Famagusta

Famagusta I aprrox 1.30- 2 hour drive from the Pine Grove Villa, we think itís a must see if your are visiting North Cyprus.

Visit the ancient city of Famagusta with its walled city and old town. You must see the Ghost town (the original resort of Famagusta which has now been deserted for over 30 years and is a UN Buffa zone between the north and south of the island) you get a great views of the deserted city from Palm Beach, which is open to tourists.

Thanks to its troubled history, Famagusta is in fact two towns rolled into one. The ancient walled city of Famagusta is much as it was over five hundred years ago when Ottoman siege engines lay beyond its walls. Meanwhile the modern day town of Varosha (which flourished after independence in 1960) now lies trapped in the buffer zone between North and South Cyprus.

This part is locked in a historical stasis; washing still hangs from sagging lines and the empty streets are given over to stray cats. The Turkish authorities have cut off all access to the city and so it remains a melancholy symbol of a land divided; its presence a reminder to the Greeks of all they have lost.

Seven hundred years ago Famagusta was the richest city on earth; famed throughout the world for its mercantile magnificence. Famagusta's economy boomed under Venetian rule, fed by trade routes that spanned the globe from England to India. In fact, the city was so well known that Shakespeare chose it as the setting for his play Othello.

Famagusta's new wealth spurred on a frenzy of medieval building, many of which can be seen today, including: the Cathedral of St Nicolas, numerous houses and the remains of the fortified citadel. Unfortunately the fortifications weren't as robust as they could have been, and the city was taken by the Ottomans in the sixteenth century.

Today the shell of the walled city survives; an impressive facade which promises more than it delivers. The exception is the city centre, which has been recently renovated and retains much of its historical appeal. Otherwise those looking for a taste of Famagusta's medieval past should poke around the ancient bazaars, restaurants and bars in the heart of the old town or head up to the Venetian fortifications.

Where to go and what to do