BBC Magazine - Varosha: The abandoned tourist resort

   The article on our team's efforts in the number 1 most shared news story on the BBC today!

The article on our team's efforts in the number 1 most shared news story on the BBC today!

 

Varosha: The abandoned tourist resort

By Richard Hooper and Vibeke Venema BBC World Service

Welcome to Varosha, the Mediterranean's best kept secret.

Miles of sand where it's just you and nature. Dozens of grand hotels where you'll have the pick of the rooms.

Just remember to pack your bolt cutters to make a hole in the fence - and watch out for the army patrols with orders to shoot on sight.

Before the division of Cyprus in 1974, Varosha - a resort in Famagusta - was booming. The rich and famous were drawn by some of the best beaches on the island. Richard Burton and Brigitte Bardot all dropped by - the Argo Hotel on JFK Avenue was said to be Elizabeth Taylor's favourite.

"Anyone who comes from Varosha has a romanticised notion of it," says Vasia Markides, 34, an American Greek-Cypriot whose mother grew up there. "They talk about it being the hub of art and intellectual activity. They describe it as the French Riviera of Cyprus."

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