Ghost town in Cyprus welcomes over 200,000 visitors

Ghost town in Cyprus welcomes over 200,000 visitors

Ghost town in Cyprus welcomes over 200,000 visitors

More than 200,000 tourists have visited Varosha in Turkish Cyprus since the coastal region was partially reopened to the public in 2020.

Varosha had virtually become a ghost town as it remained cut off from the world for some 47 years.

A portion of the region, just about 3.5 percent of the total area, has been reopened since last October, with people welcome to visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

Municipal authorities of Gazimağusa, which includes the coastal Varosha area, have made arrangements for visitors, such as refreshment kiosks and bike rental points.

Sunbeds and umbrellas have also been placed along the two main beaches, while multiple social events are also regularly organized.

Varosha was abandoned in 1974 after Turkey’s military intervention on the island as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence.

However, a 1984 U.N. Security Council resolution said that only its legal inhabitants can resettle the town.

Entry into the town was forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in Turkish Cyprus.

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the U.K.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar will journey to New York in September through the U.N. Basic Meeting, when he expects to satisfy Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades once more in an attempt to ascertain sufficient frequent floor to restart formal negotiations for the primary time since U.N.-brokered talks collapsed in 2017.