Today we went to Famagusta. This is in the are a of Cyprus that is under Turkish control. We had to be prepared with our passports and we went through a thorough check when crossing the border. We also had to have a Turkish representative stay with us while we were exploring the city, and he didn’t leave until we crossed the border back into Cyprian governed area of the country.
Even before we crossed the border we were driving alongside it for a bit, and it was interesting to see the differences in both sides. One side of the road had fields and functioning structures whereas the other side had just deserted and run down buildings and houses.
After we had crossed the border, we visited the Varosi area. This resort town was has been abandoned since 1974, when the Turkish took control of the northern part of the island. Only recently has the northern control opened the streets of Varosha in hopes that people reinhabit the streets and businesses. It was crazy to walk around and see the effects of take over and war on this town. Besides the street that had been redone recently, none of the buildings from the 1970’s had been restored. It was like walking around in a different time period… felt a little back to the furturish.
We left Varosha and headed to the old city of Famagusta and had free time to walk around the city and get some food. After roaming some of the streets and seeing the outside of the mosque, we when to an overlook where there was a 360 view of the city and sea. From the overlook you could see both church and mosque and then if you turned around you saw a sea that was so flat it looked like a lake. We climbed down the stairs (which was somewhat of a struggle with how steep they were) and then went to get pastries which were very good. I learned, by sitting down in this restaurant, that the Turkish currency is called Lira. It was pretty shocking to see the menu say that a meal was in the hundreds of lira but then it made sense when we looked up the conversion rate of dollars to lira which was 0.063.
Lastly, once we had crossed the border again we went to fig tree beach. It one of the many blue flag beaches in Cyprus and you definitely tell by how clean the beaches looked and how clear the water was. It was a great way to end the day.