Today, we had a cultural day where we got to explore the city of Famagusta in the Turkish occupied region of Cyprus. To enter this area, we had to present our passports and accept a Turkish “guide” who would accompany us for the duration of our visit. First, we visited a newly opened walking road in the destroyed and abandoned section of Famagusta, which contains about 20 percent of the city. Originally, this area was a tourist hotspot. Before the invasion of 1974, there were a plethora of hotels, beaches, restaurants, and more to attract visitors from around the globe. After the Turkish army took over, this area was destroyed. Residents abandoned the damaged buildings and they were untouched for almost 40 years, causing the area today to be in ruins. In my opinion, the worst part of this situation is that this location in Famagusta went to waste. Not only were the original Greek residents were kicked out of their homes, but the new Turkish residents did do anything with the old city like the rest of the Turkish occupied region. Instead, nobody gets to live in this area due to political conflict.
Next, we went to the Old City of Famagusta, were we experienced the Turkish culture and medieval ruins. One thing that I found fascinating were the old medieval cannonballs made of stone. It amazes me that during this time people were firing such heavy stones at their enemies to cause massive damage. Even in the ancient times, war managed to be a huge part of innovation, for one never knew when a greedy empire would attempt to take over one’s way of life.
Afterwards, we spent free time at the Konnos Bay and took photos at the Sea Caves. I think that the Mediterranean water is beautiful – this pure blue color cannot be found along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, the Sea Caves created a beautiful scene, with the cave stone encircling the blue of the Mediterranean Sea in a picturesque moment. I am glad that we were given this free time and excursion time today to appreciate the beauty of Cyprus nature.