Famagusta

Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus, de jure capital of the Famagusta District. It is currently the capital of the Gazimağusa District of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is only recognized by Turkey. All other countries consider the city to be legally part of the Republic of Cyprus.

It is located east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour of the island. Home to the Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta has a walled city popular with tourists and a vibrant nightlife.The Turkish army restricts all access to the once-thriving quarter of Varosha, which today remains uninhabited and surrounded with a barbed wire. Famagusta

During the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 14 August 1974 the Mesaoria plain was overrun by Turkish tanks and Famagusta bombed by Turkish aircraft. In two days the Turkish Army occupied the city, which had been completely evacuated by its Greek Cypriot population, who had fled into surrounding fields before the army’s arrival. Most believed that once the initial violence calmed down they would be allowed to return.
As a result of the Turkish airstrikes dozens of civilians died, including tourists.

Turkish Cypriots continue to live north of Varosha, especially in the walled city. These sections of Famagusta remain vibrant with many fascinating buildings. The city is also home to the Eastern Mediterranean University. Famagusta has a walled city popular with tourists and a vibrant nightlife.
The mayor-in-exile of Famagusta is Alexis Galanos. Oktay Kayalp heads the Turkish Cypriot municipal administration of Famagusta in the TRNC-controlled areas of Cyprus, while a Turkish Cypriot municipality is legal. Since 1974, Greek Cypriots submitted a number of proposals within the context of bicommunal discussions for the return of Varosha to UN administration, allowing the return of its lawful inhabitants, requesting also the opening of Famagusta harbour for use by both communities. However, the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey rejected them. Varosha would have been returned under Greek Cypriot control as part of the Annan Plan if the plan had been accepted by the Greek Cypriot voters. famagusta 2

The population of the city before 1974 was approximately 60,000. Of this number, the large majority (26,500) were Greek Cypriots, apart from 8,500 Turkish Cypriots and 4,000 from other ethnic groups. Today the population is 39,000, most either Turkish Cypriots or Turkish immigrants, with very few from other ethnic groups.
In an October 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, Global Heritage Fund listed Famagusta, a “maritime ancient city of crusader kings”, among the 12 sites most “On the Verge” of irreparable loss and destruction, citing insufficient management and development pressures.

According to the Annan Plan, the city was to be returned to Greek Cypriots and the port be reopened for both communities.