination of Greek and Turkish Cypriot scientists, working alongside international experts. It is the only official joint project on the divided island that is actually working.”

  50. As an ex service man at Ayios Nikolaos . Its so very sad to see the once beautiful town of Varosha abandoned and deserted. So many happy times spent there. Lets hope that one day it will arise from decay and become a thriving place once more

  51. Any conflict has casualties, civilian, military, geographiic, financial, personal etc etc, and all so tragic and mostly so avoidable. There is also always at least 2 sides to any conflict. Without wishing to stir up any anger or historic bad feeling, I think this article is very biased toward the Greek sufferances. It is well established and documented that the Turkish inhabitants pre 1974 suffered some horrendous tragic attacks by Greek terrorists intending to cleanse the Island of the Turkish residents. Schools were attacked with women and children murdered whilst in bondage, farms, and villages were attacked with many dispicable acts of brutality and murder. The Turks appealed for help and assistance, The Turkish government appealed to stop the massacres, but these appeals went unheard. (I accept that the Turkish residents retaliated and committed many similar atrocities) The Turkish government appealed to the UK and USA to help stop these acts but were ignored. Eventually, in an attempt to stop the bloodbath, Turkey demanded that all atrocities stop or (in an attempt to save the lives of Turkish civilians) they would be forced to authorise military intervention. Again this was ignored and so Turkey was left with no alternative but to invade. The military invason occurred at the North of the Island and could easily have resulted in the seizure of the whole Island. However the Turks merely wanted to preserve the safety of the Turkish community and there possessions. So they stopped the invasion at Nicosia. Thus the divided Island. If the Turks were the barbarians that most portray them to be they would have (and easily could have) seized the whole Island. What occured was absoltutely necessary to stop the massacre of civilians. Since 1974 the Turks have tried to re-unite the island on may occasions, but at every (without one exception) all attempts have been declined by the Greek counterparts. Im sure there are many political agendas still occuring and as a result the Island remains status quo. I would ask in hindsight if the UK would have stood by whilst one section of their nationals were being systematically murdered, tortured or butchered, Would the USA do likewise? or would they take action.

    • It is very easy to be misled by the excuses offered by Turkey for invading Cyprus and keeping it occupied since 1974 if you have not studied all the ins and outs of the situation and I don’t criticise you for this but also try to ask yourself why they are still here after almost 40 years and have colonised the north with thousands of mainlanders who are now the majority there over the Turkish Cypriots and control most businesses,including gambling and brothels!Also ask what looting Varosha and then leaving it to decay so much that it needs to be demolished and completely rebuilt has to do with ‘protecting the Turkish Cypriots’ etc etc. who are not even allowed to enter it?Left alone the Greek and Turkish Cypriots can work out a solution and are ready to compromise but the question still remains as to whether Turkey will allow them to or if all this is just a ruse for them to continue controlling the north for ever?

  52. I don’t believe that it was Turkey who stopped the unity of Cyprus at the last attempt, I was under the impression that the Greek Cypriots stopped the deal going through because they did not trust Turkey to deliver what they signed up to after the joint government was formed. There is good reason for that given their past record, and it proves that the TCs and the GCs cannot do a deal on their own because their is too much distrust.. The only way that a deal will be done is for another government and the UN broker a deal, and make sure that it is fully adhered to. What I don’t understand is why this has not and is not happening. Maybe because there is no oil on Cyprus? (thats the cynical side of me). I am not fully advised on the matter, but I have read a couple of books written by authors from both sides. It is clear that the past is still too clear in everyones minds and until someone focuses on delivering both sides committments to a deal, it will never be resolved. I hope and pray for both TCs and GCs sake someone picks up the batten and takes it over the finishing line.

  53. Give it back its not yours…about time the british helped them get it back should of happened years ago

  54. Can the site admin or author of this post please re-upload the content for “Video footage of a more recent visit to Varosha, long after it was deserted: click here and part two:click here. The website closed down on Monday, May 31, 2013 in witch those links are dead now.

    Thank you for sharing this article.

      • I have videos of the Turkish Army driving through Varosha in 2009 and inside the Golden Sands Hotel but unsure how to upload on here???

        • Mike, can you upload it to YouTube? If so I would be happy to post the link in the article with the other videos. Or I would be happy to host it on my YouTube channel & post the link if we can find an alternate way to get the video to me.

