Link #132: A Ghost Town in Cyprus Was Once a Great Resort Town of Europe

Ghost town


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Link #132: A Ghost Town in Cyprus Was Once a Great Resort Town of Europe

Ghost town
Ghost town by ALAN SCHMIERER/CC0 Public Domain

In our last article, we spoke about the psychological warfare conducted by the US military against Vietcong soldiers during the Vietnam War. They used recordings of Vietnamese people acting as dead Vietcong soldiers and family members to freak out their enemies. The objective was to scare the Vietcong soldiers so much that they quit their posts and go back home.

It is one thing to experience psychological warfare involving ghosts during an important war, but quite another if your own home goes from the coolest place in Europe to a ghost town in a matter of years. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to Varosha in Cyprus. What’s the big story of Varosha – the ghost town of Cyprus? Read on.

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What Happened To Varosha?

Varosha, Northern Cyprus, 1974 by Armando Pana, Creative Commons.

Varosha used to be one of the coolest places to unwind at before the Turkish army overran it. Varosha in Cyprus was actually the toast of the world before it was abandoned by everyone. Great Hollywood stars of the time like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Brigitte Bardot used to frequent this resort town regularly to unwind away from the worries of Hollywood.

In fact, it wasn’t only the Hollywood stars that used to visit Varosha regularly but also tycoons, businessmen, and politicians of the world. The beaches of Varosha were well known all over the world for their pristine beauty.

The glitz and glamour of Varosha grew till 1974 but was stopped violently in its tracks by the Turkish invasion of the northern portion of the island. The people living in Varosha at the time, fearing a massacre, decided to abandon their homes.

When the dust settled, the town of Varosha had been fenced off by the Turkish Army so as to prevent anyone from claiming the resort town. Additionally, the United Nations stated that no one but the original citizens of the city of Varosha had a claim to the region.

Since that time, no one has ventured into Varosha and it looks like a ghost town. In fact, nature is slowly reclaiming the city.

Why Did Turkey Invade Cyprus And Varosha?

Cyprus buffer zone
The UN buffer zone is shown in light blue on the map. Image credit: Golbez/CC BY-SA 2.5

There’s a long history of dispute between the people living on the island of Cyprus. The ethnic division amongst the people of Cyprus is basically between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots have formed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but are only recognised by Turkey, while the Greek Cypriots’ Republic of Cyprus is recognised by the world.

In 1974 a military coup took place on the island of Cyprus which many say was backed by the Greek Junta which was a military group controlled by a group of colonels. The military coup resulted in the replacement of the existing President of Cyprus with another President who favoured the unification of Cyprus with Greece.

Turkey invaded Cyprus at this news to prevent Cyprus from being absorbed by Greece. The result was that the island of Cyprus was divided in the middle to northern and southern Cyprus. Currently, there’s a Green Line between the two regions which acts as a buffer maintained by the UN.

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