The Famagusta Eco City Project
© Vasia Markides
In 1974 the military dictatorship in Greece tried to annex Cyprus and make it part of Greece. In response Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island.
During the conflict, a six square kilometre district of Famagusta known as Varosha, was fenced off from the rest of the island by barbed wire. Famagusta itself is the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello and is one of the island’s most important harbours, tourist destinations, and centre of culture, trade and commerce.
To this day, Varosha remains surrounded by barbed wire. Once known as the jewel of the Eastern Mediterranean where people like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton summered, it is now a ghost city; a place of captivity; an abandoned and derelict area in the divided region of Famagusta; a pawn in a political struggle that has yet to be resolved.
The rest of Famagusta is inhabited by Turkish-Cypriots who were either originally there before the Greek-Cypriot community left or who were displaced from other parts of the island. There are also Turkish migrants from mainland Turkey who live in their own separate neighbourhoods. The entire Famagusta region, which like Cyprus has in its history a long list of invaders, continues to retain the status of a fragmented community.
Now there is a plane to turn Varosha into the Famagusta Eco City Project which would provide a blue print for sustainable development across the world and bring the Turkish and Greek parts of the Cypriot community together again.