Trust Trip advisor to advertise and highlight Ghost city trips to the abandoned town of Famagusta, Cyprus.
On the popular site there are pictures taken by keen ghost city hunters with exciting stories to tell. With a camera or mobile phone at the ready, these curious tourists don’t dwell on the problems of the heavy, heaving heart of this divided country of mine.They are simply fascinated by the abandoned city the 40 thousand inhabitants of which fled in 1974, never to return! Some of the landmarks I see in the eerie,ghostly pictures hold a fascination even for us, the Greek Cypriots.We, too, have been known to stand at an observation post to gaze at the abandoned city with binoculars, past the Turkish soldiers at the many (too many) enemy outposts.
And to think Famagusta was once a magnet for the international beach comber crowd.I was 16 when the Turks invaded and very impressionable.
Ten years before the 1974 upheaval my family were in a minority who had to flee our homes in a part of Nicosia the capital. That part of the city had a predominantly Turkish Cypriot population for centuries. An enclave was created at that moment and we couldn’t reach or live in our house since!. We rented another house and spent a couple of decades there.
Even worse, the invader got the best parts of the island, including the naturally beautiful jewel that was Famagusta. After 1974 some other tourist resorts in the free part of the island sprung up and developed into hedonist disco spots in former poor, sleepy villages right next to the town of Famagusta. Mass tourism is unstoppable and has many tentacles, It seems! Have you heard of the buzzing Ayia Napa resort!? It’s likely that you have!
If the Greek inhabitants of Famagusta ever return it will be to a smaller town as the invader brought settlers to grab what was not theirs to take. It goes without saying that many of the original inhabitants may have died and their descendants will hopefully rebuild the city. Some experts believe the crumbling city should be demolished and a new phoenix kind of town be built anew!
Finally, why do u think Famagusta is now a ghost city? The Turks have been holding it hostage like a trump card hidden in their sleeve in a perpetual,inert and unwinnable (for all Cypriots be they Greek or Turkish) game of Monopoly to realise their imperialistic aim.
Victoria Hislop has written successful novels about a leper colony on an island off Crete and more recently fiction taking place in the Ghost-friendly city of Famagusta in Cyprus.