I stand on a major road, but only silence rises from the asphalt. High-rises line the street, intended to hold the city’s next wave of tourists, yet the all remain empty. Some crack and crumble. The result of decades of neglect. There is something surreal about the ghost city of Famagusta. You feel as if your logic and senses are betraying you.
We got to Famagusta, which is on the Turkish side of the Cypriot DMZ, after a long bus ride and a pass through a checkpoint. While going through the checkpoint, I got a better sense for the tension between Cyprus and the North Cypriots. None of it quite feels right. It’s especially weird driving everywhere and seeing Turkish flags. Our first was in the Famgusta area, visiting the ghost town. Our awesome tour guide, Georgia, explained to us the history of some of the buildings. It was crazy that, despite the ghost cities impressive size, there was no one living there. It was frozen in time. When the Turkish invaded they were not allowed to develop the old Greek Cypriot residences. This lead to the crumbly and abandoned city I saw today. After our stop in the ghost city we went into the old walled city. First, some of us visited the Othello Castle from Shakespeare. It was very cool and gave a good view of the ports nearby. We visited some ruinous artifacts and architecture and went to lunch after. The food was super cheap across the boarding, and the old city had good scenery as well. After, we went to the beach. Knossos was a gorgeous beach, and I did a much better job at not getting burned today. We stayed there for a while and then went to the sea caves in the area where there was a naturally created caves and a unique rock bridge. The cave sights were short lived an had a lot of tourists so it was challenging to take a good photo. Eventually we headed back to Nicosia, where our tour operator gave us his tour of the the city and then took us out to a restaurant to eat. Today was a packed day and balanced relaxation with cultural and geographical education.
When crossing through the borer I remember how tense I was feeling. It was sad to see what had happened in certain areas. Luckily, Cyprus is still creating great industries, but it doesn’t look like North Cyprus is enjoying the same level of foreign investment. Seeing the Turkish side was really cool today, and I am excited to sleep in a little bit tomorrow.