Cyprus Passion

Varosha or Varosi is an area located in southern quarter of the city of Famagusta which is abandoned since the illegal Turkish invasion in 1974. Varosi (Varosha) was named after the Turkish word ‘varos’ which means ‘suburb’.

Varoshia was once the highlight of our whole island. It had luxury hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, shops and to top it all off the beautiful beaches. This area was so famous that we also had celebrities visiting and staying in these luxury hotels. Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Brigette Bardot and Paul Newman. These very celebrities gave Varosia the title of ‘Saint Tropez of Cyprus’.


Before the invasion this area was buzzing with life. A holiday resort destination which was also booming with growth. The population was 39000 before the invasion and there were some 700000 tourists every year. During 1970 until 1974, many Hollywood stars and European actors and other celebrities would come to Varosi for their holidays.

The main road started from the port of Famagusta, passed all the way through Varosi and through to the other end. It passes all the famous hotels like King George Hotel, Asterias Hotel and even Argo Hotel which was known to be Elizabeth Taylor’s favourite hotel.

Another main road in Varosha named Leonidas Street, was the main area for shopping as there were many shops but also many bars, cafes and restaurants. Here you would have found the nightclubs too and also a Toyota dealership.

In the 1960’s Varosha was a setting for a Hollywood film called ‘Exodus’. The shoot took 4 months in Cyprus and the lead star was Paul Newman. Also, this is where ABBA first sang as a group before actually becoming really famous. They were on holidays there in 1970.

In 1974, many were forced to leave their homes due to the invasion of Cyprus by the Turks. Many fled to the south towards Paralimni and Larnaca. In 1984 United Nations security council had passed a resolution to allow the management of Famagusta by the UN so as to allow the displaced to resettle there. However, Turkey never allowed for this to happen and are now, till this day, trying to gain control themselves. This was never part of the resolution; the resolution had stated that under no circumstances would it open under Turkish Cypriot Rule. Unfortunately, this is now being attempted by Erdogan and Tatar. Erdogan and Tartar are now trying to reopen part of Varosha with the excuse that they are not violating the resolution. This is a very sensitive subject for those who were and still are hoping to go back to their homes.

Read also