Famagusta, North Cyprus
Famagusta in Northern Cyprus is a fascinating medieval walled city with oodles of charm and lots to explore.
Famagusta, North Cyprus: a very wealthy town
From humble beginnings, during the 14th century the city of Famagusta grew to be one of the wealthiest trading ports in the Mediterranean, its inhabitants so rich that legend says they ground up diamonds to season their food! The inhabitants built churches and palaces and a magnificent cathedral, safely contained within massive walls that surrounded the city.
However, jealous eyes viewed the city under its Venetian masters, and in 1571 the Ottomans invaded and laid siege to Famagusta. They bombarded it with cannon fire for months, but the strong walls and defensive towers (bastions) kept the invading army out. Eventually the citizens of Famagusta had to surrender or starve to death. The city fell into decline, but a major restoration project began in 1996, and now the old walled city is buzzing once again.
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Exploring Famagusta, Northern Cyprus
Evidence of the Ottoman bombardment is everywhere in the old city, where churches lie in ruins and cannon balls litter the ground. However, this hasn't stopped people from purchasing both expensive and cheap airline tickets to visit this beautiful part of the world. Many of the old buildings have been put to modern uses, and the central square is alive with activity around the mosque that now occupies the former cathedral building.
Modern Famagusta spreads out far wider than the old walled city, a bustling town based around the same deep harbour that attracted the original settlers of the town here thousands of years ago. Before the events of 1974, Famagusta was a thriving report town attracting the rich and famous to its beaches and resort hotels, which were mainly based south of the city itself. Now those former hotels lie in the UN buffer zone, and the development has moved north of the city.
Famagusta, a great holiday base in Northern Cyprus
Famagusta makes a wonderful place for a day trip, and an excellent base for exploring the area. You can wander amongst the old buildings of the walled town and gaze down on the modern port from Othello's Tower. There are lovely little cafés and bars tucked amongst the old buildings, ready to serve you a refreshing drink or Turkish coffee when the sun gets too strong – or your legs get too tired!
Just a short journey from this old walled city, you can laze on golden beaches, or explore the extensive ruins of the Roman town of Salamis. The Karpas peninsula and its famous wild donkeys are just a car ride away, and the capital Nicosia is also within easy reach.
If you decide to stay overnight and you are feeling energetic, consider hitting to Lions Garden Disco, only 5 minutes away from the Famagusta town, to cool off!
Buying Your Holiday Home Property near Famagusta
For an independent guide to the best new developments near Famagusta, including the property hotspots of Bogaz and Bafra, just click on the "44 Best Properties" tab at the top of the page!
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