Famagusta Region


Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus. It is the capital of the Famagusta District of Northern Cyprus. It is located in a bay between Capes Greco and Eloea, east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour in the island. During the medieval period (especially under the maritime republics of Genoa and Venice), Famagusta was the island's most important port city, and a gateway to trade with the ports of the Levant, from where the Silk Road merchants carried their goods to Western Europe.

In antiquity, the town was known as Aprovlon, after Arsinoe II of Egypt, and was mentioned by that name by Strabo. It was also called Ammokhostos (meaning "hidden in sand") and it is still known by that name in Greek today. This name developed into the Famagusta used in Western European languages and the Turkish name, Ma?usa. In full, its Turkish name is Gazi-Magusa (Gazi is a Turkish prefix meaning veteran)

The city was funded in 300 BC on the old settlement of Arsinoe, Famagusta remained a small fishing village for a long period of time. Later, as a result of the gradual evacuation of Salamis, it developed into a small port. As a historical city, it has changed many hands at different historical intervals. In 1192 AD it came under Lusignan rule, before that it was a small fishing village for a long period of time and then it developed into a small port. The turning point for Famagusta was 1192 with the onset of Lusignan rule. It was during this period that Famagusta developed as a fully-fledged town. It increased in importance to the Eastern Mediterranean due to its natural harbor and the walls that protected its inner town. Its population began to increase. This development accelerated in the 13th century as the town became a centre of commerce for both the East and West. In 1372 the port was seized by Genoa and in 1489 by Venice. This commercial activity turned Famagusta into a place where merchants and ship owners led lives of luxury. The belief that people's wealth could be measured by the churches they built inspired these merchants to have churches built in varying styles. These churches, which still exist, were the reason Famagusta came to be known as "the district of churches". The development of the town focused on the social lives of the wealthy people and was centered upon the Lusignan palace, the Cathedral, the Square and the harbor. During the history the walls around Famagusta certainly had plenty to defend. Lusignan Kings first fortified the city with which was followed by the Venetians who made the city more secure by replacing the square towers with round ones. After the Venetian period the Ottoman period comes and then the British colonial period. Cyprus gained its independence from Britain in 1960.

In the 1960's, Famagusta flourished both culturally and economically. The town developed toward the south west of Varosha as a tourist centre. In the late 1960s Famagusta became one of the world's best-known entertainment and tourist center. On the one hand there were structures conveying the characteristics of British colonialism, and, buildings reflecting trends in contemporary architecture. These modern buildings were mostly built in Varosha. Architecture in Famagusta in this period thus reflects a desire to merge history and modernism in the pursuit of progress. From its origins as a small port in the seventh century, Famagusta in the 1970s had become a town which now displayed the universal trends of the modern architectural movement.

Things to see

Salamis Ruins

The ancient city of Salamis was constructed by the tribes who moved to Cyprus from Anatolia and Greece towards the end of the Bronze Age. Salamis city was the capital of Cyprus in the centuries to come and was damaged during the earthquakes of 76 and 77 AD and was rebuilt in the 5th century. It is a spectacular city located 8km north of Famagusta Walled City.

Royal King Tombs

Where were the inhabitants of ancient Salamis buried, there must be a very cemetery close to ancient city of Salamis. The necropolis is an area of about 3km2 extends from Aysergi (Yenibogazici) in the north to Engomi (Tuzla) in the south. The kings of Salamis were buried here where 150 have excavated.

St. Barnabas Monastery, Church and Icon Museum, (Ayios Varnavas)

It has a relaxing ambiance that lies less than 2km from Salamis Ruins, between Enkomi and the Royal King Tombs, a visit takes at least an hour.

Glapsides Beach

It is ideal for non-swimmers and children. The water is calm at the shore and for a distance out. The water is crystal clear that gives a perfect opportunity for snorkeling. Jet skis, pedaloes and kayaks, wind surfing and sun bathing are excellent at Glapsides.