Cyprus – an Island of many facets

By Miriam Schloesser

Slowly our semester on the beautiful island of Cyprus is coming to an end. Our last month here has started and there is still so much to see but also a lot of things to do. Especially in January there are a lot of assignments and one or the other exam to write. But nevertheless, the excursions should not come too short, because unfortunately we do not have too much time left to explore the special corners of the island. 

The walls around Famagusta covered by the sun

Shortly after New Year’s Eve I made a trip to Famagusta with my roommates. Famagusta is a city in the Turkish part of Cyprus. To get there you can either take a car or be quite adventurous and take a traditional Dolmus. We decided for the latter and took the Dolmus for around 20 Lira to the city, which is about an hours drive away. After we arrived, we first explored the old town, but especially in the winter time there is not a lot going on and not many tourist. The city itself is completely surrounded by a Venetian city wall and additionally by a waterless moat. That is the reason why the whole city/ area has a very special flair. 

But Famagusta also has another very special part to explore – Varosha. Varosha is also called the ghost town, because this part of the city has been a restricted military area since 1974. Previously, Varosha was a very famous tourist area and known for the enormous mass tourism. Stars such as Sophia Loren, for example, spent their summers there. 

Beach view of the abandoned city

So after walking along the beach towards the restricted area we finally came to the UN control to enter the area. After a short check of our backpacks we rented bikes inside the area to explore the whole restricted zone. Riding through the city is a very special experience, because all the houses, hotels and buildings are completely abandoned. Partly there is still furniture and other things in the houses, because most of the inhabitants left the place in a rush at that time. 

With the bike through Varosha

Among many other cities and places we explored on the island, Famagusta is definitely one of the most exciting for me.