          • Hi,sorry i have not been here for a whileAre you on facebook??? I have 3 video clips. It might be the case the ones you have are from me but either way i would like to see the footage you have if possible..

  55. Why cant people just learn to co-exist such a beautiful location and to rebuild would only be beneficial to all of Cyprus

  56. “Until 1974 both Greek and Turkish Cypriots were able to coexist on the island largely without incident. “…You must be kidding, right? Officially 104 British soldiers killed by EOKA in 1950’s. Then between 1963-74 thousands of Turkish civillians killed or exiled by EOKA again. There are mass graves of “ethnic cleansing” found(and you can visit them today) in Turkish Murataga, Sandallar and Atlılar villages. A mother and her three children murdered in the bathroom of their home( ).

    And you call this “without inciden”…well, what can I say….

        • Im agree on that newmart. Whatever is happened is happened and finished. But unfortunatelly some people doesnt like to look future and still wants to go back 40 years ago. Past is past, accept that and learn to leave peacefully with your neighbours, try not to massacare them, and accept their rights too 😉

          • The only way to look forward to the future is to have the removal of the Turkish Army from the north as well as all the illegal settlers. The full return of places like Varosha to the original owners. It is a disgrace that Varosha has been left to decay and to add insult the Turkish army enjoy 3 of the hotels in Varosha. One of them i happened to stay in,in 1973.

            • sure lets remove the Turkish Army from North and keep slaughtering Turkish minority in there as you were doing before 1974. Thats what we call a “peacefull solution to a bright future”, isn’t it Mike. I thing Adolf Hitler and Slobodan Milošević were thinking the very same solution for Europe as well. But I’m affraid that didn’t work for them and won’t work for you either 😉

              • History is as it says,history but you cannot expect to move forward with a 40,000 Turkish army occupying your country. If the tables were turned and it was your town Ali then i am sure you would have a different view.

                • I’m sorry Mike but I’m a fair person. If I try something like gaining land, taking control of the island by killing and/or exiling other and lost the struggle then don’t complain. I would say to myself “well, I’d tried something nasty and didn’t succeed so I don’t have any right to complain” 😉

        • I don’t think so. On the contrary, we are trying to negotiate and leave the past behind however your side wants to bring back the black times when Cyprus was fully occupied byTurkey! Comparing Adolf Hitler and Milosevic with Greek cypriot leaders, it is really funny! You could easily compare those creatures with those who decided the Turkish invasion in Cyprus and killed thousands of people, left 200,000 refugees in their own country, almost 2000 missing people etc. With those who are still occupied one third of Cyprus with 40,000 armed forces to protect the “North Turkish Republic”!

          • Peter, all good but you still don’t mention one thing like all the greeks; what about the Turks lost their homes and their life BEFORE 1974? you all act like nothing happened before 1974, suddenly one morning Turkey decided to invade(!) island out of the blue! If you don’t accept responsibility for your actions you keep repeating the same mistakes and you will have similar consequences in the future. This is a rule for people, nations and countries. What you call negotiation is “we take all, you take nothing”. That’s not negotiation and that wont take you anywhere. 40 years or 400. First you have to accept your responsibility. Or you can “negotiate” and argue with people on the net for ages, but everything will stay as it is 😉
            Now here is a few simple questions; do you accept many attroticies happened before 1974 or not? Do you accept at the period of 07/08/1964-10/08/1964, under the orders of Grivas, the Cypriot National Guard overrun the Turkish Cypriot villages of Masoura and Lorovouno or not? What is Akritas plan? these are simple questions. If you want to argue about so called “Turkish Invasion” you have to answer many questions like these first. Because so called “Turkish Invasion” is not a begining as you mentioned often but the result of many other things.

            • Αli, it seems that the brain wash you suffered over the years, it worked perfectly! The turkish cypriots who left their homes and their villages where they lived peacefully with greeks for more than five centuries, were forced to do so not by Makarios or Grivas but by the biggest enemy of Cyprus Rauf DenKtash. The person who was acting on a plan to divide Cyprus with the co-operation with the British since early 1950s! This is the reality and the true history and not what you suggest above. Any mistakes made by Greek cypriots were in response to the actions of your community leaders who in reality created the so called “cyprus problem” by falling in the trap of the British whose the policy “divide n rule” found the perfect persons in Cyprus to help them! As I said in my previous comment, if you want to learn more about Cyprus, you need to read history written by independent outsiders and not to rely on Turkish propaganda! As a start, I would suggest two very informative books, both editions of Oxford University. The one has the title BRITAIN AND THE REVOLT IN CYPRUS 1954-1956 written by Robert Holland and the other has the title THE CYPRUS PROBLEM and is written by James Ker-Linday. Although the second one I believe it is bias against Greek cypriots, a reasonable person can easily find the true version of the events!

              • Thank you very much for proving my opinion Panikos. This attitude is exactly what I was mentioned above. I said some specific names and dates but you prefer to blame me being braşin washed rather than to answer any of those. Right, it seems like I’m the brain washed one 😉
                This attitude is exactly what I mentioned above, don’t take any responsibility, deny everything and blame one side only. And that’s why the situation doesn’t change for 40 years. You still don’t get unless this attitude changes there wont be any change in the situation. From my point of view, as my brain is washed there is no point to discuss with you.

                • I think you need to read once more what I wrote above. The answer to your question…….”…..what about the Turks lost their homes and their life BEFORE 1974…” it is clear in my reply if you can’t see it and admit the truth is your problem and indeed there is no need to discuss it! You can also find the answers in one of the books I mentioned, written by not greeks!

                    • There is no excuse for leaving Varosha in its present condition-both the Turkish Cypriot people who live in Famagusta and the former Greek-Cypriots who lived in Varosha agree that it should be re-opened for everyones benefit!The only people who object are Eroglu and nationalists who don’t want the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to co-operate because it would destroy their aim of partitioning the island into two separate states-this is the reality!

                  • O by the way you said “The turkish cypriots who left their homes and their villages where they lived peacefully with greeks for more than five centuries…”.Right, that’s absolutely true. Only thing you forgat to add that, they lived peacefully UNDER OTTOMAN(TURKISH) RULE. So if the Turks wanted these attroticies they were extremely fool didn’t do them in 400 years, isn’t it my “clear minded” friend. I envy you as you are such a lucky person to have a “clear mind” and not brain washed as I am 😉

    • I apologize for the poor choice of words Ali, I was intending to speak of a grander level and did not mean to marginalize the other crimes on Cyprus. I’ve updated the text to reflect a better description of the situation.

      Thanks for your comment, and I appreciate your civil contributions to the conversation.

  57. My dear ali sinan tuzun, you are person with out reason! only Turkish point of view. Lets start my friend ! since the Balkan state declared its independed the majority of Christians who where natives on their own lands in modern turkey where authentically slaughter which is part of history. 1950s the Istanbul program cleans out 200,000. greeks till only 2000 left today.Western Thrace Turkish suffered as result but to this day minority’s are steady growth @ 25% From 120.000 1923 – 150,000 to date Please Note numbers don’t lie! can see which country treats their minoritys better! England has always use its minoritys against the majority example: Pakistan & India,catholic & Protestants in Ireland & Scotland.Greeks & Turks in Cyprus.In democracy the majority rule in this case Greeks 82% % 18% & Greeks are the original natives ! Turks do not want minority status only equal partnership please tell me in this world where this is happening!! because kurds make up 22% of turkey are fore bidden speak their own language, have their own school , street signs in their language and forget their own politician & treated like second class people in their own lands,1960 cyprus Constitution was going to fail on pretends that vice president will always be turkish based on hang parliament nothing could go through with out minority authority you had each mother lands army stationed on the island including turkish & greek Cypriots guerrilla groups!! both causing kayos & both sides loosing love ones. As a guarantor have right restore rights, not take 1 third of island as colony & change demographics by mainland Turks & dictate to the future of Cyprus what the proposal or out will be ! base on turkey will except on the status quote.

    • “In democracy the majority rule in this case Greeks 82% % 18% & Greeks are the original natives ! Turks do not want minority status only equal partnership….. ” that explains everything. Thank you very much proving my point Nick 😉

  58. at the end of the day cypriots are cypriots not greek or turkish – its the greek and turkish element that have caused all the problems and will continue to do so – until this wonderful historic island is claimed back by the cypriots without greek or turkish involvement

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